Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Siler.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a 2008 graduate of the University Of South Floria where I obtained a degree in Sociology, but I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that I am a product of Miami’s inner city and a very proud (and obnoxious) graduate of Miami Northwestern.
I’ve always believed in and have been a proponent of higher education, especially for individuals that look like me. While I am not actively using my undergraduate degree, it remains one of the many items that I’ve crossed off of my “life’s to-do list.”
I began my journey in entrepreneurship in 2013. I knew absolutely nothing about starting a business, so I used the resources available to me (ranging from people to my own personal research) to serve as my compass to navigate through the entrepreneurial world.
In 2015, I finally had what I thought would be my end all be all light bulb moment. Yes! This was it! I was going to sell travel-related apparel and accessories, and I was going to call it Mile High Creations. This was going to be a hit, I just knew it! And while it was indeed a major hit for two whole years, I wasn’t fulfilled. I added bloggers to my website. Yet, still unfulfilled. I knew that I had so much more to offer to the world other than my passion for travel.
In 2016, I found myself in constant outrage over the climate of my community. I used my voice on social media to create a dialogue with my peers about issues that we were all facing. And while talking about it helped temporarily ease the pain, it also became a vicious cycle of talking, doing nothing, and waiting for something else to happen to be outraged all over again. Thus, birthing the Buy Melanin Expo In 2017, which changed the trajectory of my entire entrepreneurial journey. This time, it meant something to me.
The Buy Melanin Expo began as just a vision of hosting an intimate event with all of my entrepreneur friends so that we could network and fellowship amongst each other, to now being one of the largest Black Business Expos touring the nation- from Miami to Houston, to Washington, D.C. I have been so lucky and honored to be backed by some of the most amazing global sponsors-Cantu Beauty and CURLS, amongst many other local sponsors in each community that we’ve visited on this 2 year journey.
I wanted to make our shopping experience a little different than the same mundane experience that we are all accustomed to, so I incorporated a Day Party. So, not only are you able to shop from local Black-Owned Businesses, but you are also able to party with music from a local live DJ, drink, eat, and cultivate relationships with people in the community.
The Buy Melanin Expo is so fulfilling to me. Like any other business, it can be challenging, but it truly gives me purpose.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve been faced with many challenges on this journey. And like any other human, I’ve made mistakes (some very expensive ones) along the way that I’ve had to learn from.
One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned, however, is that my vision is just that—MY vision. It isn’t anyone else’s. Nobody will ever see something through to completion if it isn’t their own. This is MY baby. I gave birth to this. This is my responsibility. Once I understood this, I was able to sever ties with individuals that didn’t share my passion.
What do you do? What do you specialize in?
As previously mentioned, I am the Founder and CEO of Buy Melanin, LLC. I seek Black Owned Businesses in different communities and cultivate relationships between these businesses and potential consumers. What sets me apart from others is probably that I do everything. Not that I want to be, but I AM the team, at least for now. From my email database of over 5,000 people to the social media accounts, to event setup and hosting, I practically do it all.
I am so proud of how such a small vision has blossomed into something I could’ve never imagined. I am equally proud of the Black Owned Businesses in my community that go above and beyond to market themselves at my events.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were just starting out?
I honestly wouldn’t do anything differently. All of the lessons I’ve learned have been instrumental in my growth as a woman and entrepreneur.
- Website: www.BuyMelaninExpo.com
- Phone: 786-383-2864
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/buymelaninexpo
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/buymelaninexpo
What’s Grit, Gifted Photos