Category Archives: Business and Branding

Protect The Brand

Protect the Brand. This is one of my business mottos. Recently, I heard Amy DuBois Barnett, Editor-in-Chief of Ebony Magazine and Steve Harvey say the same thing. I’ve gotten accustomed to many people not having any idea of what I was talking about when I say it, so it was truly refreshing to hear other people with the same perspective. So many people call themselves entrepreneurs, but they don’t understand branding and why it’s essential to do so in business. With the exception of myself, I don’t know anyone else doing exactly what I’m doing, the way I’m doing it. Some people are doing a few of the things I do, or do one or two things I do, but no one does everything I’m doing. Therefore, my competition is almost non-existent. However, that’s not the case with other business models. Particularly businesses that are considered traditional. Almost every business has a competitor and a lot of them have learned the same basic techniques for operating their businesses. Although everything you need to open, operate and expand a business isn’t in a book, a lot of the steps and instructions are. I’m sure that we can agree that anyone can follow steps and instructions written in a book. But if that’s all that was required, a lot more people would be successful at it. Statistically businesses still fail in the first five years.

As a result of the availability of basic business operation techniques and information, many people can start a business. Because all the books reiterate and all business students are taught that the most important thing in business is to make money, this further establishes an atmosphere of competition. Everyone wants to make money. Not everyone wants to make a difference. Not everyone wants to become a brand.  But I’ve learned that doing the latter will help improve your chances of the former. If you own a restaurant, your competition could set up shop across the street from you. If you’re a caterer, your competition can be a larger restaurant that decides to expand its business and begin offering catering to its existing customers. And let’s just say for argument’s sake, that their food isn’t even as delicious as yours and their prices are higher. In spite of that, next thing you know, your profits are dwindling. The next thing that comes to your mind is “What are they doing, that I’m not?” Well, if that competing restaurant is Red Lobster and you own a Shrimp Shack, what do you think it is?

It’s the branding.

When you operate a business that is traditional you have to establish yourself as a brand, not just a business, in order to set yourself above others. Businesses eventually go out of business; brands become icons. Becoming a brand takes time and is often more work than just starting a business. For me starting my business was a sign from God, combined with talents I possess and knowledge of how to complete the appropriate paperwork from previous experiences I had in business. It has taken me four years to get where I am so far with The Super Woman Brand. I expect it to take me another four years to get where I want to go, although I’m told that I won’t need that much time, because with every decision I make, I’m branding myself and my business. If something doesn’t enhance what I want to do now or what I want to do in the near future, it can’t be included in The Super Woman Brand.  If an idea or business relationship doesn’t allow me to establish myself or further myself in an area that I want to operate in, it can’t be included in The Super Woman Brand. When you brand yourself, you’re developing business practices and standards, not just appealing to what everyone else wants you to do. It’s requires that you are bold.

Set yourself apart with your brand

I must be doing a pretty good job at branding because there are other people attempting to use The Super Woman Brand by calling themselves Super Woman or Superwoman Productions. I don’t consider them competition, because I’ve already had a head start in developing The Super Woman Brand and they don’t do the same things that I do. I’ve accomplished a few things and they are all positive. I’ve been in a national publication, I’ve been interviewed several times locally on radio and in print, I have credits to my name and a good reputation. So, whether they are a stripper or claim to be a playwright, they aren’t hindering The Super Woman Brand. In fact, if someone attempts to find them, they find ME instead because I am EVERYWHERE on the internet and that is expanding into other areas of media, including television and moviesGoogle me and see firsthand what I mean. Someone told me these other women are only attempting to use The Super Woman Brand because they want to be ME. Imitation is the best form of flattery. I must be doing something right. 

Discover and establish your brand

What do you do that sets you apart from your competition? Find that element and brand it. Use it to market yourself, your business, and catapult your dream. Don’t strive to just become a business person and make money. That’s mediocre. Mediocre doesn’t grow. Strive to become an icon. Strive for growth in your industry and not just for the money. The flower doesn’t dream of the bee; the flower blooms and the bee comes.  It’s more rewarding longterm. It becomes your legacy. It leaves something for others to aspire to. It’s a blueprint for others to follow. It’s part of that dash between the day you were born and the day you die.  Just keep in mind that becoming a brand is a lot more than filling out the appropriate paperwork and putting up a website. It takes time, effort, resilience and creativity. One day other people will want to be YOU and do what you do also

Become a motivating factor to those who come after you.   

