Labor Pains: The Birth of a Business

What’s in a name? This question was famously posed by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. also chose this as the title for his famous narrative.

Names hold significant weight; one of the most important considerations when having a child or starting a company is determining the name. The name is how someone or something is identified and perceived by society.

When I was deciding on a name for my event planning company, I wanted a name that easily identified the services I would offer: planning and styling social events. As I reflect on where my life was at the time I started the company, I realize there were several reasons this name was so fitting. I started it in 2012 when social media had already risen in popularity, and the name Socials was undeniably influenced by this fact as well. However, I believe the main reason I chose this name is because of the need to improve my social life in general.

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and this definitely holds true for the creation of my company. Around 2010 and 2011, I was undergoing major shifts in my social life/relationships. I was coming to the end of a relationship that lasted the majority of my 20’s, and the entire time I was in it, I focused mainly on him and who we were as a couple. I didn’t give much thought to what I wanted for myself. When this relationship began to unravel, I was in an uncomfortable and unsettling position. All I knew was this relationship, and hadn’t defined who I was outside of him, and I definitely had no clue about my purpose. At the same time, many of my friends were going through the exact opposite. They were getting married, having children, and here I was feeling alone in the new reality I was facing.

During this time, I was asked to be a part of their weddings. I served as a bridesmaid in two of my good friend’s weddings, and was an event hostess for two other weddings. I should have been able to be completely happy for them, but at the time, I was miserable. I put on a smile, but inside I was crumbling. I remember secretly crying in the hallway of a hotel room after partying all night in downtown Chicago for my friend’s bachelorette party.

I was deeply depressed, when one night after talking to my mom about what I was going through, she posed a question that really made me think. She asked me what I wanted for my life outside of a relationship?

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This was my “aha” moment.

This is when I really began to focus on what my interests were.

At the time, I didn’t look forward to attending weddings and baby showers because these events were a reminder of what I didn’t have in my life. But I did feel a sense of purpose when I helped out for these events as a hostess. I also realized the importance of time management when I was in a wedding that had a huge guest list that could have definitely benefited from having a wedding coordinator to help keep everyone organized. And when my dad asked me to plan my mom’s 50th birthday party a week before the event (gotta love men lol) I actually had fun getting everything together.

It occurred to me that while being a passive witness to events gave me ample time to sulk about what wasn’t happening for me, being an active participant in helping others during these events made me feel a whole lot better. Serving others is what healed me.

I began to intern for other wedding coordinators and event planners, and I felt myself come alive. I remember being an intern for a wedding coordinator who had a bride who was quite difficult, but during the whole experience I felt a sense of peace. That’s when I knew that I found a career that I would enjoy.

I also admired the décor and ambiance that surrounded these events. A beautiful event tended to uplift my mood, and this inspired me to want to learn how to create décor that would enhance events, as well as produce events that would inspire others. Long story short, Socials, LLC was born. And as I continue to evolve, so does my business.

So what’s in a name? When I decided on Socials, I only had one idea in mind for what I wanted the company to be. Now, there’s so many directions I look forward to pursuing. I’m glad I chose a versatile name that is also specific in its purpose of helping others because my vision for Socials continuously grows, but I’m always keeping this purpose in mind.

When I was at a low point, the circumstances of life navigated me to this purpose. I want to say I founded my company, but in all actuality, my company found me.

It found me when I least expected it and challenged me to become more vulnerable. It placed me in a position to face my shortcomings head on, to genuinely be happy helping others plan events that I have yet to experience for myself, and to be truly grateful for the opportunity. Socials, LLC is a labor of love that was conceived from pain.

I’m excited to see where this baby will take me 😎

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Their Little Eyes are Watching

A couple of months ago, I was on my way to work when my cousin Tasha inboxed me.

The night before I posted pictures of a protective style I had just tried out, and honestly, I was a little self-conscious about the style, but decided to post it anyway.

She was showing me the picture of her beautiful daughter Aniyah’s hair. She said Aniyah liked my hairstyle, and wanted to wear her hair like mine. So she sent me the picture of her hair in the same style I had.

It was at this moment I realized that not only does representation matter, but that I too am a woman that young African American girls are looking up to. Mind blown.

I never really thought about this, being that I don’t have children, and I rarely spend much time with kids-with the exception of my goddaughters that I try to see at least once a year.

And this realization inspired me in a way that nothing else has. Sometimes I get caught up in a bubble and I think no one sees me, but when I received that message from my cousin, it made me realize that I am seen.

I know it was something as simple as a hairstyle, but it was impactful because now that I know there are young girls watching me, it makes me want to become the best me that I possibly can. That’s why I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable, and sharing these experiences.

And I’m in great company. Oprah’s powerful acceptance speech at the 2018 Golden Globes touched on this where she so eloquently stated:

“It is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching…it is an honor and a privilege.”

This speech was given a mere two days before my cousin inboxed me, so these words were already fresh in my mind. If that wasn’t enough to motivate me, this picture that went viral certainly took me over the edge:

Photo Credit: The Washington Post

I mean there’s not much to say that this picture doesn’t already. It embodies the importance of representation, and how heartwarming it is to have an innocent child be in awe to that magnitude.

From Oprah, to former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, to little ol’ me, they are watching. It’s my responsibility to give them something to aspire to.

And yours too. Let’s make them proud 🥂