A study by Harvard Business Review shows that Black women are starting businesses at a higher rate than their white male counterparts. The data shows that “17% of Black women are in the process of starting or running new businesses, compared to just 10% of white women, and 15% of white men.” With the increase of Black women entrepreneurs, it is not surprising that BAUCEs want to know how to scale their businesses to six and seven figures. Nicole Monay of Brandifi saw this need and went on to build a marketing agency that services the scaling needs of Black women entrepreneurs.
She shares with us her journey to building an impactful business as well as how she juggles the many different areas of life whilst remaining sane.
What was the journey to starting your marketing agency like?
NICOLE: I was always creative and artsy as a child. I initially wanted to be an actress. So art has always been my calling. Working as a banker helped me to get familiar with the corporate industry. Things are run a lot differently in corporations. Things are structured and in place. There is protocol and processes. Learning these things as a banker gave me insight into my own business. Even more than that, being fired helped to give me the push that I needed to start my own business.
There are tons of marketing agencies that cater to Black women. What makes yours unique?
NICOLE: At Brandifi, we are giving our clients a fresh perspective on how to extend their reach to minority audiences. With a team built not only with experts in design, technology, and brand strategy we have made it a priority to ensure we have a diverse team. Our primary focus is to offer our clients a fresh perspective on how to extend their reach into minority audiences with an effective strategy in the knowledge of being culturally sensitive and developing effective marketing strategies.
You are best known for helping Black female business owners scale up to six, seven figures through your marketing strategies. Could you give a snippet of your approach?
NICOLE: I became a 6 figure owner by setting myself apart from other graphic design artists. With Brandifi, my target audience has gained my trust, and they believe that I know what it takes to have a successful business because I am constantly showing them, giving them tips, and educating them on the steps that they should take. This is essential for someone to be willing to pay top dollar for my services. Our small business clients have the need to pay once for business branding and know that it will be done right. So I earned 6 figures by helping other businesses thrive.
How do you juggle motherhood and work? Is it possible for women to have it all?
NICOLE: In the beginning, there wasn’t much balance between my work ad personal life and that took a toll on my personal life. Since first starting Brandifi, I have learned balance and self-care. It is an interesting road and I learned the focus also needs to be around me. Motherhood always comes first. My son fuels my engine and keeps me going.
What are your best tips for BAUCEs looking to start their own marketing agencies?
NICOLE: Never lose focus of your WHY. Why are you starting this business? When I first started Brandifi, I started it with only a few hundred dollars. My goal was to grow Brandifi without having to rely on any investors. Starting my business on a small budget was one of the biggest challenges I faced while growing my business. This is a challenge that most start-up companies may face. What helped me was my focus and determination. I always focused on my “why” and let my creativity flow. Our work speaks for itself, and our clients choose to work with us because of this. Starting with so little initially makes the achievements so much sweeter.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next couple of years with the agency?
NICOLE: For Brandifi, my dream has always been to further expand within a year’s time to have worked with some of your top retailers and corporations, such as Target, Sephora, ULTA, Macy’s, Urban Outfitters, and so many more. Brandifi is already highly sought after and recognized as the “Top Design Firm” however, our services are not limited by any means. I am looking to shift our focus to assisting our clients by partnering with top-tier retailers and commercial companies. I have found that oftentimes, our clients have very valuable products and ideas that have a strong potential to increase revenue and drive minority traffic to retail businesses. Brandifi is looking to be the liaison between such clients and these retailers.
To follow up with Nicole’s work, check out her Instagram: www.instagram.com/ImBrandified & www.instagram.com/ms.nicolemonay , facebook page: www.facebook.com/imbrandified and websites: msnicolemonay.com & imbrandified.com