PROTECT THE BRAND

 

Teachable Moments Woven Into Fashion

Walk 5 Fashion Show was this past Saturday at the beautiful Detroit Opera House. The best description I could come up with to describe the show in one word is ratchet. People I spoke to said they got dressed up and paid $50 to stand in line for over an hour waiting to gain entry. The security staff at the Opera House was rude to models in the show and at one point refused to let them enter the building to dress for the show. I was granted press credentials but never received a press pass. I had to figure out where to sit on my own and was also treated rudely by security after being given incorrect instructions as to where I was to enter the show. The staff working for Jelly’s World and Iced Crystals were running around like chickens with their heads cut off; clueless and unable to locate each other.  This is a classic example of the right hand not knowing what the left was doing. Now, they may have been confused as to what capacity I was serving in when I arrived, because I was looking fabulous of course, but that’s why you should provide your press with press passes. That way you will know who is who, where they should sit, etc.

Did I mention the show took place outside? Thank God it didn’t rain and the temperature dropped from scorching hot to hot enough. Otherwise it would’ve been a sweating, hot mess.

The show was supposed to start at 8:30 pm, but in true CPT fashion, it didn’t start until 8:45 pm when the Walk Dancers appeared and performed a loosely choreographed routine featuring Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj songs to open the show. The stage featured a projector that was projecting upside down for the first few minutes of the show until the engineer who had installed it came back with a ladder to correct his snafu. After a very quick welcome by Dominique Reighard (America’s Next Top Model), who did less work than the DJ did, but likely got paid more money, the show finally started with Brickhouse Designs. Walk 5 staff didn’t pass out programs to the audience until 10:30pm so you had to pay very close attention to the projection on the screen against the back of the runway to know who was up next. I may be wrong, but I do believe that programs should have been passed out either upon entry, check in or to people while they were waiting in line.  

There was a performance after the intermission by TraVon, whose mic didn’t get turned on until the song was about 20 seconds in and his voice was barely heard over his pre-recorded track. There were many other sound issues during his performance, but he kept it moving, just like a professional. It was pretty obvious that TraVon is in need of vocal coaching because he couldn’t keep his tone consistent during a live, outdoor performance. It’s also obvious that they failed to do a sound check with him before the show.  

Gwenation saved our eardrums with her performance before the second part of the show began. But due to limited time and the fact that she was supposed to perform a lot earlier, she only sang one song. Manner later took the stage before the final part of the show. He reminds me of a cross between Musiq (when his hair was long), a black version of Justin Bieber and a male version of Nicki Minaj. He was somewhat talented. He was also smart enough to bring two handfuls of his own fans and family to the show (which he referred to as Mannequins) to cheer for him and sing his songs off-key, like it was his own personal concert. This was good because no one else in the audience seemed to know who he was. Nor did them seem to be heavily into his performance.  

One of the models lost her pantyliner on the runway at the beginning of the show, where it remained for at least two more collections. I’m serious. I have it on video. It just slipped right out of her panties and landed on the runway. There were more than enough visible tags, butt cracks, nipples, areolas, bras & panties throughout the show and of course no spanx for those who needed them. Mostly, I saw similar clothes that I’ve had in my closet for the last 5 years versus any new hotness. I was hoping for more haute couture. Instead I was greeted by a lot of been there before. Fashion shows are supposed to introduce you to things upcoming in fashions and trends; not show you clothes you already own. I saw a lot of women in the audience wearing the same clothes that were on the runway. Very little of what was featured during the first 3 rounds was actually “designed“, with the exception of the exquisite bow ties from the Alexander Collection. Mostly the first 3 rounds of so-called designers were actually boutique owners who had clothes that were all sewn and manufactured by someone else, that were sold in their boutiques. Clothes that are DESIGNED don’t have tags and they typically fit the models a lot better. The audience was more excited by seeing the child models strut their cuteness, than they were about any of the clothes.

One of the best designers was Diane Berry. Although she couldn’t save the show from its ratchetness. She’s a talented designer, but she isn’t Jesus. The fourth round of the fashion show should’ve been the first round. By the time real designers took the stage the audience had started to disperse, so a lot of people missed the best part. Beulah Cooley closed the show with her fabulous take on evening wear and I was actually on the road to impressed. But not as much because I had to wait too long to get there.

