The Shade Room CEO Angie Nwandu Gives ESSENCE All The Tea On Their New Fashion Collection!

Avon Dorsey Aug, 03, 2018

The Shade Room has partnered with the ShoeDazzle fashion empire in hopes of adding more sparkles and rainbows to our summer wardrobes.

When TSR drops anything, the whole world tunes in, so of course we had to inquire about the launch of their stylish, new footwear collection and we got the exclusive rundown from TSR’s Founder and CEO, Angelica Nwandu.

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Check out our chat with Angie below to find out everything you need to know about how to shop the new TSR footwear collection, along with some keen advice on building your own brand!

What can customers expect with the ShoeDazzle partnership and whose idea was it to collaborate?
I’ve always wanted to work with ShoeDazzle before The Shaderoom came about. I was one of their VIP customers when I was working my 9-to-5—it was an affordable way to indulge in my shoe addiction without going broke—and hunny, I had a new shoe for every event! I reached out to ShoeDazzle to see if we could do a partnership, and to my surprise, they had been wanting to do one with me; so it was the perfect match. Customers can expect creative shoe names and trendy, affordable styles. We had fun in this partnership and we have curated the perfect shoes for our audience. We wouldn’t put out shoes we wouldn’t wear ourselves!

When does the collection launch, and how long will TSR be involved with the process? 
The shoe collection launches TODAY, August 3, and we will be dropping a new, curated shoe collection every month for the next six months. We will have tons of discounts and promo codes to give out as well!

As a Black woman entrepreneur, what’s some key advice that you can share with young girls looking to make a name and space for themselves in the business world?
I would say find your tribe and stick to it. Business is counterintuitive; so often people think casting a wide net is how you build a great business or following, however, serving ‘everyone’ is the recipe for disaster. The truth is, making a product that serves a specific audience very well is how you build a great business; niche audiences are very powerful. Also, look to solve a problem by creating the solution. If you can serve an underserved market, you can strike gold.

What was your path to business success? Was it a straight-and-narrow, or a curated one?
My path was definitely a curated one; in fact, I’m still struggling to build my own blueprint. I don’t think there is a straight-and-narrow path in business. Business is risky and there are a million ways that you can go. You are the captain of the ship and you have to decide which route to take; that’s an extremely stressful and scary task. I’ve had to be a perpetual student of the game—ask for advice, seek great mentors and trust my intuition—to get this far. I’ll have to do the same in the future to continue to be successful.

Do you feel that TSR has a social responsibility when creating content due to your large following?Absolutely! In the beginning stages of the company, I didn’t understand what my social responsibility was. Now that we have a massive following, I’ve taken a crash-course in being responsible with our influence. Not only do we have to be reputable and make sure that we aren’t putting out fake news, but we also have to be careful about how we represent the Black community. So often the Black family is depicted in media to be broken and dysfunctional, the truth is there are a lot of healthy, Black families and we represent them on The Shade Room all of the time. Our goal is to represent things as they are in Black culture; true representation is a balance of news, both good and bad.

Is the ShoeDazzle collaboration a step in the direction of eventually launching branded ‘TSR’ merchandise?
Yes, definitely! We have launched Shade Room merch in the past [and] it did really well. Most people don’t know that we were the influencers behind the “Dad Hat” trend; we launched baseball caps and coined the term “Dad Hat” in the latter part of 2015. Elle magazine did a feature on it and shortly after, the term “Dad Hat” blew up all over social media. This inspired us to take more risks in fashion and experiment with our influence. We then went on to launch our Ugly Christmas Sweaters alongside 2 Chainz, and of course, that did really well for us. Our audience is mostly female and they really love shoes, so this is a natural step for us.