Artist Spotlight: Monique Turley

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Destiny's Child described an "Independent Woman" as someone who is capable of providing for herself with no help needed. She doesn't wait around for someone else to make her dreams come true, she is perfectly able to do it on her own and Monique Turley is the definition of that independent.

As the proud owner of ShutterBooth a mobile Photo & Video Booth company offering modern and elegant photos booths for various events (like Weddings, School Events, Parties and More), you would think she has her hand full. But in addition to ShutterBooth, Monique launched Spark and Glam an online jewelry boutique where she offers unique yet affordable jewelry, custom phone cases and coming soon, KeyGlam! Monique is also a licensed Florida Realtor and in her spare time (when she has it), she loves to design logos and marketing materials for other business owners. She is also a member of the Junior League of Tampa, NACE – National Association of Catering Executives and EMERGE Tampa Bay.

I chatted with Monique to get the scoop on her businesses, accessories line, her FAB style and any advice she can offer to aspiring entrepreneurs.


How did ShutterBooth come about and what made this particular company impress you enough to start a franchise in Tampa?

I attended my cousins wedding in Detroit. At first I thought the whole thing was just silly, having a photo booth at her wedding, I mean c’mon. How immature right.  NOPE, I quickly found out everyone LOVED it, OLD and YOUNG and after I tried it I loved it just as much.  I contacted the ShutterBooth office in Detroit and began the stages of licensing to own Shutterbooth.  I own the Tampa Bay, Orlando and Sarasota market which are 3 major markets in Florida.

When I got home after the wedding and started researching other photo booths, I found they were tacky and cheaply put together. I also thought about building my own booth, but then I would have to design a website, figure out software, etc.  ShutterBooth Photo booth was nice and elegant since appearance is important to me, so I chose ShutterBooth!

 

 As a business woman, what is your typical day like?

I’m constantly on my phone, checking emails, taking phone calls, updating my calendar. 
I wake up go through emails, respond to client inquires for information. I look at numbers and goals to see if I need to design any sales campaigns. 

In addition to ShutterBooth, you also own an accessories boutique. How did you get started with this?

Yes, SPARK and GLAM! I LOVE nice jewelry and statement pieces. To me, jewelry can completely transform an outfit. Yet, when I would look at the price tag for let’s say a necklace from a department store, it’s like $40-$100. I thought, there has to be a better way for women to be able to have nice affordable jewelry. So I researched and found several companies where I can purchase and offer unique pieces at affordable prices!

How do you manage being a mother and a woman of many business ventures?

Great question. Honestly I just do it! Women have the capacity to handle so much. What drives me more than anything is knowing I want the ability to provide a better life for my sons (Chase-12 & Rodney-21) than I ever had growing up.

I noticed that you recently got inducted into "The Junior League," CONGRATS! As a business woman, why was this decision so important to you?

I have always had an overwhelming desire to give back to the community.  One of my friends is a member and when she talked about all the great things Junior League does in the African American community (like teaching healthy eating to reduce illness), I was SOLD.  In addition, networking is insanely important as a business owner. When you are out of sight you are out of mind and as the old adage goes, “It’s not what, but who you know”!!

Can you tell us as a business owner, the importance of learning how to do things on your own?

As far as learning to do things on your own, I think many things are trial and error.  I remember when I had to learn illustrator to design a ShutterBooth Logo, I absolutely HATED it but I knew it was a skill that I would need.  I found free online classes, I Googled and Youtubed whatever questions I had to get the job done. The words No, Can’t, Won’t just don’t sit well with me. 

I’m really hands on when it comes to my business and I think your employees and your customers will respect you more when you know your business inside and out, so learning how to do things on your own is hugely important!

People often think when you work from home you sit around in your pajamas all day, that is totally not the case.  As a business owner you have to treat your business just like you have a boss to answer to incorporate America. You should define clear, measurable and reachable goals and check yourself along the way for progress.

There are many people who would love to start their own business, but may not have the right resources, motivation or knowledge to do so, do you have any advice for them?

Save Money, get or keep good credit and absorb everything they can from where they work now!

The very first thing which was a hard lesson for me to learn is to save as much money as I could. I remember the times when I wanted more than anything to splurge on a $1000 pair of shoes, but instead I saved, saved, saved.  When the time came for me to open Shutterbooth luckily I had  enough savings that I didn’t have to take out a loan.

Having great credit is a no brainer but like many, I abused credit during my (early) college years and it took years for me to get back on track, once I did I kept a healthy credit score which was also important and a main approval criteria in opening Shutterbooth. 

Working in corporate America gave me the foundation I needed to run a business. Even though I worked in the Mortgage Industry, the same principals apply: professionalism, timeliness, having goals, networking, etc..