As hard as I tried not to be critical of the show as a reviewer, they made it too easy for me not to. Jelly’s World and Iced Crystals could have gone to many schools in Metro Detroit to offer an opportunity to up and coming fashion DESIGNERS, who actually draw designs, select fabrics and sew them into clothes that don’t have tags in them and fit the models appropriately. There are so many up and coming fashion designers in Detroit that would’ve loved to showcase real haute couture and show new trends in fashion. Unfortunately, they were somehow passed over for the chance during Walk 5. 

Walk 5 was better than the worst fashion show I’ve seen, which I blogged about in Fashion… Not Forward. However, Walk 5 was nothing compared to the many excellent fashion shows I’ve seen, including Fashion In Detroit. The stage and runway were very nice. Overall I give the whole event a 4 1/2 out of 10. At the end of the show, I couldn’t help but think that I had missed out on home cooked buffalo wings, (Cass Tech Alum) Big Sean and the MJ tribute at Bleu for this fuckery. The most exciting part of the night was when the fireworks went off at Comerica park and lit up the night sky.

This critique is all about the teachable moments in the show. It’s not meant to make anyone look bad, but instead point out areas of improvement to make the Walk Fashion Show better than it was and has been since its inception. It’s also a teachable moment for anyone aspiring to have a fashion show in the near future. We’re so easily pacified by mediocrity in Detroit that it really saddens me. If we keep supporting the mediocre, that’s all anyone will ever give us. And those of us that work hard to step up the game, never get recognized for it, because everyone wants the same thing they had before. To truly be successful, we have to be willing to get ahead of the curve instead of behind the eight ball. The way we do that is by being more creative and forward thinking, not by imitating what’s already been done. Walk 6 is scheduled for December 2012. Hopefully it will be indoors (huge bugs, the size of birds, swooped down at the audience at one point) and showcase something other than a lot of clothes people are already wearing.

~ When you know better you do better.

*The views of this blog are strictly those of Super Woman and not anyone else’s. You’re entitled to attend whichever events you’d like and formulate your own opinion about them. It is your money. However, at Super Woman Productions and Publishing, one of our goals is to provide higher quality events for those who prefer them. A model search is forthcoming for Sequins and Suits, on August 16, at Crave Lounge. The designer is Mark England* 

Pop Life

Everyone wants to be a celebrity. Unfortunately, many people are willing to do any and everything to get to that goal, except working hard for it. These same people often mistaken being famous for being popular and don’t understand the responsibility that comes with being a household name. They want the flash, bang and pop of celebrity status, but fail to recognize the sacrifices that are required and the expectations that people have. Most of the celebrities that exist, didn’t initially set out to become famous. Hard work and talent mixed with decisions, situations and opportunities resulted in the outcome of celebrity status. Many of them even regret being famous because they have lost their privacy, some relationships and have been under a microscope the entire time.

Being a celebrity was once a result of talent. Now it’s a result of over exposure and nudity, with a dash of who you’re sleeping with. It’s getting to be ridiculous. And it’s happening more and more. With all the reality television shows featuring women with no particular talent at the helm, earning million dollar checks because of the man they are connected to, being a celebrity is no longer what it once was. Being a celebrity has become too easy. Everyone is doing it…or trying to. From minor children posting videos of themselves fighting on YouTube and WorldStarHipHop.com, to adults fighting and bullying each other like children on television – everyone wants face time with lights, cameras and action. But no one wants to raise the bar, be accountable for their behavior and actions, or set a real, positive example for someone else to look up to. 

In entertainment, lately everyone wants to be the most popular kid in school, because it’s easier than being the kid who gets straight As. There are lots of women (in particular) taking their clothes off for money, bent over and spread eagle in an effort to become famous. There are many men who think their good looks don’t require that they have any skills and their goal is to become a 40 year old rapper. What happended to becoming educated, starting a business or becoming an inventor? Remember the most popular kid at your school? Where are they now? Remember the kid who got straight As? Where are they now? I bet if I did a poll of all the popular kids in school compared to all of the hard-working kids in school, the kids who worked hard and got good grades (even if they weren’t straight A students), probably have had the most longevity and success in their lives and careers. I’d bet money that the ratio would be staggering. The same holds true in the world of entertainment. Longevity requires hard work.  

