Noticing how difficult it was to find stylish and quality apparel for members of Black Greek Letter Organizations, California natives Shauna Harper and Selena Young set out to create their own unique designs. The once small business has expanded, as the duo strives to shed a positive light on the Greek community through meaningful concepts and thought-provoking messages. See their success story and secrets.
Name: Shauna Harper and Selena Young
Age: Harper, 36, and Selena, 32
Title: Harper: Executive Director of Business Operations and Design. Young: Executive Director of Media and Communications
Location: Bay Area
Hometown: San Leandro, CA
The gig: As owners of Define Me Greek, we create unique definition and word designs that capture the essence of Black Greek Letter Organizations. Our concept brings people together through the bonds that unite us. We sell apparel and accessories through our online store and attend various conferences and events across the country.
The journey: As members of a sorority, we were inspired by the lack of Greek apparel that actually stood for something outside the letters that represented our organization. We wanted to create meaningful designs that provided thought-provoking messages. After releasing our first design, we realized there were others that felt the same way. When your job doesn’t feel like work and you love what you do, you can’t help but to feel passionate about it. That’s how we feel about Define Me Greek.
Their career highlight: Taking the risk to start a business! It was something that we have always wanted to do. We’ve seen our company grow far beyond what we’ve ever expected! People may be surprised to know that we traveled across the country to Rhode Island to be vendors at our first large sorority conference. We spent our last dollar on this trip—exhausting our entire checking account to get our name on the map! Taking this risk paid off for us. This was a defining moment because not only did our company take off, but it also validated us as a business and solidified our place in the industry.
Success 101: Never be satisfied with where you are because you can always do more. Also, live life with no regrets.
Confessions of black women in business: This is a very competitive industry with companies that have been in this business for years. As young black women, we face the challenge of being the “new kids on the block” and making a name for ourselves. Through the years, we’ve developed a reputation for stylish, high-quality designs. We work hard to maintain the same standards for all organizations. Because we’re members of one sorority, we really work hard to meet the needs of other groups. Being women in this business has helped us because we can relate to our customers as women and members of a sorority.
Best part of the job: One of the main things we love about our job is networking with people and connecting them to our company. We enjoy coming up with fresh and unique ideas, being creative and developing apparel and accessories that resonate with each organization.
Their networking tip: Treat every interaction as an opportunity. Make sure to connect with people on many different levels, not just business and always have genuine intentions (you never know who’s who).
Their student loans status: They’re not paid off yet, but it's a monthly work in progress.
Best time saving tip: Prioritize and plan ahead!
In Shauna's downtime: I like to relax and manage stress by exercising and taking time for myself.
In Selena's downtime: I like to relax and manage stress by dancing and listen to music.
Their tech fixes: Our cell phones, tablets, laptops and mobile card reader!
Selena's favorite apps: Instagram, Group Me, Pandora and Studio+.
Shauna's favorite apps: My favorite apps are PicLab, Instagram, Evernotes, Kindle
In Shauna's beauty bag: My must-haves are lip-gloss, blush, and night cream moisture from Sephora and Benefit’s mascara.
In Selena's beauty bag: I cannot live without eyeliner, concealer and a mirror! My new favorite lipstick is Flat Out Fabulous by MAC.
Shauna's go-to power accessories: A colored blazer. I generally wear conservative business attire but love set off my outfits with a pop of color.
Selena's go-to power accessories: For me, simplicity is key! I love to wear the classic color black with heels.
Shauna's secret superpowers: I’m able to adapt to any given situation! As a mom, wife and entrepreneur, I’m involved in many different experiences and I’m able to manage them all while staying true to myself.
Selena's secret superpowers: I have the ability to make deep connections with people. I often see things in people they may not see in themselves which make our interactions more meaningful.
Their theme song: "Look At Me Now," Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes.