We had the good fortune of connecting with Shayna Ellis and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shayna, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I chose an artistic and creative career because I’ve always had a creative eye. I started Virtual Visions as hopes for my mother and I to have our own interior design firm. In 2010 there wasn’t a high demand for independent contract designers unless you already had experience in home staging for well known home builders. I figured since I had an eye for creating color combinations and still had passion with designing; why not put that to use within the event industry. I started off just doing mock designs just for pictures and started cake designing as a way of keeping myself busy. Never did I think that my talents would take me to working with Matthew Knowles and designing all the tablescapes for the relaunch of House of Dereon Media Center. Never would I have thought that I would be creating a cake for Houston celebrities such as Johnny Dang and various treats for J Mulan. Virtual Visions now offers private mobile bartending services and cocktail kits. In the future I hope to eventually be able to do private bartending training classes and cake decorating classes. Virtual Visions has motivated me to become the founder of H.E.R. Houston (Houston Entrepreneurs Revealed) where I help showcase small business owners as well as host small business networking events. I know I’m still growing but the goals and aspirations I have for myself are unlimited. Being an entrepreneur is so many highs and lows but reaching your goals and getting that much closer to success makes it all worthwhile.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What sets me apart from others is the fact that Virtual Visions is more than just a one stop shop. I love freestyling cake designs so that I can truly call them a Virtual Vision design not just a design created straight from a magazine. In addition with being a cake designer, Virtual Visions also creates over the top candy buffets, while creating my own treats, event designs, floral arrangements, and bartending services. I’m most proud of my growth and perseverance. My goals are endless and my determination is well above average. While holding 2 businesses and excelling at multiple tasks I’m still a full time high school teacher, and part-time college professor. Of course having all these duties is not easy. I have to turn away quite a bit of people when I get too overwhelmed. I personally feel that if I had a team of people I can take on more than 2 events in a weekend. Again that’s one of my goals in the works with developing a team. How I overcome this challenge is just reflecting and focusing on scheduled events and taking care of tasks, inventory, and just becoming way more organized ahead of time. Procrastinating just gets me way more stressed and I had to learn that right now it’s just me so it’s ok to say no sometimes when I’m getting to overwhelmed with orders or events. What I would want the world to know about my brand and story is that I always kept going. My motivation for myself just gives me more motivation for helping other small business owners. I also love giving and meeting new people. I hope my brand with my story motivates other entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to keep striving and not give up. You may not be where you think you should be in life (I’ve had those thoughts too). However, I had to step back and realize timing is everything. My time for my business to be well known is coming.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My best friend and I pretty much love the same things such as shopping, eating out, and trying new things. We would shop for home decor, as well as shopping for clothes and shoes. From there we would probably eat at a seafood spot. There’s so many to name but one of our favorite brunch spots to get great food and cocktails from would be Taste Bar Kitchen and Grace’s. There’s still a list of places we still haven’t tried but we love to take advantage of Houston Restaurant Week for us to try various meals at cheap prices. We also both love desserts so we make sure every time we’re out and about we have to stop at Dessert Gallery in Houston off of Upper Kirby. Some other exciting places to check out in Houston depending on your mood would be Hermann Park, a great place to have your own fun photo shoot with your friends would definitely be downtown Houston or in the Heights. For your family outings I suggest the museums.

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 love to give a shout out and recognition to following business owners. These women stay supporting me with their social media, shout outs, affirmations, and business opportunities. The greatest gift anyone can give me is support. These women have shown me what true business friendships are. 1. Crystal Batiste, Founder of the Nakid Foundation 2. Aricelda White, Owner of Cuppie Cakes Creations 3. Tiara LaRae Johnson, Dream Coach, Author, Motivational Speaker, and owner of Atlanta’s Boss Suites

Website: www.virtualvisions.squarespace.com
Instagram: @virtualvisions
Facebook: Virtual Visions Designs by Shayna Ellis
Other: www.herhouston.com @herhouston Facebook: Houston Entrepreneurs Revealed