Hard work trumps doing things the easy way any day. Everyone I know in entertainment has paid their dues. They studied under someone more experienced when they began, they practice their craft in between performances, they are constantly seeking to learn new things and about new developments in their field, they have a mentor in the industry, and most importantly, they don’t take any of it for granted. They have longevity, many awards and accolades, but are still humble. They are humble because they know what the fly-by-night-I-wanna-be-famous-because-I-don’t-have-anything-better-to-do-celebrity seekers don’t know.

Hard work pays off and lasts longer than anything else.

Reality television stars come and go. Tabloid talk shows are more about getting ratings for the show to remain on air. Very few people who are on these shows today will be around twenty years from now and still have us talking about them. The most many of them can hope for is to be featured on a “Where Are They Now” or “One Hit Wonder” thirty minute documentary on cable five to ten years from now. The desire to become a celebrity causes many people to resort to doing almost anything because they have stars in their eyes. Often people overlook the business side of the entertainment business. They jump in head first to accept the first offer that comes their way, completely clueless to how things actually work in the entertainment business. They have convinced themselves that how good they look is the deciding factor across the industry so they don’t work  to enhance their talent or skills. This opens up the door for opportunists and predators to walk right in.  

I’m going to use the following true story as an example of an attempt by a predator:

Recently a man, who has apparently been ogling over me online, sent me several messages telling me how beautiful he thinks I am. Each time, I either didn’t reply or I said ‘thank you’ and kept it moving. A compliment is just a compliment to me. A man giving me a compliment will never get more than a ‘thank you’ from me. Hearing “you’re so beautiful“, NEVER leads to an invitation to my bedroom because I hear it all the time. The next time I received a message from this man, he asked me to video chat with him. I told him ‘no‘ [sidenote: I don’t know him from a can of paint and he was begging. Begging is a very unattractive quality in a man to me, and it is a signal that a man is obsessive and even a potential stalker. I’m always leery of men who beg to see me and meet me. It’s creepy]. Then he escalated from asking me to video chat with him to asking me to make pornography with him. I’m so serious right now. Common sense would dictate that if I wouldn’t want to video chat with him, I also wouldn’t want to have sex with him or make pornography with him either. Alas, common sense is not common. 

At this point I know that this is his “line“.  Again, I told him ‘no‘ and went back to what I was doing, thinking he would give up. I was wrong. His next message said “I can make you a star. If you want to be a star I can pay you $10,000 and even get you in Playboy. You have the best body“. I fell out laughing at this point. Obviously, this idiot uses this fuckery yes, I said fuckery – on women regularly. He has no idea who I am, what I do and his only interest is in what I look like for the sake of his personal pleasure. He thinks that because I’m an attractive woman, that I’m desperate for his attention (or anyone’s) and that I need him to make me a star. I told him, “I’m already a star and you can’t do anything for me“. Then I used my blocking software to make sure he couldn’t contact me again.

Now, maybe this man’s “line” works on women without any self-esteem, who believe it necessary to objectify themselves at the request of a man in order to become “stars“, but I don’t allow anyone to pimp me, but ME. Anything using my image will be controlled by me. I don’t care who he claims he is, or what he claims he can do. I don’t care if he was President Obama, Hugh Hefner or Calvin Johnson. Ten thousand dollars is not enough money for me to sell out, lower my standards or objectify myself at the hands of any man. That’s the devil all day. Particularly when I know that my talents will make me a millionaire one day. Plus, let’s be honest, if he had the money or the connection, he would’ve approached me in a more professional and official capacity than sending me a message like that. He was just a creepy pervert looking for a woman to victimize. Unfortunately, the next woman he tries that “line” on, might actually fall for it and put herself in a compromising position to become a “star” because it’s easier than working towards it the right way. How do I know this to be true? I see it everyday. 

