5 Questions With - Tahaji Felder
Starting this week off with more inspiration, this time from Tahaji Felder of Goose and Gander Brand, a lifestyle company which is all about following your dreams and pursuing your passions. I met Tahaji at last months Miami Flea and I was drawn to her positive attitude and super soft t-shirts!! Find out how Tahaji went from accounting to running a brand below!
Q: When did you make the big decision to start your own business? What inspired you? What scared you?
A: I made the decision to start my business in 2014, after I moved back to Florida from New York and getting laid off, twice, from my accounting positions. After the second time, I decided to go live in September 2015. I knew that there was a bigger purpose out there for me and I knew I wanted to create a positive impact in others’ lives. Although I never started a business before, and was scared of people not receiving it or connecting with it, I didn't want to regret not trying. I wanted to start living and stop existing.
Q: What has surprised you most about this process?
A:What surprised me the most has been the positive reaction toward the brand. I started the brand in my bedroom, with no true fashion experience, and my first footing as an entrepreneur, but still received such a welcoming reaction. I've also been surprised at how hard the process is. Starting off, I thought I knew… but really had no idea until I dived in. The process takes tons of small, constant steps to create a bigger goal. The transition from being in a reactive 9 to 5 position to becoming a proactive entrepreneur has been quite an adjustment.
Q:What do you wish you’d known before starting your business? Any advice for future small business entrepreneurs?
A: Start right where you are, and with what you have. Everything doesn’t have to be picture-perfect for you to start. It’s more important to dive in and get going versus being stuck because you want things to be a certain way. Also, embrace who you are. Don't try to be "the next so and so." Instead, strive to be the next you. You have a unique gift or perspective to offer, so embrace it. Finally, the key to a long-lasting business is serving your customers. When you focus on how many people you can serve, and who, the money will follow.
Q:Where do you go in Miami when you’re looking for inspiration?
A: I go to Wynwood. There is tons of visual inspiration there. I also love the beach: to clear my mind and let ideas flow. I also enjoy the amazing museums, like Perez and some of the smaller art exhibits.
Q:What modern local group or business do you look up to?
A:There are also tons of great local businesses. I look up to the co-working space in Ft. Lauderdale, General Provision, The Salty Donut, Black Tech Week, and SubCulture Coffee in West Palm Beach. They've all created a loyal following with a pure focus on service.