Have you ever experienced a life-changing trip or experience a trip abroad? This is what happened to Lea on a trip to Cape Verde in 2017. Her amazing experience inspired her to start first a blog and then create a shop of accessories that supports local markets around the world.
In today’s post, we’ll talk about her experiences, her lessons learned, as well as, the experience of having her own business as a woman of color.
How did you start Blake and Rose?
Blake and Rose was born after taking my first solo trip to Cape Verde in 2017. It was initially a blog where I shared the best things to do, where to stay, and eat when traveling. However, after a few months, I felt myself being bored with the content and pulling away from it fully. In 2019, I re-examined what I really wanted Blake and Rose to be. I knew I wanted to continue to encourage people to have authentic travel experiences and was looking for ways to incorporate this into my mission with the skills I already possessed. So, I started working towards launching my first group tour to Morocco for Fall 2020 and looking for a way to use my years of experience in accessories production. I decided to pour my energy into creating a shop of accessories from markets around the world. Then the rise of COVID started it has completely halted the travel industry.
We know your brand is all about culture, experiences, and travel, how does it connect with your personal story?
It connects because I'm a living embodiment of culture and authentic travel experiences. I love to travel in ways that allow me to get a feel for a region through their cultures, cuisines, and industries. Travel is a real privilege that I do not take for granted. What better way to honor and share that with others than to show them how I travel and encourage you to do so in a way that makes you a more informed being on this planet. In my opinion, there is no better way to travel.
What's the thing you love the most about traveling?
I really like flying. It's the excitement of heading to a new or favorite destination, and the unknown of what could happen that create the lasting memories you will share forever. I don't completely plan out any trip. I always leave open time to just go with the flow for what feels right. I've made some wonderful connections with people that I still hold on to this day.
What destination do you think represents the essence of Blake and Rose?
I don't think there is one particular destination, as the essence of Blake and Rose is in all the destinations I visit. I love Morocco for its versatility you can go from bustling city to desert, to beach all within the same region. Then there's London, one of my favorite cities (I studied abroad there in 2010) which has the best vintage markets, social scene, and world cuisines all in one location. There are too many more to mention, but every place I visit represents the authenticity of travel I encourage everyone to experience.
What's the most empowering thing about having your own business?
The most empowering thing about launching this business is the opportunity to be my own boss. It's still in the very early stages, but I understand what having equity and ownership in something which you can call your own can do for the life I want to live.
What inspires you to keep up with your business, even with all the uncertainty we've been living this year?
Whew!!! This year has definitely been interesting. My business keeps my eye on the prize with everything happening this year. I still need to continue to feed my purpose. It's my sanity in a world of total chaos at the moment. We are never going back to the way things were, and I am OK with that. The way we were living was not healthy mentally, financially, or for the planet. So when the new normal starts taking off, I'll be here still providing global products and even taking people on trips showing them how to travel authentically.
What's your advice for women of color that want to start their own businesses?
My mantra for life is "You get to create the life you want", and I truly believe that. It's going to take becoming uncomfortable and changing the way you're used to doing things. You are fully in control of how you want to live your life. So often society has created this narrative of milestones you're supposed to hit as a woman, especially as women of color. Do not compare yourself to the next woman, everyone has their own path, and its OK if you didn't figure it out until you were 35. That was your path!
Shop and Visit Blake and Rose Here
Follow Blake and Rose on IG Here
Interview by: Mimi Alas @lifewithmims