That’s why I decided to facilitate the Social Networking Etiquette and Safety Workshop at the I Feel Good: Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference on August 18, 2012 at H.Y.P.E. So that I could use some of my own experiences to teach women how to handle and avoid these types of situations. And encourage them to turn towards their talents, versus their physical appearance and who their man is as the only way to succeed in this world. My workshop won’t be just for the 11 to 18 years olds either. A lot of the women falling for the okey doke are grown women also. Being the next stripper turned basketball baby mama should not be a career goal of any woman. Being a forty-year old drug dealer turned rapper should not be a career goal of any man. If that is all a person has to aspire to in life, they need to reassess and refocus their life quickly or they will wake up and have wasted a lot of time and energy desperately seeking fame the easy way with minimal positive results. There’s more to life than being famous. God-given talents should be used productively and everyone has one. How you choose to use yours can make a difference in the quality of your life and those around you.  

Prince wrote “Pop Life” years ago, about the desires and disappointments that people feel when they seek fame and fortune the easy way, and the chorus alone still rings true today. 

Everybody needs a thrill
Pop life
We all got a space 2 fill
Pop life
Everybody can’t be on top
But life it aint real funky
Unless it’s got that pop

~ Becoming instantly famous has become the new hustle for those without talent. Many of whom are hustling backwards.  – Super Woman

 

My Super (Crazy) World

Some days I wake up and wonder what in the world is wrong with me. Why am I so driven and ambitious? Why do I try to make my best day better than the last? Why can’t I sit still and do nothing, even when I’m on vacation? Being super is a blessing and a curse. If you’ve been following the development and evolution of me and Super Woman Productions and Publishing, you probably either think I’m a genius or that I’m bipolar. I heard somewhere that being a genius isn’t far from being crazy. If that is true, I probably qualify.

Everyday presents a new opportunity in my life. Some of those opportunities are also coupled with challenges. And I’m not ashamed to tell you that since I’ve been in business, I have yet to make a profit. The part of me that serves a higher purpose doesn’t care too much. I know that my greatest commodity is my intellectual property and that as time and technology catch up to what I want to do, I’ll be able to do a lot more and make money at it. The part of me that has bills to pay, however, gets frustrated because my business isn’t showing a profit and obtaining financing from banks is impossible because my business is based on the creative process. Banks don’t invest in people, they invest in profit and loss statements. In spite of that, I’m always encouraged by others in entertainment and business who remind me that although I haven’t turned a profit yet, unlike some other businesses that have turned a profit in their first five years, I’m still in existence and I’m still growing. I’m told that because I’m growing slowly and paying my dues, my rewards will be more consistent and long-term than experienced by many other entrepreneurs. It’s also very encouraging when I hear Len Burnett Jr. from Uptown Media Group and Chris Genteel from Google, speak before a group of business professionals and entrepreneurs and list the things I’m already doing as things that entrepreneurs should be doing to market themselves to the public and become successful is this growing digital age.  

I’m also undereducated. Meaning, I don’t have a degree. In anything. But I’ve been to college. In fact, I was a straight A student and on the Dean’s List my last attempt to complete my degree in Business Management. I was also bored. After being employed in various businesses since I was 19 years old, and having been a business owner more than once myself, I knew everything that was being taught in the classes I was taking. On more than one occasion, my instructors would ask me why I was even there. My answer: I was told I had to come to this class to get that piece of paper called a degree. Well, I’m going back to school, again. This time I’m going to obtain my Bachelor degree in Digital Cinematography so that I can produce and direct the film and television projects that I write. I’ll get an honorary Bachelors in Business, one day. And if I don’t get my degree in business, it won’t limit me as much as it would in Corporate America. I’m not saying being educated isn’t important. I’m a huge champion for education and I believe it is a necessity. But not having a degree will not hinder a person as much if they have applicable skills, knowledge and experience in place of that degree.

This last year has already been an amazing experience for me, and it’s only half way in. Sometimes it has been exhausting. Sometimes it feels like it’s moving too fast, and I want more time in a day to do all the things I want and need to do. Sometimes I have wanted to throw the towel in and quit because it seems like it’s not moving fast enough. When I have those days, something usually happens that makes me change my mind. I get a phone call or an email from someone who seems really excited about meeting/talking to Super Woman. Or I’m out publicly and I’m recognized by someone and they refer to me as Super Woman. Or someone tells me how I’ve inspired, motivated or blessed them with my words or deeds. I like those days. Those are days of reassurance.

