Fear-facing • Experimental • Reflective
Shelly Bell, this week’s guest, gets special permission to use a hyphenated word. Ok, fine – – it’s a totally made up word but I don’t care. Why? Because she’s fierce and we love everything she does!
Shelly Bell decided that working for someone else wasn't working for her. Therefore, she tried her hand at entrepreneurship. Her first venture Made by a Black Woman, was a company that sold t-shirts proudly claiming they were “Made by a Black Woman!” To begin with, Shelly purchased equipment and printed the clothes herself. Upon realizing there was truly a market for this, she began printing a wide variety of items for other people and businesses. Thus, her company, MsPrint USA, was born.
Although Shelly was inspired and excited by her new business, it became clear that something was missing: community and connection. She also knew first hand how hard it was for black and brown women to get much-needed funding when starting a new business.
Inspired by the idea of “rent parties,” an old tradition in the black community, Shelly found a creative approach to solving some of these problems. Shelly created a space for black and brown women to share their ideas and included a crowdfunding element. Thus, a “pitch competition” in front of a diverse audience.
“Everyone is welcome but only black and brown women win!”
This story reminds us all that we don’t need to be fearless. We just need to be fear-facing. Not only do we agree, we have a t-shirt with the same sentiment in our store!
This lady is one to watch and the work she’s doing … It is truly changing the world.
I am amazing.
I operate in abundance.
I commit to confidence.
I improvise, adapt, overcome.
Through service, I lead.
Through leadership, I create.
Through creativity, I design.
Through designing, I build community.
Through building community, I change the world.
I do this for the cause, the culture, and the coins.
- Listen to the stories of others without minimizing them.
- Instead of safe spaces, try creating healthy boundaries with safe people.
- It is possible to be inclusive without creating more separation and barriers.
Unsurprisingly, Shelly supports The Black Girl Ventures Foundation!
We, at The Brave Files Podcast & Vickery and Co, are thrilled to announce our partnership with Black Girl Ventures.
Heather Vickery is taking an active force in the planning for Chicago's first Black Girl Ventures Pitch Competition. Additionally, Heather will provide coaching for the winning founders from each competition.
Get involved in a pitch competition near you!
Registration is free and everyone is welcome to attend. Don't wait – – register for one of the upcoming Pitch Competitions right now! As an attendee will have the opportunity to donate, listen to pitches. You will also get to vote on your favorite founder, and celebrate with the winners.
Don't miss out, these events are like no other. Be part of something that is truly helping to close the funding gap for black and brown women founders.
Are you a black or brown, female, founder? Applications are being accepted for all of the upcoming pitch competitions.
Shelly shows off her “Made By A Black Girl” t-shirts!
Shelly talks to the crowd at a Pitch Competition.
Receiving a great deal of recognition for the work she is doing, Shelly was most recently featured as one of AdWeeks 24 top rising brand stars. Her tenacity to change the world continues to disrupt the startup scene.