Ebony Swank dropped out of high school and became a mother when she was very young. However, that did not deter her from chasing her dream of becoming a retail entrepreneur. The Detroit native comes from a family of successful entrepreneurs and it came as no surprise to her when she picked up the spirit of entrepreneurship early.
“I actually didn’t determine it. I was just being led,” Swank, who is now the owner of a store called Swank A Posh, told Rolling Out. “I initially didn’t have a passion for retail, I just had a child that I needed to take care of and I needed to make money.” She added: “I started plenty of businesses but when I started Swank I found my niche. I actually didn’t realize it was my career path until two years ago. Once I realized it, I smiled.”
Swank held a variety of jobs before meeting a hard-working entrepreneur who sold clothes and other beauty products door-to-door. According to Forbes, she opened her own shop after tracking down the production line but she failed in her first attempt.
Swank was unfazed by her failure and decided to start again by founding a store called Swank A Posh, this time around, focusing on jeans for trendy girls. She started the business from one store in Detroit and it has since been a success.
According to Forbes, Swank has successfully grown her retail enterprise to a $40 million business. Also, she has built a community of half a million followers of women on social media. She is also developing hundreds of clothing items, beauty products and lifestyle product items.
She told Rolling Out that she got it right the second time because she researched her market and location. She was also driven by the fact that he had less money to launch. “I knew I needed to make money and this was my only chance. So, you grow because you learn from your mistakes. You’re your best educator,” she said.
According to Swank, she was inspired to start her retail business because she wants to teach people the virtue of hard work. “I work extremely hard on my businesses and I just want to make sure I’m there to inspire the staff, my clients, and my children,” she said.
Having gone through the entrepreneurial journey and picking up valuable lessons, Swank is now teaching her daughters those valuable lessons and also making it her mission to show others that if she can do it, anyone can.
In a piece of advice to new entrepreneurs, Swank said they should have a budget that will manage their expectations and avoid pitfalls. While there is no all full-size blueprint on how to run a business, Swanks said knowing your target market or customers is crucial.
She also wants new entrepreneurs to learn from their mistakes and also keep in mind that running a business is not all about money.