There are still thousands of people who have no idea that I exist or know what I do. I swear more than half of my Facebook friends only friend me because I’m pretty. If you asked them what I do, they couldn’t tell you if their lives depended on it. But that’s ok. Twenty years ago, everyone didn’t know who Oprah was right away either. Everyone didn’t like Wendy Williams when she started as a radio personality years ago. People thought Tyra Banks was just a pretty model and that she didn’t have the ability or brains to become the media mogul that she is now. We all have our hurdles to jump in order to get you, the public, to acknowledge and embrace us. It’s actually part of the job description when you work in entertainment.

Over the next year, I hope to give you all the opportunity to know more about me as a person and learn more about the Super Woman Brand. I also hope to gain your support in my endeavors and community outreach. I’m accepting many opportunities that are coming my way, which will allow this to occur. Although I fight tooth and nail to avoid being in front of the cameras, I don’t really have a choice. So when I’m in front of the camera, I’m going to make sure that I’m doing a good job. When I’m entertaining you, I want it to also be informative. If you see me when I’m in public, don’t be afraid to talk to me. I’m told I’ve very personable and I’m not as shy and introverted as I once was. I plan to also make you more aware of what I’m doing in different ways. However, it is best to subscribe to my newsletter so that you receive the information quicker than through social media. Please, don’t be afraid to share with other people. Forward my blog posts to your friends and relatives, trackback to them if you have your own website (just don’t plagiarise me because I have people who check for that) and follow me on social networks. I’m everywhere that you can imagine and in some places you haven’t heard of.

Here is a brief list of some of what is currently taking place in my Super (Crazy) World.

  • The Blaqe Rocket Blast Radio ShowEvery Friday 7 – 9 pm EST online at www.blogtalkradio.com/the_blaqe_rocket_blast 
  • Mission Small Business – Vote for Super Woman Productions and Publishing before June 30, 2012 so I can qualify to win the $250,000 Grant at www.missionsmallbusiness.com These funds will be used to fund media projects, hire and train people in media and increase community outreach initiatives like the upcoming I Feel Good: Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference.
  • #FabLife Apparel and Accessories – Coming to this website soon. I’m interested in retail partnerships, so if you own a boutique and you’d like to carry my line, please use the Contact Us page to reach out to me to schedule a meeting.
  • Super Video Blogs coming to the OfficialSuperWoman YouTube Channel beginning this week. Because time is becoming limited for me to write blogs, I’m starting quick video blogs that you can watch periodically that update you on my Super World.  
  • The Goodie Bag is almost sold out. There’s only about 15  paperback copies left. It will continue to be available in eBook and for Kindle (in 5 languages). Go to The Brand to buy.
  • Sequins & Suits is being held on Thursday August 16, 2012, 6 pm until midnight, at Crave Lounge in Dearborn, MI and the I Feel Good: Mind, Body & Soul Women’s Conference is being held at H.Y.P.E. Athletic Community on August 18. Tickets will go on sale for both very soon.   
  • I’ve been nominated for Crain’s 40 Under 40 and Who’s Who in Black Detroit – results are still pending. I feel honored to have been nominated for who I am and what I do.

I’m still interested in signing aspiring authors who want to become published. I’m also available to speak at various functions (in and outside of Detroit). If you need a keynote speaker, I’m your girl. Use the Contact Us page to reach me. My media kit will be available at this website soon and will list my rates for different services.

As you see, I’m increasingly busy. Busy is good and I’m not even half way done with everything. There are still many other projects and ventures taking place that I’m keeping under wraps until they are finalized. That way, you have something to look forward to – just like Christmas.

Thank you again for your support of Super Woman Productions and Publishing.

 

Come Back to the Future

I’m astounded by how many people are offended, angry or disapproving of Whole Foods coming to Midtown. I’m willing to bet some of these same people live in the suburbs and shop at the local WalMart (which is known for paying low wages to their employees and for age discrimination). Some of these are the same people who complain about the blight and abandoned buildings in the city, but will protest new construction going up. Many people seem to also believe that all people in Detroit are poor and can’t afford Whole Foods prices. These same people are debating that Whole Foods coming into the Midtown community will put the “mom-and-pop” stores out of business resulting in lost jobs. The existing grocery store in Midtown IS NOT a “mom-and-pop” owned store; it is a Spartan store with extremely high prices and very poor quality food.  Mom-and-pop grocery stores barely exist anymore, particularly in Midtown. And the next nearest grocery store is a Kroger in Grosse Pointe Woods.

