Effortlessly donning a classic style with a hint of androgyny and minimalism, Venus is a force to be reckoned with. Not only is she the sole owner and visionary behind BLANK Wardrobe, an online boutique offering edgy basics for women, she is simultaneously holding down a full-time career as a communications and marketing professional. The outspoken R&B and hip-hop music lover graduated from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor where she received her bachelors and masters degrees in Psychology and Social Work with a concentration in Management of Human Services and Mental Health. What she’s currently reading? The Entrepreneur Mindset and Influencer.
(Photo Credit: Kimberly Evans)
Besides R&B and hip-hop music, what are some of your favorites?
My favorite color is pink and my favorite food is Chinese. I have a few favorite designers – Ralph Lauren, Chanel, and Diane Von Furstenberg.
Where are you originally from?
I’m from Detroit, Michigan.
Are you married and do you have any children?
Yes, I am married. We don’t have any children, but I do have a fur baby named Coco Chanel. I used to have two, but my ‘first born’ Tyson Snoop, passed away back in July.
How do you get your day started?
I usually like to thank God for the great day ahead and then head to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee.
Before you go to sleep at night, what is the last thing you do?
I try to read something motivational or read a scripture or read a plan in the Bible app and pray.
What is your favorite pump and/or heel designer?
I am not a huge shoe person, but I love booties – I could wear them year-round if the weather permitted!
What inspired BLANK Wardrobe?
Several years ago, I knew I wanted to own a boutique/clothing company. BLANK Wardrobe actually started off as Blank Slate. I started researching the name and saw that several apparel companies were called Blank Slate, so that was a no go for me, immediately. I knew that I wanted to have BLANK in the name because of its inspiration and purpose and started meditating on names and thought of BLANK Wardrobe. BLANK Wardrobe is the perfect name for my boutique because along with BLANK providing women with edgy basics to build a functional wardrobe, it’s about creating a movement around educating women on how to leverage their style to build their personal and professional brands.
(Photo Credit: Alfred Austin)
What did you do before starting your company?
I was still working my 9 to 5, but I was a fashion, lifestyle, and beauty blogger as well. I’m still an influencer and blogger, but have definitely shifted my focus to being an owner of a fashion brand and allowing that to determine the content I produce and the partnerships I make with brands.
If you could think back to the day you took the leap of faith to start your business, describe what was going on in your head.
I was scared! I actually pushed back the launch date several times for 3 years. In 2017, I was determined to launch it no matter what because I felt ready – I was still scared, but I did it anyway!
How has social media impacted, or even influenced, the development of your brand?
Social media is definitely important to my brand. It has helped me get the word out about my boutique and I’ve made connections that have been great for my business by being an influencer via social media and my blog.
How important is having a support system when running a business?
Oh my goodness! It’s so important. You cannot live an entrepreneurial lifestyle without a support system. My support system has stepped in to help me manage the business, push me when I’ve needed it, and encouraged me. I wouldn’t even say that running a business ‘might’ be lonely, I’ll go all out and say that entrepreneurship can be very lonely. So, making sure that you have a team/support system is very important to combat that ‘I’m in this alone’ feeling.
Who/what keeps you grounded?
My husband keeps me grounded and encouraged. He always helps me with keeping things in perspective when good or bad things happen within my business. He always reminds me about enjoying all parts of the journey.
What are some of the challenges you face daily in your business?
Managing my time. This is an area that I’ve struggled with recently and an area that offers so much value to my business. Sometimes I wish that I could have more than 24 hours in a day!
What are the rewards of running your own business?
Being able to see something that you’ve created impact others in a positive way. It’s been so great to get feedback from women that have interacted with the brand via our products or at events that say that they feel inspired or empowered to follow their dreams and conquer their goals. That is what it’s all about for us one person at a time.
If you could spend 24 hours with a style icon, who would it be and what would you do?
Rachel Zoe. I would love to just follow her around for the day; attend events with her, go to work with her to see how she runs her company – basically, be like a fly on the wall as she goes about her daily life.
What is your super power?
My super power would definitely have to be my intuition about my business and about people. I don’t always follow my intuition, but it’s usually spot on.
What do you wish to accomplish with your platform?
The goal has always been to inspire and empower women.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned along the way to get to where you are now?
Trusting your intuition. Asking for help. And always be learning.
Who has inspired you (past and present)?
I’m inspired by a couple of women in my life currently who work in different industries, one works in fundraising, another has a handbag company and the other is a local designer here in Atlanta.
What advice would you offer to anyone wanting to go into business for themselves?
The first step is to commit to the idea of your business, educate yourself and take action.
What has been a ‘humbling’ moment for you?
A humbling moment for me is starting my business! It’s a very humbling experience to have an idea, launch it, and have people interact with it and being able to pivot when needed.
What has been a ‘proud’ moment for you?
A proud moment for me has been launching BLANK Wardrobe and doing my first successful event in November.
What is your hope for all women?
That they will be inspired and empowered to go after what they’ve always wanted to go for in their life.
What’s new for BLANK Wardrobe in 2019?
We have a couple of things that we will be doing in 2019. Stay tuned by following us on social media and joining our email list for deets!