”To Entrepreneurs Never Underestimate Your Work” – Tiffany Dames

  • Photos by:
    Tiffany Dames
  • Published on:
    April 2, 2018
  • Reading time by:
    6 minutes

Tiffany Dames

Nutravels’ Nubian Shorties Night Out

The phrase Nubian Shorty represents someone that encompasses all walks of life and reflects every personality a Black Woman can and has the right to be able to possess, without judgment. Because at times, as a Black woman, you feel you have to lessen or soften who are in order to succeed. We’ve been told our personalities are too strong, our natural hair isn’t professional, and once respectability politics come into play, Black women from certain socio-economic backgrounds aren’t even paid attention to unless they are doing something extraordinary that deem them worthy of one’s time. NSNO strives to also combat this idea. The term Nubian Shorty represents every black woman. A Nubian Shorty is someone that encompasses all walks of life and reflects every personality a Black Woman can and has the right to be able to possess, without judgment.

Why a network of fellow Black Entrepreneurs?

According to Fortune Magazine, “The number of businesses owned by African American women grew 322% since 1997, making black females the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.” This shows that plenty of black women know exactly what we’re doing, however, there are even more Black women who want to make that step into entrepreneurship but cannot overcome one obstacle. Fear. The fear of uncertainty can be debilitating. So much so, it stops black women from even trying. ‘’We plan our failure more than we plan our success’’ says Tiffany Dames. Nubian Shorties Night Out strives to ease that fear by curating these events allowing us to come together, to network and build upon community economics.

‘’Nubian Shorties? I came up with the term to showcase Black Women as multifaceted. A Nubian Shorty is someone that encompasses all walks of life and reflects every personality a Black Woman can and has the right to be able to possess, without judgment. She, to me, is showcasing that we’re magic but we’re still real.’’ – Tiffany Dames

Nutravels’ Nubian Shorties Night Out curates events for young Black professionals and advocates for Black Women through entrepreneurship, comradery, and artistry.

Hi Tiffany for being such an inspiration and for your time, as we know we entrepreneurs are very busy so we appreciate your time more than you think! Let’s start with the questions about your journey.

How did you become an entrepreneur? Have you always been entrepreneurial?

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Throughout college and even after graduating I would start different business ventures, but I didn’t have the drive then to focus wholeheartedly on my goals. So I got stuck in the cycle of working to pay bills. Then one day I was just tired of it. I saved up for a few months and quit my job. I told myself my next career would only be doing something I loved. I got another job after about 6 months (laughs) because of capitalism and poor planning originally on my part. But I told myself that I wouldn’t work for someone else again after one year and that’s the plan I’m sticking to.

You’re the CEO of Nutravel, can you tell us more about this?

NuTravels was formed because I said I would only begin a career doing something I loved. NuTravels is a traveling company I started that provide carefully curated group traveling experience for Black adults. I love traveling and I always had a passion for uplifting Black people. With NuTravels I think it’s very important when trying to uplift any group of people that you also provide spaces that bring joy.

NuTravels, first is the break that we all owe to ourselves, especially as Black People but it’s also about restoring pride. My trips, of course, are a great time but they’re also an experience. Almost everywhere in this world, there are prominent afro-contributions and learning about them can instill pride in all of us.

What inspired you to start Nubian Shorties Night Out (NSNO)?

Nubian Shorties Night Out came to fruition after I was brainstorming about ways to promote NuTravels. I was tired of feeling like I was doing meaningless networking so doors could open up for me and decided to create my own door. I began to create majority black business sponsored events that put my target audience in one room. This became a beneficial way for me to create connections with my audience on a more personal level. They could meet the person behind the machine per se. I know some people who like to keep themselves hidden so everyone can relate. For me, however, me representing my brand and being so passionate about it, is how I get most of my travelers and attendees. Throwing these events also allows me to further my mission in providing spaces for Black joy and to uplift.

My event company is called Nubian Shorties Night Out because at times, as a Black woman, you feel you have to lessen or soften who are in order to succeed. We’ve been told our personalities are too strong, our natural hair isn’t professional, and once respectability politics come into play, black women from certain socio-economic backgrounds aren’t even paid attention to unless they are doing something extraordinary that deem them worthy of one’s time. NSNO strives to also combat this idea. The term Nubian Shorty represents every black woman. A Nubian Shorty is someone that encompasses all walks of life and reflects every personality a Black Woman can and has the right to be able to possess, without judgment. Yea, we are all magical but accept us for just being real people too. So its very clear that a Nubian Shorty is behind this and if you don’t agree with this idea then my events aren’t for you.

Tell us something about your upcoming event, and how do you get these women attending at your event?

April 8th NSNO will be hosting a Golden Parachute Black Business Mixer. So in all truth, I called it Golden Parachute, because as someone who is obsessed with Prince I was having one of my watch everything related to Prince YouTube binges. I stumbled upon an acceptance speech he gave to a room filled with majority Black musicians stating that if we created our own “golden parachute” we would not need to feel like it was an abdominally when we did find success. Essentially if we created and as a group invested in community economics, we could all reach each of our specific ideas of success.

This stayed in my subconscious for about a year, then when I created NSNO it was really a no-brainer that a black business mixer was going to happen. Yes, all my events I collaborate with Black-owned businesses, but the Golden Parachute Black Business Mixer I’m really pushing the idea of community economics and working with black entrepreneurs to create a safety net that’s beneficial for all of us.

Just think about it, if there was a group of other entrepreneurs in every community that you could present your business plan to and they invest your business or if you get on hard times those same entrepreneurs could provide you with the help and resources your business needs because they know your business being successful will also benefit them because it also provides them with an even greater security net. Think about how many more successful entrepreneurs there could be. How much more influence these businesses could have on their communities to make things better.