People are also complaining about how much Whole Foods will receive in tax incentives.

NEWS FLASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nearly every large company operating in Downtown DETROIT receives tax incentives and the only ones not paying back into the community as much as they receive from it are the three existing CASINOS, that gross millions of dollars per day. That seems like it would be something for people to get angry about. Unfortunately, no one has really noticed.

Change is good and positive progress is even better. A suburb is only as strong as the city that it surrounds. If Detroit doesn’t grow and flourish, Metro Detroit suburbs won’t either. It’s time for us to stop living in the 1800’s. The reason we don’t have more economic opportunities in Detroit is because of many of these same narrow-minded complainers who don’t even live in the city limits, don’t want to embrace positive change for what it is, and they work extremely hard to prevent the change from occurring. Instead they prefer to dwell on all of the fictional problems that they expect the change to cause, without even thinking for one second that a company like Whole Foods has already possibly considered those and found solutions for them in advance.

So it’s ok for suburban neighborhoods to have grocery stores and the evil WalMart where everything is made in China, but it’s not okay to have a grocery store in Midtown?

While the complainers are steadily on the backs of Whole Foods, they overlooked additional growth taking place within the city – mostly because they are unable to multi-focus their complaints in more than one direction at the same time. That is actually a very good thing. It’s good because growth is under the radar for these complainers. Detroit is getting a Meijer store and “strip” mall at 8 Mile Road and Woodward opening in 2013.  Twitter (YES, TWITTER) and Chrysler are opening offices in downtown Detroit, not to mention the huge Olga’s Kitchen opening in the CompuWare building. Furthermore, Whole Foods has invested $1 Million to bring a non-traditional banking facility, that operates successfully in New York and California (with an impressively low minimal loan default ratio) to the city of Detroit that will help business owners fund their businesses and projects when the existing traditional banks deny them lines of credit.

Did you catch that?

Whole Foods is already making a positive change to help the city business owners and they just broke ground this month. 

All the nasty, bigoted, elitist comments being made on news posts and blogs are utterly ridiculous and extremely exaggerated. People are constantly saying that people residing in Midtown can only grocery shop with bridge cards and can’t afford Whole Foods. Guess what? Midtown Detroit has more doctors, nurses and professionals residing there than reside in Palmer Park and Boston Edison. The average household income in Midtown is over $100,000 per year. There’s also less crime in that part of the city thanks in large part to Wayne State University Police who patrol the entire area.

I commented on articles written by Detroit Free Press and Huffington Post Detroit because I was so surprised at all the negativity. This just reiterates what I said in my previous blog I Get It…I Really Do, about the negative mindsets of people living in Detroit.

I think that people residing in the suburbs who are against Whole Foods coming to Detroit are narrow minded…and negative. If they believe that Whole Foods is that bad for the City, they should have been more involved in getting a grocery that they find acceptable opened in the area. But it’s likely that they didn’t do so because it doesn’t directly impact them because they live in the suburbs and don’t see a correlation between them and the city. If Whole Foods does well (which I’m more than positive they will) and people become employed long-term as a result, and the neighborhood and residents benefit, those same individuals will probably still have something negative to say about it.
 
I urge Detroiters to back away from dark ages and come back to the future. It’s really nice there; if given the chance to develop. 

I Get It…I Really Do…

I’ve come to realize that Detroiters have a mindset unlike many other urban areas. The mindset that Detroiters have is one that says that Detroit is the only place on Earth where there are difficulties – in the school systems, in the economy and in the workforce.

That mindset is untrue.

However, that mindset permeates throughout the community, regardless of how many times we see other urban school districts show their educational issues or hear about how many absentee fathers there are in other cities, or see other people talking about how difficult it is for them to pay bills and buy groceries. Detroiters still believe they stand out and alone in every area. To a degree, we do. But we don’t. We have the same identical issues that almost every other urban area in the United States has. We really do. The difference is that we don’t use the same mechanisms they use to change our situation here. We think we’re SO different from everyone else that what has been done somewhere else, just won’t work here, without even trying it first. That’s what keeps us separate and unequal.

