Black History Now: Meet Tina Wells

In celebration of Black History Month, I’m conducting weekly interviews on local Black Entrepreneurs-the History Makers! My guests are willing to share some tips and advice for aspiring business owners and community leaders who are willing to step up and make things happen for themselves and those around them. I would like to introduce to you all the final guest of the series…

Meet Tina Wells-Marketing Maven

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1) Tell me a little about yourself and what you do.

My name is Tina Wells and I am the founder and CEO of Buzz Marketing Group, which is a company that creates marketing strategies for various clients within the beauty, entertainment, fashion, financial, and lifestyle sectors.

2) What prompted you to start your own business?

I am admittedly lucky because I found a calling and an opportunity when I was rather young. I was only sixteen years old when I came across the chance to start my own business – I had been writing product reviews for a newsletter that was geared toward young women and one my clients mentioned to me that she had just paid another individual $25,000 to do the same exact thing that I was doing for free. To me, that was amazing and inspiring. With a lot of support from my family and help from my mentor at Hood College, I was able to turn my big ideas into a reality and soon legitimized a business that eventually evolved into Buzz Marketing Group.

3) What were the first steps you took towards making your dream into reality?

Planning. Lots of planning. Before I even started this business, I used all my knowledge from classes and spent a lot of time discussing with my mentor in order to create an incredibly extensive business plan. By learning as much as I could before the fact, I was able to utilize strategies and schedules to keep my eyes on the goal and achieve what I wanted to achieve. More importantly, planning allowed me to adapt when things didn’t go as expected.

4) Where does your inspiration/motivation come from?

There are a lot of day-to-day events that I’m inspired by, but I’m most inspired by the freedom that my business allows and encourages. When I was growing up, a career was defined by 9-to-5 cubicle jobs that were “safe.” Breaking into a field that pushed me to do my own thing and follow my dreams my way was electrifying, and I continue to be motivated by the fact that I am not at the beck-and-call of someone else, the fact that I create my own income, and the fact that I am sustaining a business based on doing something that I love to do!

5) How do you define and measure success?

I believe that success is defined and measured on a person-by-person basis. For some, it can be all about the number of A’s on a report card and for others, it can be all about the number of shoes in their possession! Of course, the easiest way to measure success in today’s world is to just evaluate yourself financially – but my definition of success is based on the impact and the quality of the impact that you have on your community and on the world as a whole. That’s not to say that financial success isn’t helpful in creating that impact but it is definitely not the only factor that matters. For instance: although the business world can be focused on quick transactions, superficial relationships, and rapid developments, I have an enormous amount of respect for the men and women that take it a step further and aim to make a positive difference on the people and groups around them. To me, those are the people that are truly on the path to success.

6) What advice would you like to give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Networking is incredibly crucial. As always, stay true to your vision, mission, and personal brand – but sometimes it is important to focus on who you know and how you interact with them. A woman you bump into at a conference might end up being your partner in business, and a guy you sit next to on the bus to New York might end up being your next biggest client! So it is important to stay on top of your networking game and take note of all the people with whom you interact. Especially when you are starting up a business, networking can be an incredibly useful tool to spread the word about your services and your organization.

You can learn more about Tina’s company Buzz Marketing Group over on their website: http://buzzmg.com/

Feel Free to follow Tina on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/tinacwells

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Becoming A Craft Show Vendor

Photo By: L. Davis

Thanks to social networking on Facebook, I was invited by a fundraising event planner to participate in a craft show that would benefit a local nonprofit. After reading more about branding and growing my business through different marketing venues, I decided to give it a try and become a vendor.

Because it was my first craft fair, I made sure to do a little research in preparation for the event. I found that because La Bella Baskets was an online store and my budget was extremely small, I had to do a lot of improvising, but I made it work. Here are some things I did to prepare for my craft fair:

  1. If you’re a newbie vendor I would suggest reading articles like this to get an idea of what to expect.
  2. Because my business is online, I decided to set up a booth to recruit people interested in a work from home opportunity. I brought my laptop with me so anyone interested could enroll right on the spot. I also made sure to advertise my gifts for anyone interested in purchasing from my online store.
  3. I ran around like a mad woman gathering supplies such as: a table and table cloth, chairs, etc.  
  4. I shared the event on my facebook and twitter business accounts.
  5. I hired my little sister to lend a hand and traded an “I owe you” with my good friend to help me set up and (wo)man my battle station.

 Here is what I learned:

  1. Even though I read up on vending at a local craft fair, I wish I attended one as a spectator first. I became very anxious because I didn’t have a cool banner or proper signage. If I had gone to another small town fair, I could have saved myself the unnecessary stress. I realized that most of them don’t have an over the top set up like the kind you would find at let’s say a big expo center event.
  2. I borrowed a table for this particular event because we were advised to bring our own table and chair. When I arrived, tables happen to become available, and so I used the provided table rather than haul mine out the car. Unfortunately, my table cloth was too small for the provided table. Next time, I’m bringing more than one table cloth.
  3. Hauling my stuff back and forth, even though I traveled light, was literally a pain in the neck. Thankfully, I was surrounded by friendly vendors who saw that I was new and offered a helping hand. They also suggested I get a cart or small hand truck to transport my items.
  4. I figured I could lure customers with free candy and that would get them to take my materials and ask questions. What I received was a lot of children running over as often as possible to take the candy and run. Next time, I think I will put the candy along with marketing materials in a nice mesh bag.
  5. Although I posted the event on Facebook and Twitter, I left out the actual address so my friends and supporters could stop by and show some love. I assumed that sharing the link to the event was enough and was sadly mistaken.

Overall, the craft fair was a wonderful learning experience. I made some new contacts with other vendors, was invited to do another craft fair, and hopefully earned some new business partners and supporters. Do you have any tips you would like to share? I would love to hear suggestions and I’m sure other readers would too!

Are you looking to become a craft show vendor? Besides looking in local newspapers and magazines, I’ve added some resources below to help you locate some events in your area.

http://www.craftlister.com/

http://www.artfaircalendar.com/

http://www.fairsandfestivals.net/