The Golden Parachute Black Business Mixer is a small step, but big things always start with small steps. So on April 8th at 1 pm 20+ local to the NYC area, Black-owned business from an array of industries will be providing information about their business, as well as, giving samples and selling their products. This event is really close to my heart because it’s something I want to continue annually, so I hope everyone comes out and supports it.

How do you get unstuck creatively?

I’ve found doing so many things at once can sometimes cause your brain to just shut down. I just can’t take it anymore. This happens, more to me when I’m planning events rather than when I’m curating trips because as a one-woman company I have to wear so many different hats when it comes to NSNO. I’m designing flyers, creating marketing campaigns, being an interior decorator, contacting collaborators, the works. What I’ve started doing to not exhaust myself creatively, is to not do any work in my bedroom anymore. In American work culture, we have constantly been told that working all the time is what is going to make us successful. I’m telling yall right now I’m completely against #TeamNoSleep. I like to sleep. I enjoy it. I need 8 hours every night, and if I don’t get it I’m completely useless. Not working in my bedroom creates a boundary, that is needed especially for entrepreneurs that work from home, that there is a space in my house that is strictly for Tiffany time and unwinding. This allows creativity to flow more naturally without feeling like I’m forcing it because I’m working 24/7. Always allow yourself to disconnect, work smarter not longer.

To what do you attribute your success in business and how do you define success?

I think it’s important first to note that not everyone’s idea of success is the same. I wanted to make that clear because, in my opinion, this is why everyone feels there is so much competition everywhere, when in reality if you absolutely know what you feel is a success, without just saying I want to be rich or something very general like that, it’s way easier to achieve it.
I attribute my success to wanting to help others. Think about communal benefits just from a business point of view. Word of mouth becomes greater because, guess what, their audience now knows who you are because you provided this platform. It’s simple cross promotion. Now you have more social media reach and impressions which can directly correlate to website clicks. Then someone who came to an event to support XYZ is interested in NSNO and sees NuTravels and now their booking a trip. It all comes full circle. I’m religious so I always feel like any blessing you give you receive it tenfold, but I put it into a business perspective so dollars can make sense lol.
I define my personal success as one: making at least $8,500 a month, because as an entrepreneur always give yourself a specific number so you can understand the price point of your services and how hard you have to work to achieve that. And never use words like “realistic” because “realistic” can only be compared to the work you put in. Also I define my success by being happy with the work I’m doing. Knowing that I’m not comprising my personality, my culture, or my morals, is number one.

How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?

Pertaining to business, next year I want to improve on how I deal with stressful situations. I get anxiety so, the day before and the day of an event I’m usually so anxious. I’ve developed exercises that help me get through it, but I know my anxiety comes from self-doubt. I hope to be in a space professionally where I feel like I’m confident enough to not stress myself out to the point of anxiety attacks. Also just on a more personal level, I want to work on who I am when I’m upset or hurt. That’s a tough one for me because I’m so sensitive and I put my guard up so much that if I allow myself to get upset with someone or hurt by them I had to willfully open up to them. So I get kind of vicious with my words and I definitely am working on that because with maturity you realize there is nothing cute about being a mean person. And the person you are when you’re hurt is essentially the person you need to work on most to be an even happier person. Some people deserve a good tongue lashing, I’ll admit (laughs), but there’s a difference in presenting facts and using vengeful words. I definitely want to work on that.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Working for my damn self for starters (laughs). Seriously though, it’s also great to feel like you’ve created something. My work with NuTravels and NSNO is so rewarding because it’s genuine. I hold them dear to my heart, so seeing people gravitate towards them both, even if I’m still growing feels so dope. I’m a Cryer so yes, I cry after every event and after I return home from every trip lol. I don’t know if this feeling will eventually fade but I really don’t want it to. I don’t want this to be confused with me not feeling worthy of the appreciation I’m getting because I work hard so I know I deserve it, but feeling that sense of accomplishment every time I’ve completed an event or trip, is the best.

What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?

My first event I got so much social media feedback and RSVPs that I was like, “this is so easy. Why haven’t I done this before?” Literally my first event “sold out” within 3 days. However, I didn’t put into consideration that for free events where only an RSVP is required your guests don’t feel like they have lost anything if they simply just don’t show up. That’s exactly what happened. I was disheartened when literally less than half of my attendees showed up. I invested my own money in renting a space, hiring a videographer, and I was literally embarrassed that I hyped up a sold out event and now I’m sitting in front of 10 guests. My mom, who is my best homegirl, number one supporter, and literally everything I could ask for in a person, saw the disappointment in my face, even went outside to solicit people to come. She held it down too and actually got two more people to attend lol.

Anyway, I didn’t do enough research on throwing events before I actually had one. I didn’t know then that for an event with the free entry you should always over book beyond your expected outcome, to put into consideration the people who decided to change their plans, even after you’ve followed up with them. I wouldn’t say my event was a complete failure because, even though the attendees that showed up were way less than I projected, it still felt right with the people who were there. But what I did learn is don’t half-ass anything again. Google is right at my fingertips so there is absolutely no reason why I wasn’t prepared.

If you had one piece of advice to our readers to those just starting out a business, what would it be?

Like I said previously to create a specific dollar amount you want to make whether it’s weekly or monthly that will allow you to live what you deem is a comfortable life. I really want to stress to entrepreneurs never underestimate your work. Especially as women, we are under-compensated for our work in all business sectors, so make sure you do not internalize this and undervalue yourself, as well. If you ever regret the price of your work because it doesn’t compare to the physical and mental labor you actually put into it, there’s a problem. Always put an appropriate dollar amount on efforts, ALWAYS.


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