Detroit doesn’t TRY to make changes using the examples set by leaders in other urban cities to change the way things are in Detroit. Detroiters don’t like change. They like to complain. Detroiters don’t believe in tearing down buildings to rebuild. They just build new buildings next to the old ones. Detroiters don’t like to try anything new. Detroiters just seem to like doing the same things the same way, over and over again.  

Fear of CHANGE holds us hostage in Detroit more than anything else does. And excuse making is holding the gun to our heads.

Although I am the first to admit that we do have issues, including the lack of reliable mass transportation that other urban areas do have, I get tired of people who live in Detroit complaining about what we don’t have instead of using what we do have to make things better. The idea that we don’t have successful people living, working and contributing in Detroit is why magazines like UPTOWN, which prints a monthly Detroit edition, only has about 4 pages in it about Detroit. As a publishing company I’m sure they are thinking ‘Why print it if no one cares?‘  As a businesswoman, I see their point of view. As a writer, I want a freelance job to prove them wrong and showcase my own talents.   

Entrepreneurs often have a difficult time using the ‘if you build it, they will come’ model of business ingenuity when it comes to Detroit.  There are so many people who live here, yet they don’t know what’s going on in the city, who people in the city are or what the city has to offer. However, other people move here from other cities, and countries, open businesses, become successful and talk about the opportunities the city has to offer like this city was built yesterday. 

Why is it that people outside Detroit see the potential in the city, but people who live here don’t?  I think that is a large part of all of the issues. If you live here, but don’t know what good there is here, how can you take advantage of it? That, of course, is rhetorical.

Detroiters complain about the school systems and that children aren’t receiving quality educations. Yet Detroiters don’t use head start programs for their children or build an educational and disciplinary foundation at home so teachers don’t have to be wardens and teachers for eight hours everyday. Teachers in DPS are some of the most underpaid and over qualified teachers in comparison to other school districts and charter and private schools. Detroiters complain about the lack of jobs. But when companies open locations in downtown Detroit and hire, they don’t apply because they don’t want to work downtown. Or people won’t seek and attend job training for jobs that are available because they want to stick to building cars. Detroiters complain that there aren’t any upscale venues to go to dine or be entertained, but when upscale venues open, they don’t support them. Then they complain when the venues close.

Detroiters are so hard to please.

No city is an island or the epitome of all-inclusive. I travel because I like to see what other cities have or don’t. I like the experience of something different from what I’m exposed to in Detroit on a daily basis. As a result, I see the differences and still appreciate what Detroit has to a degree that I don’t think many other people do. But I’m just one person. I vote, I’m involved in the community, I stand up and fight when necessary against the things I see that are wrong on behalf of others regularly. But I’m just one person who is trying to set an example that I hope someone else will continue one day. Yes, I get it…I really do. Detroit has its problems; education, transportation, economic and societal. But Detroit’s biggest problem is the people within the boundaries of it and how we see the city as a separate entity, independent from its citizens,  instead of as a result of what we don’t do to make it better.

Detroit makes you want to quit. In my travels I’ve experienced different types of events, venues, locations, and attractions. I would love to bring the new hotness here for people to enjoy. But just like everything else that is new, it takes Detroiters a long time to embrace it… or even notice it for that matter. By the time Detroit knows about something, it’s already extinct in other cities. Sometimes I feel like we’re the only city in the world moving backwards instead of forwards. I understand why creative people feel the need to leave the city. I get it…I really do. Thanks to the encouragement of my team, who worked so hard, I’m going to try, just a few more times to see if I can bring Detroit forward. I decided to press ahead with Sequins & Suits and coordinate it with the I Feel Good: Mind, Body & Soul Women’s Conference in August of this year. I’m changing venues, and eliminating the bad business relationships and bringing in people who want to partner and produce something positive, new and necessary.

BUT I’m not going to keep giving Detroiters chances to disappointment me over and over. Much like J. Dilla, I can take my talents elsewhere and leave a mark as a legend. I have those options and other cities love creative people with fresh ideas and approaches – particularly ones that can become financially lucrative.  And it doesn’t hurt that I’m pretty. So even if Detroit doesn’t believe in Super Woman, somewhere else definitely will. I’m going to do what I said I would, and hold to my commitments, because that is how I am. But Detroit needs to show up or there won’t be anymore Super Events held here.

♦ Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.  – Proverb