Please state your name, your position, and a bit of your Business.
I am Devin Vines, CEO, and founder of Devin & Demi, a mom, motivator, and a mogul. Devin & Demi is a DMV based and online mommy and me brand that Demi Brooks, my daughter, as Co-owner. Devin & Demi is a Mommy & Me boutique that specializes in mommy and me events and quality mommy and me apparel for affordable prices. The Devin and Demi boutique provides empowerment through motherhood by creating a community of love, understanding, matching fashion, mommy and me events that offer but not limited to; laughs, fun, real-life experiences, health talks, bonding with your children, finances, other women to identify with, etc. (this boutique also caters to grandmothers, stepmothers, aunts, etc whoever is in a motherhood role). We provide services/products for Mommy and Me attire, Mommy and Me events and Community philanthropy
How did the business start?
I started my business 2 years ago. When I started, I had limited finances and was dealing with death with my child’s father. I was always a hard worker, but when dealing with grief, I notice myself working extremely harder so that I could keep my mind of the passing of someone close to me. Being a mom has always been a number one priority to me, so I thought about how I could include my daughter in what I was doing and still work hard and do what I was passionate about. It came to me in the middle of the night, and I thought to myself, let me create a brand that helps and empowers women to look good, feel good and bond with their children. Also, a brand that helps me teach my daughter about business, So I created the Devin & Demi brand.
I have always had a strong passion for uplifting and helping other women. I became a mother in 2009, and at that point, my most important job title became “Mommy.” Motherhood changed my life, so I decided to take my passion for uplifting women, motherhood & fashion to create a line of clothing that encourages positive representation and unity within mommy and me fashion
What are the challenges you met and how did you manage to cope up with these challenges and reach your current status?
When I started out I didn’t have a lot of cash. I was literally using my 9-5 paycheck to fund my business. Though that helped a lot, it still wasn’t as sufficient as I needed, especially since I had to pay my rent, car note, etc. still. In the process of creating my brand, I made a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes I used the money I needed for other things to fund my business, and it left me frustrated in one way but fulfilled in another way. So I had to find a better way to do things as time went past. I learned how to apply for grants. My clothing started to sell. Also, people were interested in investing. So things definitely got easier the more I researched and got in tune with my business plan and my Finances.
I am still not all the way where I need to be, but I am a lot further and more financially stable in my business, and I am constantly working hard and putting in endless hours into my brand to create more revenue. Finding quality vendors and designers was another issue I ran into. However, that was resolved with research and trial & error. I am satisfied with who I am working with at the moment.
Lastly, another thing that was a challenge in the very beginning was being a little Inexperienced. I was always good at putting clothing together, and I always had a good fashion sense. However, when I started my business, I realized that there is more to the fashion world than just having a good fashion sense. I have learned a lot in the past 2 years, and I am constantly learning. I have done a lot of fashion shows lots of research, reading, networking, and lots of hands-on work.
Who influenced you in this industry and how did he/she influence you?
Nicole Lynel is a big inspiration to me. I do not know her personally, and she doesn’t sell children’s clothing, but she has a great sense of style. She is also very consistent and continues to take her clothing brand on higher levels.
Also, my mentor and friend Ronne Brown is a very big inspiration to me. She is not really in the fashion industry; however, she is a powerhouse! She is a hardworking entrepreneur who inspires women all over the world to build their brands and start their businesses. I have learned a lot from her movement. She has helped a lot with the business aspect of my business.
How did you manage to market your business and compete with other agencies in your niche?
I just did the research and committed to staying true to who I am and what my vision is. Lastly, I continue to execute.
What Best Practice/s can you share to our startup readers?
- Research your target market
- Get to know your customers
- Be hands-on
- Stay consistent
- Invest in yourself ( training, mentorship, conferences, etc.)
- Stay authentic
- Do something you’re passionate about
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