Finding someone on the type of time you on:
Starting off the show with an Aggie pride shoutout, Gi welcome Owners of ANTHONYSHEQUELL Clothing; Mike Clark and Katrina (Trina) Keyes. Both growing up in North Carolina, Gi and our guests have a lot of touch points, including the fact that Gi and Mike at one point attended Northwest School of The Arts together in Charlotte.
Mike later goes into detail about meeting Trina very early on in their time at North Carolina Agricultural & Technology State University, most popularly known as A&T here in NC. A&T is one of the most popular Historically Black College/Universities (HBCU) in the state and nation.
The both remember clearly being able to click instantly and realizing , "she is on the type of time on, and that matters." notes Mike.
After that faithful day in 2013, the duo has been inseparable. Years into their friendship they navigated college together, one of them is now a parent, and now they are in business together.
SHOUT OUT TO THE BABY
The two recall running into some delays when planning their launch, but that did not stop them. Whether it was Trina's transition into motherhood, the COVID-19 pandemic, money, etc. The two placed utmost faith in each other, which takes an immaculate bond like theirs. Within their business, Mike handled a lot fo the creative leg work and execution while Trina does heavy lifting in their finances and planning.
Being able to fluidly fulfill their roles, while understanding each other's unique situations outside of the business has been something they both double down on as VERY important when running a business with someone.
Eventually, after bringing their middle names together to form ANTHONYSHEQUELL, the duo soft launched this past Cyber Monday.
Had they rushed it and not taken their time, they are not sure if they would have reached the heights they are at now. Noting they also had immense support from their families, and in an ironic way Trina's unborn baby that had them step back and really dive into planning before executing.
"Shout out to the baby!" jokes Gi.
THE ILLUSTRIOUS HBCU Experience
"So I know you all went to an HBCU, but even if someone did not go to one, they for sure know someone who went to one." points out GI, who is taken a back from the affluence HBCU's have in culture. As they switch gears, Gi and our guests dive into the importance of HBCU's, what that experience did for them, and lastly what stigmas HBCU students have to face and navigate.
When asked about his experience at NCA&T, Mike easily said, "It was the best four years of my life." He later explained that no matter how many black people he surrounded himself with, he always felt like he was in a predominantly white space, "I wanted to be around black people...I wanted that camaraderie, that you only get when being around your people."
Trina and Mike both agreed that if you wanted the best everyday Aggie (A&T's mascot) experience, you needed to go with the flow. The collectively want to support those around you while having a good time seemed to fill our guests with such pride you could hear it through the recording of the episode.
Trina was a first generation college student, so having that overwhelming sense of community was very important to her, "I was away from my mama, I didn't know WHAT to do. But having that around me was so important.." Trina noted how instrumental that was.
Lastly, the group talked about how necessary that togetherness was when they faced negative connotations like HBCU's being party school, being looked down upon by employers, and lack of funding.
"I was a Journalism major, so we sometimes had to fight for equipment needed. Yes, that was tough, but it showed me to speak out. It showed to me to stand out, and get what I needed for myself if anyone else won't," noted Trina.
"Saying an HBCU won't set you up for success is a myth. Stacey Abrams, Kamala Harris, they are HBCU grads. So to say an HBCU won't take you anywhere....yeah that is a lie." points out Mike.
All in all, Mike and Trina are thankful for their Aggie roots which allowed them to learn grit, networking, and the importance of camaraderie as it relates to running a business in this new look world post COVID-19.
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Peace and Blessings!