African-American’s throughout history have overcome so much to reach new heights in the entrepreneurial world today the Celebrate Black History project highlights those who are making black history as entrepreneurs. Entrepreneur Melissa Fayson is doing that with her mobile shoe boutique called "Mobile Soles". We caught up with her for an interview and here's what she had to say.
How did you get started in your career and/or Organization?
In 2009 while crossing a busy intersection in Buffalo, a distracted motorist hit me. I was hurt pretty badly. As a result, I was totally disabled and home bound for a few years. I could not drive, so I needed businesses to come to my home. Everything had to be delivered, food, toiletries, etc. But something missing, fashion! I thought to myself, if shoes and accessories could be delivered to my home, I'd be a happy camper. But, no such business existed. The saying rings true, necessity is the mother of invention. In 2011 I created Mobile Soles, Western New York's first fashion delivery system on wheels.
What were some of the cultural influences that made an impact on you?
Cultural influences that had an impact on me would be Juneteenth, Kwanzaa, and other festivities in the community that celebrates our heritage and ancestry.
How important is History to you and how has that shaped who you are today?
History is extremely important, especially for Africans living in America. There is so much more to our history than being bought and sold as slaves. I choose to focus on the brilliance of our people versus all the negative stories. Because we don't have true knowledge of where we come from, we need to retell the story based on what we do know. African Americans are inventors, creators, innovators, trail blazers; from the traffic light to the contributions made to medicine. All of those individuals including myself moved based on vision versus holding on to a dream left to die, all of which has shaped who I am today. I believe that I can do anything.
If you could go back in time as one person in Black History who would it be and why?
If I could go back in time as one person in Black History, I'd be Madam C.J. Walker. She was the first self-made millionaire by creating hair care products and changing the dynamics of how black women cared for their hair. She is known for creating the straightening comb, but she also taught women how to maintain and care for their natural tresses. What many people don't know is that she created her own products in the factory that was owned and operated on her land. Although we don't hear much about her complete story, she worked in the cotton fields and later became a millionaire during a time when it was truly uncommon.
As we look at the rich cultural history of Buffalo visually from the project how does it make you feel and what do you feel people should take from it?
I am honored to be a part of this movement. Because this town is so rich with history and culture I think it's important for Black people to acknowledge and recognize what's going on. By seeing someone who looks just like them striving and achieving to make their dreams happen, hopefully inspires them. My desire is that people, no matter what race, creed, or color would want to tap into their full potential by stepping out to start that business, enroll in school, or do that thing that seems to have been bottled inside of them just waiting to come out
Any project coming and where can people find your work, business and/or organization?
I am working on a few projects. I have a book coming out just before spring. Shoe mooches- Shoe Love Is True Love! A Woman's Guide to SOLE Searching and SHOE Sharing. This motivational autobiography is meant to inspire, encourage, and uplift those who struggle with fashion, family, and finances! I am also launching a YouTube web series about shoes and everyday life. I also hope to do more speaking engagements in 2014. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & Pinterest at Mobile Soles My website is www.shopmobilesoles.com By phone at 888-909-3561Email firstname.lastname@example.org
What footprint on History would you like to leave or open the doors too?
The footprint that I'd like to leave is as follows. If you have an idea, carefully plan it out and just do it. Nothing is too far-fetched. Don't be afraid. Fear is self-imposed. We put it on ourselves because success seems unattainable. No matter how ridiculous it might seem at first, people will eventually warm up to the idea. Just look at me. I told people about a shoe store on wheels, some laughed; some smirked, while others just watched in amazement. The most important thing to take away from it all is that I had the will to try! Minorities, women, or anyone for that matter can live out their dreams.