Fostering minority homeownership and entrepreneurship in East Liberty are two of our focuses at ELDI. Catapult Greater Pittsburgh is our key partner in this work. Through their Startup to Storefront entrepreneurship program, they are helping minority entrepreneurs throughout the East End gain the skills necessary to grow their businesses. Through our Catapult spotlight series, we are taking a moment to share the stories of the entrepreneurs Catapult has helped.
First, we spoke to Taylor Ford of IT’s 4 Me and LaShesia Holliday of Naptural Beauty Supply. Next up is Kecia Chantel of Zuri Beads. Kecia began creating bracelets as a hobby in 2014, but it wasn’t long before the requests started pouring in and she had a budding business on her hands. Soon after, Kecia joined Catapult’s second cohort to develop her business further.
Learn how Kecia transformed her hobby into a side hustle and how Catapult has been vital to her growth.
Can you give us an introduction to your business and what you do?
My name is Kecia Chantel, and I am the visionary behind Zuri Beads. I began creating bracelets as a hobby in 2014 and would often gift my friends and family with meaningful bracelets on special occasions. Most of the time, I can be seen wearing a ton of eclectic looking bracelets on my left wrist because it truly is “my thing.” I saw that people really loved my bracelets and how quickly they would sell out whenever I released stuff. This encouraged me to become consistent, and in 2018, I fully immersed myself into branding my business—to really give it a chance to flourish.
Today, my creations have been shipped to 21 different states and counting. I thoroughly enjoy being able to express myself creatively and make others happy with my creations. The mission of Zuri Beads is to encourage and empower people to represent the things that are meaningful to them. My goal is for Zuri Beads to become a household name.
How did you get involved with the Catapult program? Why did you think it was a good fit for you?
I joined the Catapault program in 2019 at the suggestion of a fellow business owner and friend who encouraged me to join after they had an amazing experience in the first cohort (shout out to LaShesia Holliday of Naptural Beauty Supply). I believed that it would be a good fit for me, because I desired to grow and refine my business through mentorship and fellowship.
What is your full-time job and how are you able to manage both?
Professionally, I’m an occupational therapist and a certified case manager. Managing both is truly an evolving journey filled with trial and error. I’ve made it this far with discipline, sacrifice, and by truly loving what I do.
How has Catapult helped you develop your business?
It has helped me transform my side hustle into a fully operable business by helping me better organize my thoughts. As a creative, I can be all over the place at times. Learning about bookkeeping and working with the accountant that Catapult introduced us to has been truly valuable.
What’s been the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur? What keeps you going?
The most rewarding part about being an entrepreneur is being able to look back and see my personal and professional growth. I also love to see the sheer expressions of joy from my customers when they purchase my creations. Most importantly, my “why” are my children, Gregory and Princeton. They motivate me beyond measure. Creating generational wealth for them keeps me going.
How can people support your business?
People can like, share, or follow my pages:
Facebook: Zuri Beads