We had the good fortune of connecting with Lashona Caraway Swan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lashona, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I decided to do T-Shirts and party decorating, it was my son’s 1st birthday and at the last min, I decided we should celebrate. I reach out to a couple of small businesses and they were either unavailable or couldn’t produce the vision for what I wanted. After some research on YouTube, I decided to try to do things for myself. I researched how to make the cheapest and easiest shirts in a short amount of time. In doing that I discovered decorating and crafting. Since I was a young girl crafting has always been something I have done from sewing my mom scrubs for work when I was 13 to making tutu skirts for little girls during Valentines, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. So when I made my first shirt and it actually came out just the way I wanted. I figure it was time to start back doing what I love and that’s crafting. I began to shave back on the things that I wanted so I could purchase the equipment needed. Getting things little by little. I still had to work a full-time job. So between working and attending school, I would watch YouTube videos and pay for one on one courses to learn the things I didn’t know. For the first year in, after I felt confident I could push orders and my clients began to rise COVID19 hit us. It was the most discouraging time. All orders closed down and sales declined. surprisingly clients demand online orders and shipping is what kept business afloat for a while. Almost 3 years later and business is just now starting to take off again. We have struggled financially and taken a lot of losses. We’re hoping to get help from grants or a wonderful angel investor. We just launched our new brick-and-mortar location here in Houston, Texas. We’re excited to be back up and running and actively taking orders in person and online.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
When Beautifully Embellished LLC was created, I didn’t know that things would take off the way they would. I was trying to have my son an inexpensive last-minute first birthday party. I have always wanted to take a leap into making T-shirts in the past but never looked into it because of the demand to work full-time and be a mother. This journey has not been easy. I had no way to fund my business. I didn’t have the equipment I needed or the knowledge to run a business. So I began to do my research, between the demand of working and being a mother the process was one I had to take breaks often before getting it off the ground. I began to cut back on the things I wanted and needed for myself and pour them into my business little by little. I reached out to family members told them of what I was trying to do and took up donations for supplies. I began to slowly gain money to purchase my business articles and make my business legal. A lesson I have learned is family will not be your biggest supporters. It’s the people you meet along your journey that don’t even know you that will support you. So try to meet and greet as many new faces as possible. I want the world to know it doesn’t matter where you came from or how many times you have to start over, as long as you don’t give up anything is possible with Prayer and a Push.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would start out with the most amazing food places here in Houston. For outside eating, we would go to The Turkey Leg Hut. They are a great outdoor eating restaurant. Then we would take a trip to the Houston Aquarium. for dinner Graces Dinner. In nightlife, we would go to live music bars.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shout out to Taneisha Caraway Swan. In the midst of me trying to get my business off the ground with the hard work and tears, it took she has been by my side the whole time. Helping me with orders late nights and early morning she put off a lot of her dreams to make mine come true and I would love to shout her out to Beautifully Embellished LLC Thanks to her.
Photos were taken by Beautifully Embellished LLC Staff