What is the name of your business?

BlackSoleHeeling, LLC

TBE: Name

DonNika Jenkins

TBE: How long has your business been open?

My business has been open for about 1 year.

TBE: What is the mission statement of your business?

The mission statement of BlackSoleHeeling, LLC is to rejuvenate the spirit (Ka) of members of the African Diaspora. Through community service, our organization is dedicated to spreading the importance of holistic mental health to communities nationwide.

Secondary to our community service opportunities, I offer virtual mental health services to clients developing the tools needed to address social, physical, spiritual, and mental dynamics. Collaboratively we explore, address, and redirect these complexities in order to restore authenticity in their lives. Our mission statement is rooted in the liberation of our people.

TBE: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

The concept of BlackSoleHeeling, LLC was developed after having several experiences of colorism, racism/discrimination, and gendered racism while pursuing my doctoral degree from 2013-2015. During this 2 year span, I allowed myself to internalize the messages, I received overtime. I tried self-care, therapy, speaking to my professors, family and nothing persisted. Due to these negative experiences in May of 2017, I made the most difficult decision to withdraw from coursework in order to preserve my mental health. After making this decision, I experienced a nervous breakdown for about 7 months. I was in isolation for this time and I took the time to seek mental health therapy and much spiritual guidance and after this intense experience, I realized that I had to deal with other’s reactions of my blackness on my own.

This birthed the concept of BlackSoleHeeling, LLC. I took to social media to share my frustrations of racism/discrimination and the impact this has on the mental health of Black people. I created the concept of BlackSoleHeeling, LLC to give my people the tools they need to end the stigma of mental health related to the color of their skin. From the darkness of my experiences, BlackSoleHeeling was birthed.

TBE: How many employees?

I am the only employee of BlackSoleHeeling, LLC.

TBE: What service(s) or product(s) do you offer/manufacture?

BlackSoleHeeling offers a variety of services, these services are all directed towards promoting holistic mental health. Our services include dynamic mental health and wellness counseling. Our holistic framework provides our clients with an experience that enhances their physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional being. Accompanying our services, we also offer our clients holistic remedies to address symptoms associated with their mental health which includes, organic herbal teas to combat symptoms related to various psychological disorders.

TBE: What’s your company’s goals?

My company goals are simple, 1) formulate enough revenue to sustain BlackSoleHeeling, LLC, 2) make BlackSoleHeeling, LLC my career, 3) produce a multi-million dollar platform with this organization. In addition to this, as a mompreneur, my goals are always centered around creating a stable financial platform for my son to one day take on the mantle and run BlackSoleHeeling, LLC.

TBE: What is unique about your business?

BlackSoleHeeling, LLC is unique in its own right, our sole purpose is to revive the mental health of those who are apart of the African Diaspora. We are a black-owned business dedicated to promoting diverse ways of handling the “taboo” subject of mental health within our community. We utilize our social media platform to spread education on preserving the minds of our culture. We are talking about racism/discrimination, family systems, colorism/pigmentocracies, internalizations and so much more that affects our community. Our uniqueness is rooted in our liberation and grounded in our ability to help OUR people, heal their souls one step at a time. We are offering the space for our people to explore themselves without restriction or judgment. This is what makes BlackSoleHeeling, LLC unique.

TBE: What are your responsibilities as the business owner?

As a business owner, I am responsible for the daily operations of financial management, social media, advertisements, administrative tasks, counseling services, website maintenance, and also technological aspects of our online store.

TBE: What made you choose this type of business?

I chose this type of business because of my experience as a Black woman in America. Due to my physical features, my mental health suffered tremendously. To address my experience, I sought out mental health counseling and this experience ignored my entire experience of discrimination. This angered me, so I utilized my education, training, and knowledge of social media to create BlackSoleHeeling, LLC. This business was chosen as a beacon of light for communities of the African Diaspora in order to address their experiences that have been deemed as unimportant or farfetched. This business was chosen because it promotes mental health and wellness for our culture.

TBE: Does your company help the community where it is located?

