This article was originally published at The Clubhou.se
Latasha Louis joined theClubhou.se community recently. She is participating in the inaugural year of the Startup Life program, being funded by a grant from the Kauffman Foundation. She has embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and is finding opportunity all around; even using our new laser cutter for some of her products! Meet Latasha of VERBATIM!
1. What is the business?
VERBATIM is an innovation and intellectual property design firm specializing in idea to market efficacy. We design, produce, and engineer products and product collections for business-to-business.
2. When and where did you found it?
We officially launched on February 1st of 2017 in Tennessee.
3. Where is the business now?
VERBATIM is utilizing lean startup techniques, and testing our assumptions by creating minimum viable products and product collections for early adopters.
4. What were you like in school?
Imaginative but decisive. Ambitious yet private. Amazingly curious.
5. Any previous entrepreneurial experience? Lessons learned?
In 2006, I started a group in Augusta called The Walking Canvas Movement (WCM). The group was designed to provide a platform for creatives interested in fashion related careers (designers, models, photographers, etc.) to develop their skills and interest by creating opportunities rather than complaining about what didn’t exist. My entrepreneurial experience has been cultivating my ability to identify feasible and desired opportunities and then designing a way to make it viable.
Lesson Learned : Value is found in the ability to serve people. The more often you feel without acting, the less you will be able to act, and, in the long run, the less you will be able to feel. Being is doing.
6. How did you get the idea?
VERBATIM is a solution based around problems I’ve encountered throughout my experience as a young, woman of color in design and engineering, as well as a consumer with proven cultural and economic influence yet consistently experiencing a sort-of second class citizenship within the retail industry.
7. How has your idea progressed over time?
My ideas have always been focused toward a universal theme, but the progression comes from the development and growth in my confidence to execute my vision. I know that I am the best person to solve this problem – there’s a faith and authenticity that I have in what I’m building that goes unmatched.
8. How did you fund the business?
After reading $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau, I developed a business model canvas and used $87.69 from my savings to cover the initial startup costs – website, domain name, business cards, craft tools, etc. For my first product collection of redesigned greeting cards called Organic Convo Starters, I created product photos for the website using mockups made with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and relied on a made-to-order system which eliminated inventory costs. I used the remaining money left in my budget to print and package samples that I kept on-hand for day-to-day networking.
9. How did you market your business?
Building relationships, sharing my process via Facebook, and giving back.
10. What does a typical day involve for you? How has this changed over time?
Routine. Routine. Routine. Growing up, my parents called me a “creature of habit”. Monday thru Friday, I’m up by 5:30AM and the day starts with my candid conversations with God, meditation, time budgeting, adulting (paying bills, e-mails, etc.), an intense 15 minute workout while blasting music, and breakfast. I love breakfast – food in general. When I budget time for the day, I’m always carving out blocks of time designated for designing, reading, researching, networking, Netflixing, a must-have 26 minute nap, etc.
11. Favorite books?
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
Make Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky
The Red Rubber Ball at Work by Kevin Carroll
Friction Passion Brands in the Age of Disruption by Jeff Rosenblum
Rework by Jason Fried
12. Best piece of advice?
Protect your imagination.
13. What is next for your business?
VERBATIM exists for one reason – to connect people. We will continue to learn from exploring culture, utilizing simple design to solve problems and sharing truth. I have some ideas about what that looks like over time but you can definitely expect us to design a way to give back by exposing others to creative careers that they may not have considered based on access, exposure and opportunity.
14. What’s next for you?
Completing my fellowship at The Startup Life via theClubhou.se and potentially pursuing a Juris Doctors in Patent Law/Technology Transfer from Emory University School of Law.
15. How has working out of theClubhou.se benefitted your company?
theClubhou.se does an amazing job of connecting like minds within the CSRA. Being exposed to this type of environment has helped me to protect my entrepreneurial spirit because all of its members freely give of their knowledge and insights. theClubhou.se is truly a refreshing environment for anyone pursuing entrepreneurship.