One of my favorite online magazines is Bauce (pronounced like Boss) Magazine, formally known as Liberette Magazine. I impatiently waited for Bauce to launch and and when it did, it came fierce and fantastic. Great articles that discuss everything from the hustle and grind of young women, politics, healthy living, fashion, literature, and music. One of the articles I got to read as about three young Detroit women, Lauren, Brittany, and Courtney, who started Young Ambitious and Beautiful (YAB) a personal and professional development network for women of color that pushes them to be empowered and the best woman they can be — in every aspect of their lives. After reading the article I contacted the ladies for an interview for the blog and they were definitely down for sharing about their passion and entrepreneurial pursuit. This is what I got to phind out about YAB.
Phreedum: When did you first know you wanted to start YAB? (What did you feel was missing and what did you think you could offer?)
YAB: We knew we first wanted to start YAB when we realized that all of our peers (including ourselves) were taking large leaps towards success yet they weren't connecting with one another nor were they really being highlighted in a strong manner. We felt that there was a disconnect and that we could offer a unique technique to rectifying this lack of a network. That is when we came together to form YAB in order to promote this particular segment of women that are making amazing strides with different successful ventures.
Phreedum: What has been a highlight for you since starting YAB?
YAB: A highlight for us since starting YAB would have to be receiving our first magazine feature. Many times you will find that successful individuals in the entertainment industry always mention that getting their first gig was the highlight of their career. We feel the same way in regards to YAB receiving our first magazine feature. It was the first time someone took a chance on our business and saw its true potential. The feeling you get when your accomplishments are first showcased to others when you are merely starting from scratch is a feeling that is irreplaceable.
Phreedum: How would each founding member of YAB describe themselves in 5 words?
Lauren: Tenacious, frank, humorous, chic, challenging
Brittany: Ambitious, funny, unpredictable, determined, fabulous
Courtney: Determined, dedicated, ambitious, caring, proud
Phreedum: What has been one of the biggest lessons starting YAB has taught you?
YAB: One of the biggest lessons starting YAB has taught us is that possibility comes from persistence. If we would have given up after contacting potential businesses or potential interns and not hearing back from them, we would have no YAB. Instead, we tailored our approach and ultimately there was a better outcome. We received participation from potential business venture partners and initiated a program for female high school students to intern for us.
Phreedum: How does your work change the lives of others?
YAB: Our work changes the lives of others because it allows for viewing unforeseen opportunities that are not typically portrayed in the spotlight in today's society. Today, we always hear about the negative aspects of the African American female community. Outside of Michelle Obama, women in sports, and glamorized celebrities, where do the rest of us stand? Are we to be defined by reality tv stars and their depictions of our so-called "lifestyles" or do we limit our access to role models? YAB wants to give young women of color on the track to success the chance to be the role models. We want them to be the change. There shouldn't be just one Oprah, there should be a network of Oprahs.
Phreedum: What are some of the sacrifices you've had to make?
YAB: Some of the sacrifices we've had to make are sacrificing our time and relationships. It is possible to maintain the same relationships you've had before; however, it just takes a lot more effort and scheduling. Due to the impact and growth of YAB in such a short amount of time, our schedules are a lot less flexible. We do still have social and personal lives but at times we have to remember that there is a goal bigger than us ahead that we want to achieve, which means making sacrifices now to reap the benefits later. We also have to sacrifice distance because as of now, we need to be able to live within the same region of the country because it is more beneficial for the growth of YAB. To make a move to another coastal area or even country for that matter could affect the business at a great cost.
Phreedum: What do you consider your greatest resources?
YAB: Our greatest resources would have to be our social media links, google, and our collegiate network. Our social media links have helped us connect to multiple businesses, events, and opportunities that we can use as well as share with others. Our social media links are basically the foundation of our brand that helps us successfully implement our business' mission and build our YAB network. Google helps us to do research and stay current on what strides current young women of color are making historically daily. It also helps us stay abreast on current news involving women's issues in health, politics, and socio-economics. Our collegiate network has actually been one of our greatest supporters. Between spreading the word and attending our events, our college peers have shown so much appreciation for the YAB movement and we are so thankful for the support.
Phreedum: How do you define success?
YAB: We define success as making a difference and accomplishing the goals you put forth. If you have made an impact that was substantial enough to see change, then that should be considered a successful task.
Phreedum: How do you stay inspired? motivated?
YAB: We stay inspired and motivated by constantly reminding ourselves that we've come so far from are starting point already. We started with just an idea and now we have 10 magazine features under our belt, hundreds of followers on our social media links, and about 30 businesses as members of our venture partnership. This is enough motivation to know that we can go even further, it just takes time and patience.
Phreedum: How do you unwind and self care?
YAB: Each of us unwind by engaging in different personal hobbies, many of that including traveling both in state and out of the country, attending different events that keep us engaged in the community as well as are enjoying reading for leisure, health and beauty spas, sporting activities such as golf, sailing, etc, and seeking out spiritual guidance to maintain self-awareness and sanity within a very busy and hectic schedule.
Phreedum: What one piece of advice do you hold on to as you continue to pursue your work at YAB?
YAB: One piece of advice that we continue to hold on to as we continue to pursue work with YAB is a quote by John Lennon: "A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality."
Phreedum: What do you think people just don't get about the work you do?
YAB: People don't seem to get that we are willing to do this for no profit. Yes, eventually we want to take YAB to the next level where we will gain lucrative assets from what we do but as for promoting the business aesthetics of young women of color, we are not looking for any incentive. We are passionate about our mission statement and we truly want to "lift as we climb". We just want to see the success of others highlighted more in everyday society because when one player scores, the whole team wins...not an individual.
Phreedum: What have you found to be the advantage of working as a team?
YAB: The advantage of working as a team is less liability and responsibility. You are able to bounce ideas off of each other, utilize each others' talents, and split the ownership and everything that comes with that title.
Phreedum: What are the team dynamics like? Any tips for effective team work?
YAB: For effective teamwork, we would definitely advise others to designate roles and reinforce them. Each of us play vital roles in making YAB successful. Between managing social media, public relations, membership, interns, technology, and brand design, there are a lot of tasks that have to be completed daily and with three people, you don't want tasks to get repeated. We try to stick to our roles as much as possible but also help each other complete tasks when one has a busier schedule that particular day or week. Lauren handles the social media and public relations, Brittany handles the membership and interns, and Courtney handles the technology and design.
Phreedum: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
YAB: Our advice to other entrepreneurs is to 1. Know the difference between a business plan and a business proposal, 2. See your entrepreneurial dream manifested mentally and visually in the long-term in order to accomplish the short-term, 3. Remember that passion drives ambition
To phind out more about YAB visit www.iamyab.org or follow them on twitter @iamyab3