At just the age of 25, Jameelah Davis, has become a successful entrepreneur. She is the owner of three businesses, including The Hair Agency, J. Divine Events, and Ryen’s Divine Angels (RDA).
Mrs. Davis plans to build a Divine empire, to share her knowledge of entrepreneurship, financial freedom, self-care, and more.
After going through depression following the death of her four month old daughter in 2014, Davis launched the non-profit organization, RDA, to start the conversation about infant loss and raise money for research.
HERSource caught up with Jameelah at her second annual Mother’s Day brunch, hosted by Yandy Smith, and she told us what she enjoys most about running the organization and why Iyanla Vanzant is her role model:
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what inspired me to become an entrepreneur because my journey as one began when I was really young. I started my journey at the age of 13 as a hairstylist, where I would charge classmates, friends, neighbors and such for my services. I didn’t have to hustle because my mother and family afforded me a very good life. I guess you could say I was spoiled. In 2008, during the recession my mom lost her job, our house was in foreclosure and abruptly all the yes’s from her turned into no’s. I wasn’t used to struggle and I didn’t like being told no. That pushed me to get into overdrive with my business because now my mom and my two younger brothers needed me. I worked a lot of side jobs at the mall and in town to help support myself, my family, and business expenses. Working those side jobs also pushed me even further because it was a constant reminder that I was not meant to build someone else’s dream long term.
How did you financially fund your first business venture? Any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
In my era of hair styling, there was minimal social media and I heavily relied on word of mouth. That was 100% of my marketing, so I didn’t spend money there. The products and tools needed did not require much capital. Once I started my hair company, that’s when things became a little harder to keep up with because it was a tangible product. In the beginning, I used money that I got back from school and income from side jobs to fund that venture. I would tell any aspiring entrepreneur: Don’t Quit Your Day Job.. Yet! I know social media makes entrepreneurship look extremely glamorous, but it takes a lot of sacrifice. A lot of people take their “9 to 5” for granted, not realizing that they have a front row seat to the infrastructure of an active business. That is so important. Before you get to the glam, there must be structure, strategy and planning. I often say I admired those who are in corporate America because they are being paid while learning tools that can take their future business to the next level. I had to figure it all out by trial and error being that I started so young.
What are some concerns about the Ryen’s Divine Angels’ future that keeps you up at night?
The whole point of starting the foundation was heal other’s who are hurting like my family and I. I always feel like I’m not doing enough because they’re still in so much pain. It is hard to come to terms with the fact that we will not be able to help everyone.
What do you enjoy the most about managing the non-profit organization, Ryen’s Divine Angels?
I enjoy connecting with other angel mother’s and families. Although what connects us is heart wrenching, we draw strength from each other. Running this foundation has helped us with our own grief. It’s definitely a community that has been created.
Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Everyone, and I mean everyone needs to see therapist regularly. I believe that mental health awareness and resources will help change the world if applied world wide. Anyone who commits evil acts is a result of desperately needing love, affection and attention.
Humans do make mistakes. Please share with us a time where you have made a mistake which had a significant impact to the company/your team, what mistake was that, and what remedy action you took.
The most frustrating situation I’ve ever encountered when I was running my hair company The Hair Agency, was during my Black Friday Sale in 2015! I had a huge sale that resulted in a huge amount of orders. Instead of housing the inventory prior to the sale, I decided to order directly from my supplier in bulk, one all the orders had come in. Well, I knew nothing about monsoons in India! My suppliers were right in the middle of monsoon storm which caused loss of power, property damage and all flights and shipments were cancelled. Nothing was going in or coming out of Indian for nearly 3 weeks. I could literally hear the rain in the background while I was on the phone with my supplier (who sounded like he was seeking shelter.0 It was devastating. Meanwhile, back in the states I have of over 50 men and women who want to curse me out, sue me, cancel orders, do chargebacks, everything. Not to mention this was all transpiring the month of my wedding! I had to call every customer and explain the situation. It was a stressful experience because I pride myself on supreme customer service and I felt I let everyone down. It may be extreme to some, but in addition to call my customers, I gave everyone 50% off their next purchase. I can say that was the hardest situation in business I have ever had to deal with.
What are three adjectives that best describe you?
Persistent, Resilient, and Compassionate.
Who is your role model and why?
My role model would have to be Iyanla Vanzant. I love that she stands in the truth of who she is, and has the desire to help others. I love to see women pull themselves out of tumultuous situations and defy odds. She has had a lot of full circle moments because she trusted God and kept going. I absolutely love her!