Jasmine Shaw, who is also known as Hello Barbie, is making it her mission to help entrepreneurs not only find their niche but to rebuild and sustain a long-lasting personal or business brand. Shaw has been an entrepreneur for many years, often finding herself starting over. When she lost everything, she decided to not only help herself but women like her all over the country. In our interview, Shaw explains her start in entrepreneurship and her plans for the future.
What’s your background and how would you describe what you do? Tell us your story.
My journey of becoming a business owner has been quite interesting. When I graduated college I honestly had no idea of what direction of my career path but I knew I didn’t want to work for anyone. I had previously worked at Red Lobster, CVS, The Gap, Charlotte Russe and a few other retail jobs; so I knew that was completely out of the question. When I say serial entrepreneur, I have tried many businesses over the years. I started with real estate but I wasn’t interested in that so I started another business, which was a commercial cleaning company but I ended up hating cleaning. Although the money was good and I did have a team, I was ultimately responsible for making sure the job was done correctly.
I then decided that I wanted to sell something online but I did not know what I wanted to sell. I started with jewelry and phone accessories. The phone accessories took off and I decided to stick with that. I started with a basic website, using only social media to promote and get sales. As my following grew, my sales got better but then I went back to the drawing board and wanted to figure out how I could make this little phone case thing into an actual lucrative business. I then decided to open a physical location, in Midtown Atlanta selling phone accessories and doing iPhone screen repair. After having the business for two years I realized that I actually was making triple the money online than in [the[ store so I closed the physical location. In January of 2017, I started helping other girls with their websites as a hobby. In the first month, I saw an overwhelming response so I decided to take it a step further to do what I do now.
What is something you struggled with when you first became an entrepreneur?
One of the things I struggled with when I first became an entrepreneur is money. I had all these ideas but it was hard putting things into action because everything that I wanted to do cost a lot of money. I have solely funded all of my businesses without any outside help or loans. Also, another struggle that I had was actually following through with my ideas. Now I write everything down.
You’re known on social media for your circle as well as personal image, how has this aided in the success of Phone Fancy?
My personal image has definitely helped my business because by having a good following it allowed me to quickly increase awareness for my store and it has also been easy for me to get people to support my store. For instance, I know the majority of the popular girls on social media so when it comes to giving out items for promo, I can just send them stuff, it’s not hard to reach them. Also, with my business consulting, my personal brand is helping me because people actually have seen me run a store so they have trust in me.
If you could go back a few years, what are three things you would have done differently as a new business owner?
If I could go back a few years three things that I would have done differently as a new business owner is first started sooner with my current business, I wish that I had started when I was way younger, I would have saved more money and I would have [done] my initial planning different[ly], like writing out my goals, making my daily plan to follow etc., it can really help your business.
Are you venturing off into any other industries or businesses?
The new business that I am currently venturing into is business consulting. I am offering website services, marketing plans, classes and business services to women in business just like myself. I actually love this business more than actually selling online myself. I think this is my calling. The reason I started honestly is because I always wanted to teach. I never actually considered being a school teacher because of the pay, which I always said I would do as a hobby when I was old and rich [laughs], but now, this business fulfills that for me. I teach and I get paid what I want for it and I like it a lot. It’s a different feeling teaching and actually seeing other people’s businesses grow. I am also taking a group of girls to China this month for sourcing products. I want to start a travel club as well.
Why have you decided to teach entrepreneurs how to start their own business?
The teaching actually became more serious this summer after the most difficult time in my life. I was pregnant with twins this past spring and I lost the babies. I was so depressed, couldn’t get out of bed, crying every day for weeks. This was the lowest point of my life. I don’t even think I told anyone how depressed I was. I stopped working completely. I prayed a lot. Talked to God a lot. He is who got me though this period. One day, I started getting all these ideas. I was writing everything down and the next thing I know, I had created my new website, hellobarbieonline.com and was like I’m going to help other women. I put the tour together and three weeks later I was in Baltimore teaching a class. God is amazing I swear. All of my faith is in him.
What do you really want your followers to take away from this interview?
What I want my followers to take away from this interview is that you can go through many things, business or personal, and it’s OK. It’s all a part of your journey. At 33, I just now feel like I’ve found my purpose. Also, don’t be afraid to start with whatever you have. My life is far from perfect but I’m not scared to get out there, mess up, start over and do it again. Also, hold your reputation very close and keep a good name for yourself. If you build your brand with a good image, you can sell or do anything and people will have trust in you.