[NEWS RELEASE] Applications available for @Macys Business of Fashion Program

Miami, FL – October 7, 2014 – After four successful courses, The Workshop at Macy’s, the retailer’s innovative “business of fashion” program begins accepting applications today for the 5th Anniversary class of entrepreneurs, who are poised for bigger retail success. In the Spring of 2011, Macy’s created this one-of-a-kind business of retail development program with the aim of mentoring and fostering growth within up-and-coming minority and women-owned businesses. This industry-first initiative has resulted in a number of new vendor relationships with Macy’s and has created a pipeline of enterprises that the company can tap for future product opportunities.

“We are very excited to kick-off the application process for the next Workshop class,” said Shawn Outler, Macy’s group vice-president of Leased Businesses, Vendor Collaboration and Multicultural Business Development. “This program was created to develop minority and women-owned businesses that make great products, but needed additional real-world knowledge and expertise to successfully manage and maintain a thriving business with a large-scale nationwide retailer such as Macy’s. Going into our fifth year, we are truly encouraged by the results so far with a number of graduates of the program now providing goods as Macy’s vendors and a host more in the pipeline for future opportunities. This program helps reinforce Macy’s long-standing commitment to vendor diversity and to providing customers with unique goods and services that meet their lifestyles. We can’t wait to see what the new applicants have to offer.”

The Workshop at Macy’s is a four and a half-day intensive training course developed by a consortium of experts from Macy’s Learning & Development, Macy’s Multicultural Merchandising and Vendor Development, Babson College, the nation’s leading business school for entrepreneurship, and with select Macy’s merchants and vendors. The specially designed business development curriculum is aimed at minority and women-owned retail businesses that make department store products and are poised to grow beyond self-distribution or low volume retailing. The goal of this annual program is to help create a pipeline of viable enterprises that will grow to become successful partners within Macy’s own vendor community often bringing unique goods and trend perspectives to stores across the country.

The Workshop at Macy’s allows selected participants to collaborate with fellow aspiring vendors, gain access to industry experts and solicit one-on-one business coaching. The course work includes classes on merchandising and assortment planning, marketing, EDI, financial management, and access to capital.

From intimate apparel to jewelry and cosmetics, the Workshop at Macy’s vendors all conclude that the program helped them identify opportunities and put into practice policies that have led to successful and long-term growth. Psychelia Terry, President and Founder of Urban Intimates, stated, “I found the Workshop at Macy’s to be more than just a ‘workshop,’ it was life changing. Every team that worked with us demonstrated unparalleled knowledge about retail and wholesale partnerships. They sincerely cared about our business and our future success as a brand and company. We will be forever grateful for the 700% revenue increase that we have seen companywide because of the training, hand-holding and detailed instructions we learned from the Workshop at Macy’s.” She added, “Our company now successfully partners with Macy’s and other retailers in the US because of the information we learned and put into practice during our training.”

Alex Woo, President and Designer of “Alex Woo,” a fine jewelry vendor concurred, “The Workshop at Macy’s provided an amazing support network of industry experts and leaders in the field of fashion and retail like nowhere else. As a Made in New York brand, the chance to work with the world’s largest and most iconic store was an opportunity that no one should pass up!”

Built as a long-term program, the Workshop team is in constant communication with current vendors and past participants as they progress through the opportunities outlined during the coursework. Mateo Bijoux, a graduate and Macy’s men’s furnishings vendor under the “Mateo New York” brand, referred to this ongoing open dialogue and follow-through, when he stated, “The Workshop at Macy’s was and is the foster father of my business! It has made me a sharper entrepreneur!”

WWD-ChairNew applications will be accepted beginning on October 7, 2014. To be eligible, an applicant must be the majority (51% or more of equity) owner, co-owner or otherwise have operational control (per applicable status rules) of a business that has been in operation for a least two consecutive years and be its primary decision maker.  Eligible applications will include a 250-word biographical statement, look book/line sheets or images of product including costs, resumes on all owners, financial statements for the business for 2 years, fall within the minority and women-owned definition of the program and provide verification of the business as a legal entity (i.e. Corporation, LLC, etc.), among other requirements. Applications must be submitted online or postmarked by February 1, 2015 by 11:59pm EST. All information including full program requirements are available online at www.macysinc.com/workshop. All eligible applications will be reviewed and select applicants will be asked to attend an in-person interview. Final selections will be made after all prospective candidates are interviewed. The program will take place in New York City in late April/early May of 2015.

For more information on The Workshop at Macy’s, please visit www.macysinc.com/workshop.


