Reaching back: How David Shands is saving lives with his success

Courtesy: David Shands
Courtesy: David Shands

One sad thing that has constantly been said about the Black community is that we have the “crabs in a bucket” mentality. Meaning, we will go out of our way to ensure the person next to us doesn’t succeed in hopes that it will somehow make us more successful. One entrepreneur David Shands is changing that stereotype and actually saving lives with his success.

Six years ago, Shands launched Sleepis4Suckers, a clothing brand for entrepreneurs who lose sleep doing what they love. His belief is, “If you lose sleep doing what you love, eventually you get to the dream you would’ve only dreamt” and he’s been empowering people all over the world with his motto. Hundreds of t-shirt designs and three retail locations later, Shands still wasn’t satisfied. It wasn’t enough that he achieved success; he became determined to help the younger generation get there, too.

Most recently, Shands created the Black Wall Street Tour– an interactive high school tour which aims to teach Black children their true history and encourage people all over the world to step up and get involved in their local high schools.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Shands to discuss his mission and vision, as well as how he plans to continue impacting his community.

To what do you attribute your accomplishments?
Outside of God’s supernatural power to take a troubled youth with a slight learning disability and turn me into a semi-successful entrepreneur, I attribute all of my accomplishments to all my unsuccessful attempts at accomplishing my goals. I attribute my success to my failures. Every time I’ve failed, every time I was hurt, and every time I lost money in this pursuit of my dream has taught me valuable lessons that were needed to put me here.
Why do you think mentorship is so important, especially in the Black community?
Mentorship is so important in our Black community primarily because we’re the only community that doesn’t use mentorship as a strategy to empower a race. In any other community, the elders have expectations, all we have is hope. Their is a drastic difference in philosophy here.

As you see it, what impact does your program play in the lives of the students and your peers who are also learning with you?
The impact we’re having on the students is indescribable. These kids are being exposed to a group of very relatable entrepreneurs that are teaching them the principles of business. We travel the country as a representation of what is possible. I quickly realized, that most of these kids have never even met a successful entrepreneur, much less be mentored by one. Also, we all know that seeing is believing, and if these kids can see someone that is pursuing their dreams they’ll soon believe that they can do it do.

Share one piece of advice for other entrepreneurs out there who want to invest in their communities.
Just do it. Knock on some doors and call some schools. These schools want you there just as bad as you want to be there, and it simply starts with asking how you can serve.

If you want to get involved or donate to the tour, visit BlackWallStreetTour.com 

Koereyelle DuBose
Koereyelle DuBose

Koereyelle has truly become the voice for single women, representing the “new single woman” who wants love and marriage, but has not detoured her focus from her education and career. She's also a brand consultant for ReadyToWERK.com, helping entrepreneurs build the business of their dreams. Most recently, she's added Author to her resumé with the release of her debut title, WERK101: Get-Your-Life-Together Guide.

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