We had the good fortune of connecting with Grace Tshumamboya and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Grace, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Starting a business is something I always knew I wanted to do. I wanted creative freedom, to make and sell something that interested me. The main question was “What?” What is a product that I could enjoy creating and people would love to have? It’s one thing to sell something with a large audience and it’s another to sell what you like as well. It makes the journey as an entrepreneur worthwhile. Every roadblock is as exciting as the moments you find yourself smooth sailing to the mountain tops. So I thought if I could enjoy making what I sell, then starting my own business is definitely something I want to do.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have gotten to where I am by customizing my path to get to where I need to be. Each step I took towards becoming an entrepreneur began with a series of doubtful questions and misunderstanding. I first took a step back and gave myself room to visualize different outcomes. The outcome I found most appealing and interesting is the one I decided to move towards. As a professional I must admit it wasn’t easy but it could have been more difficult if I didn’t have so much support from my friends and family. Some lessons I’ve learned as an entrepreneur: 1. It’s ok to take things slow: When you take your time doing anything, even if it’s completing small tasks throughout the day, you’re more likely to do it right, that way you wouldnt have to spend more time doing something again. 2. Keep your advice coming from a small number of people, preferably those who have experience in what you need advice on: I’m embarrassed at how many times I’ve allowed unqualified people to give me advice on what I should do when starting a business. It’s best to do research first and take advice second, also consider the credibility of the individual sharing that information with you. 3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Some people, like myself, have a hard time asking for help. I always feel as though it would be a burden on someone else. But it is nearly impossible to succeed without the help of others. Starting a business during the Pandemic has taught me to ask for help when I need it, and those who are willing to help are always there for you. 4. It’s ok to start small: Starting small allows me to see where I am and what needs to be done to get to where I want to be. At first I attempted to create large floral arrangements that cost me so much time and money, when the simpler arrangements were just as valuable. Not only that, I wanted to have multiple products on my website. Seven products and five rose color variations as well as two vase variations for each product. There was just too much going on. I minimized it to one vase color, a few rose colors and three types of vases. Less is more in this case. 5. It won’t always be about creative tasks and projects: As a designer I am always looking for ways to fill my life creating new products and designs. things that people would love and that the individual’s closest to them would love as well. Sometimes I can be a dreamer and not realize there’s a lot of paperwork involved in starting/ running a business. MAJI FLORA is an e-commerce floral shop that specializes in preserved roses that last up to three years. One thing that I have been looking forward to doing with MAJI FLORA is creating larger centerpieces for weddings and other events. The floral shop specializes in preserved roses but will be making more options for customers.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Depending on what you’re in the mood for Montauk, Long Island is beautiful, the perfect getaway with hiking trails, Montauk Point lighthouse, vineyards, great restaurants and white sand beaches. Montauk is definitely on the list if my friends and I were looking for a more relaxed weekend. If we decide we want more of a nightlife scene we can always spend the other half of the week in Manhattan just 2hrs away.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to dedicate this shoutout to several people because starting a business is something I wouldn’t have been able to do alone. My family has been nothing but supportive, positive and uplifting throughout my entire journey as an entrepreneur. My favorite photographer and possibly the only one I’ll let touch my product photos is Leeandra Scarlet, a portrait photographer based in New York City. Leeandra currently studies at The school of visuals-and is soon to receive a bachelors of fine arts in photography and video. Not only is Leeandras photographs astounding, her method is incredibly organized and timely. As a small business owner, the first photo shoot I’d done with Leeandra produced professional results. My Fellow Entrepreneur friends who are like minded and driven. Samantha Bozin of “Fentress films” and Melanie Ulceus of “Travelstylecreative.”Both of these women have inspired me to work smarter and stay focused. I have such a great group of people willing to support me with every turn and For that I am eternally grateful. Instagram: Leeandra Scarlet: @lsco.p Samantha Bozin: @fentressfilms Melanie Ulceus: @travelstylecreative