Who doesn’t like great food while networking? Shanea Phillips is the Founder and Creator of one of the most brilliant mixers to ever hit New Jersey. She combined deliciously catered food and networking amongst driven millennials together, creating ‘Brunch N’ Grind.’ Her events have different themes and bring together some of the most ambitious, young and fresh faces to eat and mingle. Not only has the feedback been great but her business is original, fun and a new way to get young people connected all while enjoying some good food. Check out our interview:
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur or what I like to call ‘Shetrepreneur’?
I never even imagined becoming an entrepreneur! I think my story is similar to many other business owners. You see a need and you develop a solution to address the problem. In my case, I realized there weren’t many opportunities for young black professionals to connect in an informal setting on a personal and professional level. It is extremely important to build a network and establish social capital as you make these career moves. Seeing this, I came up with the idea to host networking brunch parties, specifically in Jersey, to add to the social landscape…and Brunch N’ Grind was born.
What was some of the most discouraging things you’ve been told about being a business owner?
Honestly, I’ve received nothing but encouragement on all fronts. From family and friends, to the media and the economy which promoted entrepreneurship as the key to financial freedom. If anything, the discouragement came from myself! I was afraid of failure, afraid of fully putting myself out there, and of the time and resources it would take to build a business. But I decided to take that leap of faith anyway, because if you don’t believe in yourself why should anyone else?
What motivated and inspired you to persevere?
I was motivated by the “what if” factor. Despite all my doubts, I wondered what if this actually succeeded? Additionally, I was motivated by the need for a solution to the lack of social and professional networking opportunities for young black professionals. Thinking about the bigger picture inspires and encourages me to keep going. I realized directly after college that it is about both who AND what you know. Knowing that I can help people make connections, build friendships and propel them toward completing a goal through my brunches encourages me to improve and grow to reach even more people. I think the fact that I am truly passionate about planning and hosting evets and meeting new people made it seem more like fun and less like work.
What advice do you have for females afraid to take that leap and own their own business?
I would say, the first step is believing in yourself, building self-confidence and taking that leap of faith to put yourself out there. Once you do, you’ll realize that you are more than able and fully equipped to handle anything that may come your way. More importantly, take the time to start an outline for your business plan, to determine what your business is, who it will serve and how you plan to make it sustainable. Make sure you do you research, learn the industry and stay ahead of trends. Build a solid brand based on something you love. People can sense that passion and will fall in love with the business as well. Lastly, build a solid team and don’t be afraid to say no or take risks.
One thing you carry at all times in your purse?
My Planner! (I would say my phone, but unfortunately that’s in my hands at all times). My planner helps me stay organized and keep track of all upcoming assignments, meetings, events and deliverables. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times with everything I have on my plate, but writing and planning everything out really helps me to focus and get things done.
Favorite thing about being a woman?
That we are powerful beyond measure! Despite the adversity women, especially black women face, we continue to excel as leaders and innovators. While we are strong and powerful, we are also caring and give selflessly and relentlessly. Women continue to break through boundaries and limitations others place on us. We’re intelligent, highly successful and ambitious. I can go on for days about how proud I am to be a woman. This pride often stems from the beautiful women I meet daily who encourage, support and inspire me to be great.
Social Media Handles/Business Site:
You can visit http://www.brunchngrindnj.com for more information, upcoming events and to sign up for updates. You can also follow us on Instagram @brunchngrind!