LIT Brooklyn founder, Denequa Williams Clarke, Chats Business with the Hosts of Black Girl Podcast
In The Know and the women behind Black Girl Podcast have teamed up to bring you a special video series, Enter the Chat, where we’ll be discussing topics that range from dating and budgeting to self-care.
With so many businesses facing a plethora of challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the hosts of Black Girl Podcast decided to chat entrepreneurship with LIT Brooklyn founder Denequa Williams Clarke.
To kick things off, Gia asks Williams the question on everyone’s mind: as a business owner, how is she doing?
“My first thing was not to push a product, not to sell a product because I know that people just lost their jobs, people were not able to buy groceries,” Williams says.
LIT Brooklyn has been around since 2015. Even without advertising the brand, Williams’ customers are still shopping for candles during the pandemic.
“It was basically my customers showing me and the world that candles are still an essential product,” Williams explains.
Bexx mentions how business can change you as a person.
“What surprises you the most about who you were since you started LIT Brooklyn?” she asks Williams.
Williams says that it’s her strength. Plus, she explains that in business, you never know what you’re capable of until your back is against the wall.
“My muscle has definitely been tested,” she says. “I always say that there is nothing that I can’t overcome. I did not know I had it in me.”
With entrepreneurship comes risk-taking. Scottie brings up having to leave your job to pursue your dreams full time. She asks, “For someone who thinks the risk outweighs the reward, what would you say to them?”
Williams responds that if you don’t risk at all, there won’t be a reward at all either. However, she says that you should always take it in stride.
“A leap sounds so scary, but when you’re taking one foot in front of the other, it makes it less scary,” she says. “It’s literally just having belief in yourself. You gotta hype yourself up before the world tells you who you are.”
LIT Brooklyn is a featured shop on Beyoncé’s website. As one of the Black-owned brands suggested to buy from, the ladies gush over LIT Brooklyn’s recognition from the Queen Bey.
“How did you feel having that accolade happen?” Sapphira asks. “In the midst of all the people hitting you up about packages, in the midst of people saying all the things on social media, what was that feeling like?”
Williams recalls sitting in a gazebo one day right before the call. Suddenly, her phone blew up, and friends were telling her that she was on Beyoncé’s website.
“I didn’t believe it at first,” Williams says. “It was just like ‘Beyoncé, like Hov’s wife? This is crazy.’ Sometimes the greatest accomplishments happen when you’re not even ready for them, when you’re not even paying attention. Your head is so neck down into the work that you’re like ‘Oh shit, Beyoncé noticed me? Well, why wouldn’t she notice me?'”
Being A One Person Show
Many times in entrepreneurship, the owner will do most of the work. Williams is no exception. However, she can ask close family and friends for small favors.
“I think I’m finally getting a hang of what time management really means,” she says. “Sometimes I have my cousins, my friends taping boxes, someone is double-checking, someone is reminding me about checking an email, reminding me to eat, granted I am running this business by myself, but I do have a support system.”
In addition to having a support system, Williams has a partner she can trust. Being a millennial couple, she and her partner stress communication the most.
“With Kyrie, he always made me a priority,” Williams explains. “I think when you have a partner who is seeing how busy you are, especially as a Black man, not being intimidated by your success or the things that you’re doing, is super important.”
Self Care For Business Owners
Alysha brings up how to deal with burnout. Plus, she asks how someone like Williams manages herself while doing it all.
“I like to wake up really early and sit in silence,” Williams replies. “Silence to me is self-care. I don’t wanna hear Call of Duty, I don’t wanna hear no damn 2K. I just want complete silence. That’s what self-care looks like to me.”
Williams further explains how things like penciling herself into her own schedule and taking herself out on dates are important regardless of what life stage you’re in, be it motherhood, marriage, entrepreneurship or all three.
“The narrative has always been that women lose themselves, I’m not losing myself,” Williams says. “Not to my business, not to my relationship, nothing.”
Follow Black Girl Podcast on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. You can also shop any of the Black-owned pieces in the set design on Enter The Chat from LIT BKLYN, THNWBLK, Signature Petals, Crackflower, Modern Pearl Primus Poster and “Identity Crisis” Canvas Print.
If you liked this story, check out the hosts of Black Girl Podcast chat grief with Dr. Jessica Clemons.
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