My company does help the community where it is located. We offer our community several of our services at a discounted price. In addition to this, we are working on our first community service project to give back to our community especially as it relates to mental health and wellness.

TBE: Have you ever turned down a client/customer? If so, why?

No, I have not turned down a client.

TBE: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

One piece of advice to someone just starting out would be “the seed that is planted, does not grow overnight.” The entrepreneurial process requires patience, creativity, and financial dedication. I believe that it is important to realize that in order to dream, you need to be willing to continuously reinvent your passion, while still maintaining the basic premise of your business plan/structure. This would be my advice to someone just starting out.

TBE: What are some strategies you use for working with an unhappy customer?

A strategy that I utilize for unhappy customers is simple, causing the customer to feel valued as a person. Whether it be providing an extra product or a free counseling session, we do what we can to make our unhappy customers feel valued.

TBE: Where would you like to be in 3 years?

I believe that it is difficult to say where I would like to be in 3 years because I feel that this will limit my opportunities that are forthcoming. But in the spirit of excellence, I would like to say that in 3 years, that I will still be in business with the multi-million dollar business BlackSoleHeeling, LLC functioning as the CEO/visionary.

TBE: What would your previous employers say about you?

My previous employers would say that I am a hard worker that thinks logically and analytically in order to get the job done in a proficient manner. They would also say that I am about my business ethically as a professional counselor and also that I maintain the knowledge needed in order to ensure a timely prognosis for my clients. For other previous employers, that wasn’t fond of my blackness, they would say that I am advocating for justice and equality in the workplace.

TBE: When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a lawyer because of my convincing nature. I was very knowledgeable when I was a child, which furthered my interest in law. But after my cousin was brutally murdered by the police, I decided that I wanted to help people with their minds, so I changed my love of law to that of psychology.

TBE: What was your first business idea and what did you do with it?

My first business idea was a “walking bakery.” When I was in high school, I needed money for my senior dues and to take the burden off of my mother, I decided to bake cookies and buy Kool-aid juices for my classmates to sell while we were in class. So during class, my classmates would pay me by sliding notes with their money and orders and I would in return slide the bag with their order across the class to seal the deal. This was my first business idea and I realized that as long as I have an audience, I can sell anything.

TBE: What do you wish you knew before you started your first business?

This is a tough question because there are a few things I wish I knew before starting my own business. I will begin with sharing that I wish I knew how important it is to have your own capital when beginning the process. The amount it cost for advertisement, website development, social media costs and so forth is so expensive. There needs to be saved capital or investments to assist in this process. In addition to this, knowing the importance of a business plan, in the beginning, would be something I wish I knew also, it’s difficult moving forward without this important foundational document/vision. There are so many other elements I wish I knew but I realize that this is the purpose of “knowing the path and walking the path.”

TBE: What did you learn from the worst boss you ever had?

From my worst boss, I learned the importance of allowing myself the opportunity to advocate for myself. I am apart of the younger generation so much of my life has been spent proving that I am worthy to receive certain opportunities and overcompensating for my age. I am 27, with a lot of life experiences but I rarely spoke up for myself for the fear of others deeming me unworthy. So when fired from my last position as a professional counselor, I was fired due to discrimination and also an extreme dislike for self-advocacy. Due to this experience with this particular boss, I learned that despite my age, race, color, parental status, or gender, I can advocate for myself, that’s my God-given right.

TBE: What has being a business owner taught you?

Being a business owner has taught me the importance of discernment. As a business owner, there are many opportunities that are presented to you in the form of advancement for your brand. As the leader, you have to filter which opportunities are best for your business. Also in addition to discernment, I am learning the importance of patience in the process. I know that I want to be a business owner but the path to getting there is not a linear path.

TBE: Is there anything that you would like to add?

The internalizations are real and can create doubt in your heart to abandon your passion and dream. Do the work to undo the damage others have done to you, redirect the energy and better yourself. This will fuel and motivate you even when you feel weary. Use the dark moments to bring you to the light. Much peace and love.

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