What is something that you would like people to know about you?

I hate cats!  Lol.  I’m serious but really. I just finished school!  When I started ShutterBooth, I found the time necessary to dedicate to finally finishing my degree.  I started and stopped several times while working in corporate America because working 9-5 and going to school is not easy.  But I did it. I’m finished. “Finally”  I finished up at University of South Florida with a degree in Communication – Culture & Media.

You also make logos for businesses and people. What attracted you to graphic designing?

I have always LOVED graphic design.  I am a font junky! I was actually awarded a college scholarship in high school for digital media design which I never took advantage of.  I thought the idea of being a graphic designer was a joke.  All these years later I still find myself obsessed with pretty color pallets, fonts, and nicely done magazines and websites! 

What is your fashion style? Go to beauty necessities?

I would consider myself a Preppy, Vintage and a Glamonista if there is such a thing. 

I play it safe (for the most part) with fashion but like to add a little flavor to anything I wear. I love mixing vintage jewelry with modern pieces. The clean lines of preppy clothes stand the test of time and seem like they can always be worn, no matter what is trending, for example a crisp denim blouse can be mixed with just about everything!  To add a little flair I might do a sparkly brooch or nice noticeable glam stud earrings!

What is next for you?

I’m getting back into Real Estate, slowly but surely, helping people with rental properties and assisting 1st time home buyers.

I am working on prototypes for my KeyGlam line that I plan to introduce to my Spark&Glam Brand. Hopefully they will be released for purchased mid September. I’m really excited about that and I’m hoping a department store will pick up the KeyGlam Line!

Long term I hope to open a Boutique Marketing company helping other business owners grow and expand.  Further down the line I plan to Consult with larger businesses helping them to operate more efficient and effective therefore saving or making more of a profit!    

To learn more about Monique and her company, visit www.Shutterbooth.com

Artist Spotlight: Robin Groover + Atlanta Giveaway

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Very rare do you come across someone who is so inspiring, dedicated, humble and talented; but when you do, you cherish that connection because you know it's one of a kind! That's how I felt when I met and started working with (she is one of my clients at my fitness studio) Robin Groover, owner of Too Groovy Salon in Atlanta, Georgia.

Too Groovy is a natural hair care salon founded by Robin in 2003 for women seeking beautiful and healthy hair without a relaxer. The focus of the salon is to provide women the versatility of being able to wear textured or silky smooth styles without the harmful effects of chemicals. 

In addition to Too Groovy, Robin is the creator of Groove Therapy Healthy Hair Care Systemsprofessional products designed to simply Detox, Restore & Style (products which I absolutely LOVE!)  

The KaShonna Files chatted with Robin for an exclusive look into the journey and life of this amazing woman!  

1.) What sparked your interest in becoming a hairstylist?

I became a hairstylist because I wanted to play dress up everyday! Also, I never wanted a boss and a 9 to 5! There were too many people hating what they did daily! I wanted to love my career. Glamour, style and individuality was my attraction.

 

2.) What made you want to take your expertise further and become an educator?

Sharing knowledge was natural. When I was a new talent people were information hoarders and it made me sad. I wanted to share everything that I knew. Everyone deserves beautiful hair.


3.) Why did you feel that it was necessary to create Groove Theory?

There was a void in cleansing and conditioning that needed filling. Many products create build-up. Clean hair is healthy hair. I love bringing out an inner shine. The formula must be able to remove, hydrate and strengthen. It was hard to find it. Groove Therapy nourishes hair from the inside out. 

4.) Why did you decide to specialize in natural hair care?

Healthy hair has always been my specialty. Natural hair chose me. It was hair care evolution through Ceramic Fusion Styling and Technology. My discoveries were by chance while seeking time conscious techniques. I knew the strength was in the curl. So even as a chemical expert my clients curls were never straightened only softened. Ionic tools allowed me to manage the hair without chemicals beginning in 1997. It became the way of doing natural hair! Most people were using pressing combs and stoves back then.


5.) What is your take on the state and mentality of African American hair?

Wow! Black hair is....... A gold mine, beautiful and misunderstood! Black hair is power.  

6.) You are celebrating 10 years, CONGRATS! What made you decide to become a salon business owner?

Thank you, leadership is natural for me. I was born a boss. I always wanted to own a salon. I was in 6th grade when I decided that beauty is life for me. Salon ownership is about creating an environment of love for stylists and guests. I wanted a place people could prosper in many ways. 

7.) What are your "go to" hair products?

Groove Therapy, Design Essentials & Carol's Daughter. 

