Mom Entrepreneur: Imani Powell-Razat
Business: Spye Designs
SPYE is a design studio based in Harlem, NYC.
What inspired you to start your business?
Both my husband and I are professional Creatives, we founded our studio as a means to collaborate.
How long have you been in business?
We were founded in 2007.
What did you do in your past work life?
I started my career in Fashion as a Model, then as a writer for clients such as Essence, Fashion Wire Daily, Aol, Ballantine Books, The Source and The Chicago Sun-Times and as an independent designer and illustrator with clients that included Random House and Bath & Body Works.
Describe your ideal workday.
My ideal workday starts early and that means that the baby is in good enough spirits to play quietly while I check my email and return phone calls. I get most of my design work done at naptime when it’s quiet or after bedtime.
What have been some of your major successes?
I think having an item picked up by Wallpaper* and Oprah, The Oprah Magazine was pretty exciting, although having an App that you’ve designed become accepted by Apple and in the iTunes App store feels pretty amazing! But mostly, designing something that makes my child smile and that reflects him in a cultural sense means the most to me.
What have been some of your major challenges?
There was a definite lull during the whole pregnancy, 1st year of new mommy-hood. I took a break during that time, now that baby is 19 months, I’ve jumped back in and it feels great to be creative again.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
Vision. Remembering that success is a journey, not a destination.
Do you have a motivational quote?
“You must eat the elephant one bite at a time.” It’s an African Proverb (per Iyanla Vanzant’s Acts of Faith), reminding you to approach large goals in small, effective steps.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?
Develop your skill set so that you can do as much as possible yourself at least in the beginning. Otherwise, make sure to build a winning team.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
Remain calm at all times! I’ve recently conducted a phone interview with a crying toddler in the background. I simply explained to the reporter that the child was teething and gave the option to continue the interview via email. The reporter was understanding and un-phased by the crying and chose to complete the interview. People are more accommodating than you think!
Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?
I rely heavily upon my children: I have two boys: a 19 month old and a 12 year old stepson. If you stay connected, they will guide you and give great feedback. In developing the DRUM KIDS App, if the children didn’t respond positively, we made tweaks.
My husband is awesome as well! He did all the coding.
What is next for your business?
We are working on the iPhone version of DRUM KIDS and a summer update. We are also working on developing other Apps for ios and Android.
Your two cents sales pitch?
DRUM KIDS is a multicultural, educational, celebration of the world’s drums that your tot will love playing with and exploring!
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