Grooming Your Kids to Become Entrepreneurs with @Chike_Uzoka

chike with kids

My guest on this episode of The LaKesha Womack Show will be Chike Uzoka.  Chike is the Founder of Valentine Global, a professional & educational services firm that specializes in creating entrepreneurial programs, workshops, games, and curricula.  In this episode, Chike will provide tips for grooming your kids to become entrepreneurs.  Some kids are naturally driven and many parents wonder how they can use this energy to propel their young person forward.  On the other hand, some kids seem to need a little more motivating.  Chike will share strategies that he uses in his training programs to help them find and pursue their passion at a young age.

You can listen to the show live at 12p CST on Thursday, November 7 or visit http://blogtalkradio.com/LaKeshaWomack to listen at any time!

chikeAbout Chike…

“Imagination is just the beginning… It’s a preview of Life’s coming attractions.”

Chike Uzoka is the Founder of Valentine Global, a professional & educational services firm that specializes in creating entrepreneurial programs, workshops, games, and curricula. He facilitates entrepreneurship education in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.  Chike works with organizations such as The United Way, Rutgers University, The NAACP, Columbia University, The Eagle Academy for Young Men, Black Enterprise, and Temple University Fox School of Business. His first book, ‘The Young Man’s Guide to Entrepreneurship: 16 Things You Need to Know’, can be found at http://www.chikeuzoka.com/books.

chike and kidsConnect with Chike…

LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChikeUzoka
Twitter – http://twitter.com/Chike_Uzoka
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/ChikeEntrepreneurCoachUzoka

Success Secrets from Producer, Entrepreneur & Consultant Arinze

 We all have the same 24 hours in a day but some seem to do more with theirs than others.  Our guest this week is a hip-hop producer, artist, law & business consultant as well as restaurant co-owner.  Listen to our interview with Arinze to find out how he stepped out on faith to make his dreams a reality.


Success Secrets from Producer, Entrepreneur & Consultant Arinze.

October 2012 Featured Entrepreneur


Special thanks to Donna Johnson and her team for choosing me as their October 2012 Featured Entrepreneur!

Listen to my interviews with GGene S.I.S.  We talk about my business, ministry and the emotional abuse many professional women experience in relationships when their spouse/boyfriend can’t handle being with someone more successful than themselves.

Interview 1

Interview 2

Entrepreneur Tips from Cheresa Purnell, CEO of Purnell Enterprises

Managing one business is tough… Managing several business ventures can sometimes seem impossible.

Today’s guest on The LaKesha Womack Show is Cheresa Purnell, CEO of Purnell Enterprises.  In my opinion, Cheresa defines what it means to be driven to succeed.  Despite the obstacles that she has faced during the past year, Cheresa continued to push forward with her multiple business ideas by making some tough choices, learning some hard lessons and taking an innovative approach to building her brand.

Listen in to this show as Cheresa shares some of the lessons that she has learned along the way that hopefully you can avoid.  You often hear business advice from consultants and those on the outside looking in, today you can hear from someone who is building her business from the ground up and sharing what is making her successful.

Tune in at 12pm CST – http://blogtalkradio.com/LaKeshaWomack

Tweet us during the show – @LaKeshaWomack @LadyReeseSpeaks

Call in and ask to speak with the host – 646.929.2031

About Cheresa…

Purnell EnterprisesWith over ten years of facilitating, mentoring, and public speaking experience it is no surprise that Cheresa “Lady Reese” Purnell would further her passion through social media.  At a young age, she began using her love of speaking to participate and perform at church and school functions which led to a list of accolades and awards throughout her youth.

In 2001, she began working for the Family Centered Educational Agency as a part-time Outreach Specialist for the Demoiselle 2 Femme program. This allowed her to develop her skills as a facilitator and mentor. By 2006, she became the Senior Outreach Specialist and Lead Facilitator for Demoiselle 2 Femme, NFP.  One year later she branched out and founded The Elect Ladies which is a network for young women that offers a variety of events to stimulate personal and spiritual growth. Shortly thereafter, she also began her writing/blogging career as Lady Reese Speaks.

Not only has she enjoyed public speaking but she has always had a love for accessorizing as well.  After months of hearing, “Oh my God, where did you get that from,” she decided to venture out and offer friends and family the opportunity to purchase jewelry similar to what she wore.  Of course the response was so overwhelming that she launched Live Life Fashionably (LLF) Jewelry Co. in July of 2010.