8.) Any advice for aspiring hairstylists and entrepreneurs?

Love it or Leave it 

To learn more about Robin and Too Groovy salon, visit www.TooGroovy.net

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Robin and Too Groovy Salon are celebrating their 10 year anniversary and The KaShonna Files is giving away 10- $10 gift cards that can be used at the salon for any signature service.

Artist Spotlight: Jeannie Jones

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A Diva, as Beyoncé Knowles so rightfully put it is "a female version of a hustler." She grinds hard for hers, is very persistent, doesn't take "NO" for an answer, throws herself in the ring with the big dogs and of course leaves the stragglers behind. But at the same time, she is very compassionate; helping those who want to help themselves and returning what was given to her. She is humble; not letting the success and fanfare get to her head and ALWAYSremembering where she came from. A role model; serving as a positive influence for the younger generation showing them that with hard work and perseverance, you can do ANYTHING!

Jeannie Jones aka "J.Kitty of the City" is a Radio/TV Personality, Actress and Media Executive from Washington, D.C., who began her career as a Journalism major at the University of Maryland. Her first major break happened in Norfolk, V.A at 103 Jamz radio and WAVY-TV 10 (NBC.) Jeannie then went on to create "Meow Media" which is responsible for producing her syndicated entertainment report "Jeannie's Juice, "Kitty Lounge Radio and the PBS documentary "Our Children are in Pain." Meow Media in association with "Ready, Set, Impact"  Global Multimedia Firm specializes in: Publicity, Radio/TV, Film and Music Production, Publishing (Meow Music Mix/ASCAP,) Casting and Management.

Jeannie's talents extend to voice-overs for the WNBA and spokesperson for several major corporations including IPod, Coca Cola, GMC, Anheuseur-Busch, MAC Cosmetics and L'Oreal Paris. She is also a featured music critic (WTTG-Fox 5 Morning News, BET, The Washington Post and XM satellite,) a motivational speaker and community activist through the "Jeannie Jones Position to Transition Series." She has also received numerous awards including the NAACP Leadership Award, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.,  American Heart Association, and Cecile House for Haiti to name a few.

The KaShonna Files chatted with Jeannie for an exclusive look into the journey and life of this amazing woman!

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TKF: I first met you when you spoke at one of my fraternities events at Howard University. How important is it to give back to your community?

JJ: For me, at the end of the day everything I do is to give back. It has been an integral part of who I am since I started in media and I'm very passionate about a plethora of things, from children to breast cancer and animals. At the end of the day with all of the blessings you get, if you don't give back then what are you here for? It makes me feel my best.

TKF: One of your big achievements was co-hosting the "Russ Parr Morning Show," how did that opportunity come about?

JJ: He had been listening to me and comedian Joe Clair when he was in Texas and at the time, he was looking for a main morning host.

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 TKF: I read that you like to talk about more serious topics, why is that?

JJ: My career started off in hard journalism, writing for magazines and at the end of the day as much as I love entertainment, I'm very passionate about telling great human interest stories of people in the community and bringing those stories to the forefront. It's the root of who I am.

TKF: With the elections just around the corner and as a popular voice in the community, how are you doing your part to educate others about voting?

JJ: Very aggressively by making sure people get out to vote and that they are registered. When I am out and about, people tell me that they feel like their voice may not matter because of how shady politics can be. I want to change that so I go out and canvass, letting people know that they should vote especially since we haven't always had the right to and the elections will affect this generation and the generation after. I do things from speaking at college campuses to co-hosting rally events. I'll be speaking at the Congressional Black Caucus and working with D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.

 

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TKF: You recently started your own company; can you tell us more about it?

JJ: The Company is Ready.Set.Impact, a global media firm specializing in radio, public relations, management, video and film. I am the co-founder with Nate Jolley who is a well-known musician and producer. We have been on tour with Lady GAGA, produced the BET Rap-It-Up mix tape and currently we are working on a video for Robert Miranda who is a Block Alternative Artist.

TKF: Speaking of the BET Rap-It-Up mix tape that you co-produced with the super talented Nate Jolley, how was it putting it together and who can fans expect to be on it?

JJ: It was awesome and a blessing for BET to give us this amazing opportunity to work with some of  hip hop's heavy weights  and also find some new extraordinary talent and give them national exposure. Fans can expect tracks from Jadakiss, Wale and 2-chainz to name a few.

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TKF: You have accomplished so much in Radio and TV, can you tell us what's next for you?

JJ: The most immediate thing is directing more film and music videos, a network TV project, and working with Paula Patton in a film that I am being featured in.
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TKF: What is your go to style choice?

