It’s a Tuesday night and like most entrepreneurs, who are corporate workers by day, Alyse Hope is in front of her laptop working and confirming a recent order was shipped — she launched her apparel line, Eat.Pray.Hope.®, on December 3, 2018. Eat.Pray.Hope.® is an apparel line dedicated to bringing customers inspirational, uplifting, fashionable shirts, hats and more. In my recent interview with Alyse, she discussed the importance of time management, building a network with people around you, and watching her apparel line come to fruition. I asked Alyse common questions I hear from new entrepreneurs looking for advice and her tips didn’t disappoint! Check out our interview below:
How hard was it financially to start your business? Or was it easy because you had a savings plan?
Fortunately, I had a savings plan before starting my business and that helped me a lot. If you are looking to start your business, I would recommend getting a grant or loan so that initially you won’t come out of pocket. Of course, you will have to pay the money back, but you don’t have to worry about that expense up front.
What has been the most rewarding part of your journey to entrepreneurship?
Being able to see my business become a reality from a mustard seed. It’s almost like giving birth to a child. At first it was just a thought, but then it came to fruition. It is a feeling I can’t explain.
What advice would you give someone looking to start their business?
Network, build across and ask for help. Sometimes we can be so prideful, but you have to put your pride aside and ask for help. We tend to want to do things on our own, but we need to use our resources. It might seem easier to cut corners, but there are times when you just need to contact that attorney to read your legal documents. When you need someone to review financial documents, hire an accountant. Issa Rae said it best — build across when you network and build with people around you. For example, if I know someone who is an up and coming photographer looking to grow their business and brand, I am going to reach out to them to do my photoshoot versus reaching out to the hottest photographer out right now. I am not saying hiring the best in the industry is a bad thing, but I want to collaborate with the people I have around me so that we all can help each other. After all, the people around you may be just as talented.
What’s your mission statement and how does your brand reflect it?
My mission statement is Eat.Pray.Hope.® and it is truly a lifestyle.
Eating is vital because you need food for nourishment. You have to pray for things to come to fruition and then we have hope. Hope allows us to wait patiently for things to come.
What has been the most challenging part of being an entrepreneur?
[laughs] I have several. Time management is one of them because I am a woman who wears many hats. I am a national sales project manager for my corporate job, a fashion blogger and a business owner. By default, my 9 to 5 comes first because it pays the bills, but I am learning how to manage my time so that I don’t neglect the others. I have a savings, but it is depleting faster than I expected. I had vendor issues for my apparel line. I offer free shipping and there was an inflation on shipping. It was a lot of small things that I didn’t think of so there were definitely some growing pains, but I am learning as I go.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you first started?
I got trademarked immediately and did all the paperwork myself. However, I should have hired an attorney — someone who did this type of stuff for a living — because if you mess up, you have to eat that cost. If you hire someone who is skilled at what you need, you will be able to have things done right the first time. Don’t cut corners because it’ll cost you in the long run.
How important is it to have a village that supports you?
I have the best village in the world. I have wonderful parents, family and friends. They are my biggest supporters. They help me with everything, from picking up shirts and helping with social media. I don’t have to ask for their support, it is something they give freely. Everyone is truly all in.