As her love for social media continue to grow, she found a way to turn something she enjoyed into a business that assists others who don’t have the same passion but need the benefits.  In 2011, she signed her first contract as the Social Media Coordinator for Demoiselle 2 Femme, NFP.  In an effort to streamline her businesses, Cheresa launched Purnell Enterprises in January of 2012.  Purnell Enterprises provides the latest news, products and services in social media, fashion and the community.

Cheresa says this is just the beginning for her.  Her goal is to use her journey to inspire others to pursue their purpose.  She says that she has always been passionate about speaking about the things that she believes in and one day hops to speak to the masses through her own talk show as well as several published books.  She wants to continue to empower as many lives as she can through facilitating, motivational speaking, poetry and writing.

The Road to Financial Independence (Remington College, Mobile AL)

Yesterday (Thursday, August 18), I had the pleasure of speaking to a cosmetology business class at Remington College in Mobile AL.  When extended the offer by my good friend and client, Tina Rankins, I began to think about what I could say to this group that they hadn’t heard before.

I chose to center my presentation around the concept of beginning with the end in mind.  How many of you wish that when you were in school someone challenged you to begin your career with the end (retirement) in mind?  Imagine how differently you would have made some of your decisions, especially around spending and saving.

Many cosmetologist, whether they go to work in a salon or open their own business, must master the entrepreneurial mindset because the majority of them will not have a company providing benefits such as insurance and retirement plans for them.  Following the presentation, I felt blessed that many of the students approached me and were thankful to me for opening their eyes about what the future will hold for them in the industry beyond seeking and attaining employment.

How many of you are working with the end in mind?  As an entrepreneur or someone wanting to become an entrepreneur, have you considered how much money you need to be making and saving in order to retire at some point?


What does the end (retirement) look like for you?

Consider this – if you work for an average of 40 years (20-60) at an average salary of $25,000 per year; $1,000,000 will pass through your hands.  Obviously, some of this money will be spent on taxes, insurance, bills, etc but what will happen to the rest of it?  If your plan is to retire at 60 and you live until the age of 80 on an income of $25,000 per year; you will need $500,000 to retire and stay retired.  With the uncertainty in our current economy, I would not advise that you depend on Social Security as a part of your retirement plan.  So what will you do to ensure you can retire and stay retired?

Side note: I would like to extend an extra special thank you to the students for spending the afternoon pampering me.  The college offers discounted hair, nail, waxing and facial services by the students.  The prices are sooo affordable and they accept appointments.  If you’re trying to stay fresh on a budget (men and women), contact your local Remington College.

4 Strategies to Eliminate the Competition

While serving on my local Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, a member contacted me and wanted the BoD to ban a competing business from an event.  At first, I thought it was joke until he continued the conversation with a high level of seriousness in his voice.  Since then, as I have been working my consulting clients, I am mindful of how they view their competition.  Although you can not make your competition disappear, there are some strategies that you can implement to reduce your worry factor.

  1. Don’t be afraid to get to know your competition. There are some things that your competition is obviously doing well to have remained operational but there are also some things that they can probably improve upon.  Don’t feel as though you have to fill the void of each of your competitors but when creating your marketing strategy, you should be aware of what sets you apart as well as what key service/products will help to keep you in business.
  2. Play nice. Once we find out some areas that our competition may struggle with or hear some client complaints, it may be tempting to shout it from the rooftops so that prospects can see how we are better.  However, it can be turn off to those prospects when you begin to bash your competition.  Rather than focus on their negatives, turn the conversation to your positives.  I have been in several situations where a client began to tell me how they felt I was different from someone who did the same thing that I do.  I knew who they were talking about and could have easily pointed out some additional differences but instead I kept the conversation focused on my products and services.
  3. Be true to yourself. Not only do you need to understand who your competition is and be able to articulate what sets you apart, you have to be sure that you are staying true to the mission of your business.  Many businesses get sidetracked trying to fill a void outside of their core competence and it creates confusion for the customer.  I remember when Hardees started selling fried chicken.  Although the product was very good, it was hard for me to get into because Hardees is known for the burgers.  Needless to say, it didn’t last very long.  If you stray from your primary brand offering, make sure that don’t move too far away from what your business is known for to avoid customer confusion.
  4. Deliver on your promises. Many businesses have a tendency to overpromise to get the customer and under deliver which causes them to lose the customer.  It is less expensive for your business to keep a customer than to market and obtain a new customer.  Take a realistic look at your service/product offering and what you are telling your client they will receive.  Are you delivering on your promise?  If not, you could be the competition that we mentioned in point 1 and eliminating yourself from the market.

In today’s globally competitive marketplace, understanding your unique value to your customers as well as how you’re different from your competition and being able to deliver on your promises will be keys to your success.