We had the good fortune of connecting with Love-Leigh Trimiew and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Love-Leigh, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My co-Founders and I come from a family of entrepreneurs. Our mothers are the owners of the famous Twins Jazz Club in Washington, DC — a jazz club owned and operated by African women for 30 years. We grew up in a space where hard work and persistence defined our way of life. We knew that starting a business would require commitment and sacrifice — both financially and spiritually. We also knew that to really form a successful business would require creating a team of experts in marketing, customer service, ecommerce, UX, etc. To form the company and grow the company — it’s an absolute must that you have the right team and network to help guide you along the way.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

I co-founded our company in 2019 and have been serving as our CEO and Customer Experience manager since that time. I currently live in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and have been discovering and recruiting some really amazing artisans and businesses in East Africa. Soon you will be able to purchase on HellaBlack,  African fashions, handmade goods and artwork by Medici Art Gallery, Black Rhino Leather, Makush Art Gallery, Muya Trading, Afropian & more. My goal is to cover all of Africa. That would be a dream.

Before founding HellaBlack, I worked as an IT portfolio manager & technology consultant at Fortune 500 companies, such as Accenture and Washington Gas Light Company,  where I specialized in IT strategy and business transformation consulting for clients like 3M, Hallmark, Pitney Bowes, the United States Army and more. I earned a master’s degree in computer science from Pace University in New York, New York, and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.

I am most proud of my four years away from corporate America, where I was managing partner for Twins Jazz & Foundation, where I helped define their digital blueprint, curated their jazz performances, and grew their customer sales by over 33%. I created strategic partners with major cultural institutions and embassies in Washington DC, and had a lot of fun jamming with the bands! This experience solidified my desire to pursue entrepreneurship wholeheartedly, no matter the industry.

The key takeaway about me is that I transform businesses, whether it’s taking a legacy system to the cloud, redesigning your enterprise architecture, identifying millions in cost savings, or even booking the right band! And – I make sure I have a strong and competent team to do this.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

Twins Jazz Club will always have my heart as my go-to for dinner, drinks & music! But, since the owners retired in 2020, I always try to patronize Black-owned spots with my crew. So here is a short list of places that always gives great vibes:

Spa First (Always First) : Paris Alexander Day Spa, Native Beauty on Capitol Hill (ask for Nora), Skin Beauty Bar

Brunch / Cafe: Somewhere, Provost , Milk & Honey, Sankofa Cafe

Shop: The Gift Shop in Union Market, Nubian Hueman , Zawadi, Grindstone Universal, The Spice Suite, Mahogany Books

Visit: Anacostia Arts Center, National Museum of African American History & Culture, Smithsonian Museum of African Art

Lunch: Ethiopic Restaurant, Union Market, Half Smoke, Union District Oyster Bar & Lounge

Drink: Wicked Bloom, Cotton and Reed, Bus Boys & Poets – 14th & U or Anacostia locations, Smith Commons, Bukom

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I first want to recognize my co-Founders, Natalie Robinson and Layla Nielsen. They not only bring their individual industry expertise to the table, but they are also family. So, we have a safe space to share our dreams and anxieties. I also must shoutout our UX designer, Jeanine White, who from the very beginning took our proof-of-concept and literally threw the whole look away. She redesigned all of the layouts and workflows, and she held our hands through several failures of technology selections. She was the reason in the room to help us get through launch. I also want to recognize Shay Hampton, Christine Alexis, and Ainae E. Nielsen who helped us grow our social presence. They understood their assignment and the need for our brand to remain authentic and to grow organically. I want to thank our Head of Content – Kadidja Hinds-Nimley, and team Tisha Rae Cuffee, Elizabeth Uchealor, and Ehime Ora, for creating really dope content for our marketing campaigns, HellaRich Resource Hub, and platform. And lastly, I want to thank the team at Layla Nielsen & Co. for driving our marketing strategy ! Many thanks to our co-Founder Layla, and her dedicated team, Victoria Nelson, Chena Morrison, and Makenzie Hall.

Website: https://www.hellablack.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/shophellablack

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/55177444/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shophellablack

Facebook: https://facebook.com/shophellablack

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHLXLY7UUunAhacovJIw1Ng

Image Credits
HellaBlack, LLC.

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