ESSENCE is proud to celebrate extraordinary Black women who are breaking glass ceilings as flourishing entrepreneurs with compelling back stories. Join us as we highlight 8 of the 50 women featured in our November 2017 issue and chat with them to find out more about how they got to where they are now and what advice they have for other young women looking to follow in their footsteps.
Next up is Denequa Williams, founder of LIT Brooklyn.
Q: What kind of company do you own?
I own a luxury soy candle company that is handpoured in Brooklyn.
Q: What advice do you have for anyone dreaming of having their own business?
Be ready to do some work. Do your research. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Be a man/woman of your word.
Q: As an entrepreneur, what is the smartest decision you’ve ever made for yourself?
Smartest decision I ever made for myself was surrounding myself with goal chasers, hard workers, and people who continue to shock themselves with the accolades and accomplishments that they receive. All of my friends are killing it, in some shape and form, and that encourages me and pushes me to be the best version of myself daily.
Q: When it came to launching your business what kind of support system did you have in place (family, organizations, friends…etc.) and can you describe in what ways you were helped?
As far as support, aside from my boyfriend Khiry, and select family and friends, I had what I love to call "BFSM" Best Friends on Social Media, this consisted of women that I admired. Seeing them be open, honest, and transparent about their journey (failures, successes, lessons, etc.) when it came to business further solidified to me that I would be fine. When I started LIT Brooklyn, I never went into it thinking that it wouldn't be successful. I had self confidence first and support second. Starting anything new is always going to be scary because you have no idea what the outcome is going to be, or how well it's going to be received.
Q: Black women are America’s fastest growing group of entrepreneurs. However, we remain the most underserved, receiving less than 1 percent of all venture funding for our businesses. In what ways can our community better support one another?
We can support each other by showing up for one another, and continuing to spread the word about each another, and genuinely being supportive. I am #TeamBlackWomen until the day I die. Aside from me putting in work, I have a tribe of black women rooting me on and championing for me, and wanting me to win. We have to continue to create the things that we want to see.
Be sure to check out the full ESSENCE 50 list HERE and in our November 2017 issue, on newsstands now.