A sit down with a Side Hustler turned Entrepreneur
We sat down with Joy McCants, Head Organista and Founder of The Organized Black Girl and we have a good one in store for you!
First and foremost, thank you for giving us your time. We know time is money so we are super appreciative. Let’s get to know a bit about you personally first with our basic three W’s for those who may not know you.
Q: Who are you? Where are you from (born)? And what do you do?
Joy: My name is Joy McCants and I’m a 27 year old boss in the making. I was born, raised, and currently living in Harlem, New York. During the day I am a Recruiting Coordinator at a start up that has raised over $150 million thus far and at night I’m an entrepreneur trying to learn and position myself to raise $150 million myself one day.
Q: Speaking of Harlem, how do you feel about the gentrification that has taken over Harlem in the past 15-20 years and how has it helped or hinder where you are today?
Joy: I have a love hate relationship with gentrification in Harlem. On one hand it’s awesome that there are so many new businesses in the community that hire young black and brown people, giving them the opportunity to work and gain experience and skills. On the other hand, we as Harlemites and people of color have no stake in the claim of the real estate transactions that are happening in our communities and we have no one advocating for us. So people whose roots stem from years of generations that were born and raised in this community are being pushed out and that is the part that I hate. Gentrification has definitely helped motivate me to get my coins up, buy up some land (hopefully on Strivers Row one day), and create affordable housing solutions for people.
Strivers Row?! #Goals. We echo your sentiments! Lol.
Q: We first met you about 3 years ago when you were hired to work at The Style Marc. Since then, we’ve seen you blossom into The Organized Black Girl. How would you describe your growth from an Event Manager to a boss?
Joy: Whoa this is a loaded question, LOL. I believe that being a boss has always been inside of me. I remember when I graduated from 6th grade we had to give speeches on what we wanted to be when we grew up and I wanted to have my own business. Entrepreneurship is my God given calling and I am now on the brink of becoming ready to walk in it. I think all roads, even working at The Style Marc, has been leading me to this moment.
This is the first time I’m sharing where The Organized Black Girl originated; WOW. I’ve always been obsessed with cute planners and journals for as long as I can remember. In the summer of 2018, I was in North Carolina visiting family. As we started looking through old photos, I heard a voice say planners and journals. I know it was God dropping this idea into my spirit and a few days later the name, “The Organized Black Girl” popped into my head - I knew this was it. I’m still in the beginning stages of launching this brand but it has truly been so much fun thus far and I’m excited to see it grow into a leading stationary business and brand.
Q: That’s deep. As entrepreneurs it’s often difficult to explain the “voices” in our head but this was great! Though The Organized Black Girl is in it’s infancy stage, you have garnered a fast and loyal following on social media in a short period of time. What is it about The Organized Black Girl that people love?
Joy: One of the things that has really worked well for me has been how niche of a market the planner community is. I try to find and create content that is inspiring, funny, and motivating to get people excited when they see me on their feed. Also, the people of color in this community are really waiting to see one of us rise to a level that hasn’t been reached yet and why not me? The Organized Black Girl transcends racial lines but will always be about African American empowerment and progression.
Q: Interesting way to put it. I think many people know that Social Media is a great marketing tool but don’t know how to effectively use it. Did you put together a marketing plan before launching your brand?
Joy: I did not but I wish I would have! I’ve taken free courses on social media and have the gist of finding hashtags and have an idea of when to post throughout the day. Creating content and a abiding by a schedule is so important to being consistent and growing your following. If things are planned out, you’re more likely to stick to it and show up every day. I am learning more about marketing because social media is one way to reach your audience but not the only way. Something that has been very helpful and a bit of advice for y’all is to watch YouTube videos about how to build an audience on social media. These have been great for my and my brand and I can now confidently show up everyday!
Q: You mentioned that your brand will always be about “African American Empowerment”. How receptive to your brand do you think the community will be? You’re essentially competing with neutral brands sold at Staples so what makes you different?
Joy: I think people will be very receptive to it. I truly believe African American people are looking for brands and businesses that celebrate our culture and us as a people and I think that is what will differentiate me from the rest. Speaking on that and to put it simple, you can have the same recipe as me but the sauce won’t be the same. There is going to be so much thought put into packaging, quality, and the overall experience of anything with our logo on it that you will know this is not your average staples product.
Q: During the day, you work with a recruiting brand that has raised over 150 Million and you wish to do the same for your brand. Are you opposed to crowdfunding strategies to reach your financial goals?
Joy: I’m not opposed to it, I just haven’t found a viable solution/platform to raise money where the majority of the money comes directly to me. Let me know if y’all have thoughts/experiences in this! Help a sistah out!
Q: Switching gears a bit…We just wrapped an important campaign revolving around Mental Health Awareness. How does Joy stay mentally fit to work a 9-5 and run a 5-9 business?
Joy: Earlier I mentioned hearing the voice of God. As a Christian, a lot of how I manage stress revolves around my relationship with Christ. I pray, I have a bomb support system (shout out to my momma), and I try not to be so hard on myself. As someone who has been depressed in different seasons of my life, I’m learning to just be as content as I can where I am while working towards my goals. Sometimes I feel like we get so overwhelmed with being busy and getting to the bag that we drive ourselves up a wall and burn out. Now, I do think therapy is amazing and I encourage anyone who feels like they need professional help to seek it out. Gone are the days of mental health having a negative stigma in our communities. We need you to be your best self because the world is waiting for what you have to offer so take care of that mind!
Preach! Catherine and Felix recently held a mental health panel for Daze Summit and we’re overwhelmed by the receptive attitude of our audience. It was truly magical.
Q: Faith is very important to many and dictates how we go about our lives. How do you balance your religious beliefs with some of the more progressive views that are highly visible in today’s society, some of which may rival your beliefs?
Joy: I think at the core, God is love; and through that lens is how I live. I’m not called to judge someone for their lives and decisions but called to love my neighbor as I love myself in hopes that you’ll see God’s light and power through my life. Now, I do stand strong in my convictions and I’m not going to waiver because society may disagree. But I know that with respect and love we can have real authentic conversations and relationships.
Q: What advice do you have for the 20 year old you and what would you do differently of anything?
Joy: I would tell her not to worry about these cornball dudes and focus on figuring out what she enjoys and what excites her. Be patient, let God do what only he can and work your butt off.
Q: What advice do you have for any young black girls and boys from Harlem that are looking to find their way in the world we live in today?
Joy: That dream that keeps you up at night that you know people will think you’re crazy for even thinking that way but you feel like if you don’t try you’ll live with regret - GO FOR IT. The world is so much bigger than Harlem and the hood. Read more, find a mentor, and ignore those who have yet to open their minds to the fact that the world is really bigger than the small portion of where you currently are.
This was great and def gave us more of an insight on who you are and what your brand represents!
Okay let’s end on a lighter note and do a quick round of Word Play. First thing that comes to mind when you read or hear the following:
Culture - Powerful
Influencer - World Shaper
Ambassador - Loyalty
Trump - Cheeto
New York - Fast
Entrepreneur - Calling
Side Hustle - Lifesaver
Self Made - Success
Creative - A Lifestyle
Vibes - Litty
Unconventional - Trendsetter
Underdog - CEO
Diversity - Wealth
Organized - A Necessity
Black - EXCELLENCE
Girl - Power