JJ: Heels, my trademark, leopard print heels. I was a ballerina for many years and I feel most comfortable on my feet.

 

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TKF: Can you tell us something not a lot of people know about you?

JJ: I enjoy doing most things in the dark. I work best in the dark, just a sexy therapuetic atmosphere with candlelight. It was like that when I did mid-day radio.
with Singer, Songwriter & Actor Jamie Foxx

with Singer, Songwriter & Actor Jamie Foxx

TKF: Any advice for aspiring entertainers and entrepreneurs out there?

JJ: You want to study your craft, know it better than anyone else. Surround yourself with people who are doing what they love do and are running it. This business is a very small community so make sure you program yourself to network and get yourself out there. Whatever you do, brand yourself to be the best you can be!
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Wise words from a wise woman.... My Girl!!

For more on Jeannie, visit her website at www.readysetimpact.com


Artist Spotlight: Ceaira Jackson (Ex. Chef of SOHO)

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It's always so refreshing and inspiring when you can witness a friend's dreams turn into their reality! All of the hard work, preparation, restless nights and dedication taken to perfect a craft and finally seeing it pay off in such an immense way is something that should be truly honored.... 

Ceaira Jackson, a recent graduate of L'Ecole Culinaire, is the Executive Chef of SOHO Restaurant & Lounge in the heart of The Grove area in St. Louis. SOHO is one of the newest establishments in this area that has quickly created a massive buzz in the community. SOHO is very New York esque from it's lofty style building decor matched with neutral color schemes but plastered on the wall is everything that is "So St. Louis." SOHO is where the beautiful people are from their gorgeous staff (with exceptional customer service) to the crowd on Friday and Saturday nights. From their "finger licking" Southern inspired menu with a twist, exclusive private party rooms, rooftop patio and not to mention one of St. Louis' newest "IT" places to party, one can see why this is THEE place to be.

The KaShonna Files sat down with an exclusive interview with Ms. Jackson about her new position and let's not forget to mention.... to EAT!

TKF: How did you get your passion for cooking?

CJ: I knew I’ve always enjoyed cooking ever since I was a child. I grew up with 3 sisters and a single mother and I felt as though she needed help. I became really good at cooking and it eventually became a passion and my family would always praise the meals I put together. It did not occur to me until later in life after not succeeding how I wanted to in college and so I decided to pick up a “trade” and do something that I loved.

TKF: What did going to L’Ecole teach you about cooking that you did not already know?

CJ: L’Ecole taught me proper cooking procedures and the fundamentals of cooking which is very important. It is also about what you do outside of school and what you learn on your own that really perfects your craft.

TKF: How did becoming the Executive Chef at SOHO come about and how involved were you in this new business venture?

CJ: My cousin is the owner and he wanted me to be a part of his vision which is an opportunity that I do not take for granted and am very thankful for. It is a rare opportunity for someone who has only been out of culinary school for less than a year. I was and am very involved as far as the menu is concerned, I was there from the beginning planning and 

 

 

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TKF: Speaking of the menu, it is very Southern inspired and when one thinks about Southern cuisine, a plethora of dishes come to mind. How did you decide what to put on the menu?

CJ: The decision of what to put on the menu came about when I thought about food that people cook at home such as short ribs, pork chops and salmon and we also wanted to cater to everyone. We considered “down home cooking” and we did not try to do anything too extravagant that people were not familiar with (although the plating and the preparation of the food is a tad bit different.) 

 

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TKF: Southern food is definitely known for its flavorful and seasoned dishes, how did this play into your cooking preparation and the “Health Care Initiative?”

CJ: Our cooking technique is a tad bit different from what one would do at home, because “soul food” is heavily cooked, we wanted to have intense ingredients but with a lighter flare. As far as the “Health Initiative,” we have seafood dishes, lighter salad options and substitutions on our menu so for instance, instead of pork bacon, you could get turkey bacon. We try to make sure we please everyone as far as their eating habits are concerned.

  
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TKF: What inspires you to create and plate the dishes the way you do?

CJ: I look at food as an art with the plate being the picture frame and the food as the art work that goes on it. Not only should food taste good, but I think the presentation should be just as beautiful.

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TKF: Who is your favorite Chef?

CJ: Cat Cora, she is inspiring as a Chef as well as the first female Iron Chef. It is very refreshing to women who want to go as far as she has gone in her career.

TKF: What is next on your agenda to accomplish?

CJ: Honestly, I have not told anyone this so it will be an “exclusive” to your blog, but I want to start my own personal dish line :-)


 

Make sure you stop by and enjoy Ceaira's amazing food...


SOHO Restaurant & Lounge

4229 Manchester Ave.

314-932-5554 

www.eatplaysoho.com


Artist Spotlight: Lindsay Pattan

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Lindsay Pattan is one of THEE ultimate fashionistas in the St. Louis area! She's the founder of Miss Ohio Vintage and Handmade Happy Hour, the Social Media Coordinator for Bakers Shoes Footwear Group, blogger for Bakers Shoes "Shoeternity" site, as well as a blogger for her on personal sites; M.O.V and Heartland Underdog.

The KaShonna Files sat down for an exclusive interview with Ms. Pattan at her beautiful new space to do some catching up, girl talk and find out what's been going on in her world!

Check out the interview and more photos after the jump!

TKF: So I first met you when you posted a casting looking for models for your vintage boutique. How and why did you decide to start M.O.V?

LP: I was looking for something to do on my own hours that would give me extra cash flow. I started selling my own clothing on eBay, I then started buying vintage and my parents managed Estate Sales so I was familiar with it. Then I switched to Etsy and started traveling becoming the traveling boutique. We did our summer pop up shop on Cherokee Street for the summer 2011, we were going to do another summer shop, but this co-op opportunity for Thirteenth and Washington came up and we decided to sign a year lease.

TKF: You are also the Social Media Coordinator for Bakers Shoes; can you tell us how this position came about and what exactly it entails?

LP: I was an event coordinator and I wanted to get out of hospitality to get into the home office for retailers in St. Louis, so I researched retailers in the city and Bakers was my favorite. Unfortunately they weren’t hiring in the home office and told me that they do hire from within and so I got a job managing the Bakers store in the Galleria.  Since they didn’t have anyone dedicated to social media, and knew that I had a background in it, this position was created for me 9 months later. 

I manage all of the social media properties for Bakers; I do everything from strategy, content development, publishing and blogger outreach.

 

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TKF: Is Shoeternity one of the blogs that you manage? And are fashionista’s allowed to post on the site?

LP: I do manage shoeternity.com and fashionista’s around the world can login and create a profile and post their fashions. Every week one girl wins a pair of shoes and you can get voted into look of the day and we pick the look of the week and that person also wins a pair of shoes.

TKF: You wear so many different hats! You own a vintage boutique, you’re the Social Media Coordinator for Bakers, Founder of Handmade Happy Hour and you manage your own personal blog. How do you balance work and your personal life?

LP: I make it all work together, I found a way where everything feeds off of each other and works closely together. Bakers sponsors Handmade Happy Hour and that’s held outside of MOV, so the fact that I can work so closely on each project is helpful.

TKF: I love your new space! Can you tell me how this co-op came about?

LP: Kristen Linares owns the co-op and it’s called Thirteenth and Washington. It’s an editorial studio space created for anyone looking to build an image, or personal brand. There is a photo studio, retail space, hair and makeup area and we have stylist on staff as well.

 

TKF: Back to the Handmade Happy Hour event, can you tell me why you felt it was so important to showcase different local vendors in the St. Louis area?

LP: There are some pretty tight knit communities for independent creators from jewelry to clothing and art, but it can also be very expensive and intimidating for new businesses. We wanted to showcase new talent and give them the opportunity to spend next to no money and reach a lot of people. Also instead of having 100 crafters in a room, we have about 10 so you’re really not competing with anybody. Everyone gets a fair chance to make a little money and not get lost in the grand scheme of things.

Handmade Happy Hour happens monthly and this month we are doing it on Friday, July 20th from 5pm-9pm at our downtown Washington space (13th and Washington) across from Lucas Park. We will have live music outside and on the Lucas Park patio and we will have vendors from our space all the way up to Color Monster on Washington Ave. We will also have the Cubs vs. Cards game on the wall, open bar, kid’s corner and a designer pop up shop.

TKF: I love your style; you’re always exploring different fashion trends. What are your top 3 items for M.O.V this fall?

LP: I love to mix old and new and that is what M.O.V is founded upon. Having all of your basics and adding in subtle pieces to make statements. My style is pretty understated but I do love flowy skirts and statement necklaces, tiny little necklaces and double rings. I tend to go for the utilitarian style, although I try to mix it up with girlier pieces.

For fall I’m looking forward to all of the different textures and prints.

TKF: What’s next on your agenda to accomplish?

LP: I’m going to New York on Sept. 4th and 5th, and hopefully fashions night out and a couple of events for N.Y.F.W hoping to get back to blogging on M.O.V and my personal blog Heartland Underdog to re-establish those.

TKF: Any advice for aspiring fashionistas out there?

LP: Go with your gut and do what you want to do and don’t worry about what other people think. Although it can be particularly hard in St. Louis, put yourself out there!
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