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Side Hustler Corner with Terrance

Very excited to sit down with you. We know you have a busy schedule juggling many hats so I appreciate you taking the time. To start off, let’s focus on the basic three “W’s” for those that may not know you; Who are you? Where are you from (born)? What do you do? 

(T) My name is Terrance Woolford but I go by Eazy Denim and I am from West Philadelphia. I’m a thrifter, reseller, and artist who has found a way to combine all three into one creative genre.

How did you come up with the idea or concept on blending the three into one? What brought on the lightbulb moment? (Reseller, Thrifter, Artist) 

(T) The concept started back when I used to paint the heart pins for Heartbrkers. There was a thrift store located around the corner from the art studio we had in 2013 where all adult clothing cost $1 and all children’s clothing cost $0.50. I remember going in there and buying items such as jeans, belts, and handbags which I would cut up and glue onto pins. I released 20 pins and called it the Thrift Store Collection.  That wasn’t enough, however, and in the back of my mind I knew that I eventually wanted to create larger art pieces. Thankfully I was able to do so in 2018.

What does your business represent?

(T) My business represents taking things that others may view as useless and turning them into masterpieces. I started and came from nothing but have been able to turn my life and vision into what it is today. Hence my business motto: If there isn’t a way you have to make a way and make sure it’s loud enough to be heard without you having to speak; all action.

That’s powerful, man - Actions and energy definitely speak louder than words! Speaking about representation, what does being Black mean to you? 

(T) This is a deep question. To me, being black is the best thing on earth. It’s beautiful. It’s expressive. It’s loving. It’s passionate. It’s the closest thing to God. It’s also overcoming not only stereotypes of who/what they said you’re supposed to be but also rising above certain circumstances such as poverty. Lack of resources. Failing education systems. The streets. Ancestral plight. It’s a lifelong battle being black.

What would you define as past vs. current battles being black? 

(T) Back then we were physically enslaved by chains and fear. Today we’re physically free but mentally enslaved by chains and fear. Same cycle.

That, it is. It’s crazy that in 2019 we are still facing the same hardships and injustices but definitely feeling the shift within the community for all of us to grow collectively. What does the word “community” mean to you? 

(T) Community is not only the place you come from or the place that raised you. It is also the change you want around you and the place you want to leave behind. We should seek to bring value to our community through the gifts, talents, resources, and knowledge we’ve acquired along the way. Be a living example. Be the change.

Sharing the gems of our journey is important. But some things we do not seem to share is the hardship of that same journey. What are the struggles that come with building your business?

(T) There’s too many to count but in every struggle, I have found a valuable lesson to be learned and applied in order to overcome future obstacles. With the power of the internet, books, YouTube, and seminars, there’s an answer to every question and an expert sharing their experience. We just have to tap into it.

What current struggles are you trying to overcome in your business? 

(T) Current struggles would be sitting down and mapping out definitive goals/plans and executing accordingly. A part of me likes to move in the direction that feels right but a part of me knows I need a clear direction; I’ll figure it out.

*Laughs* One day we all will. That reminds me of pure adulthood and figuring life out. Which brings us to our next question. What does being a man in today's society mean to you?

(T) Another life long journey for me is discovering what it means to be a man. Most prominently since having my son and having been raised by a single mother. There are some things we grew up on that work and some things that are simply outdated. As a man you just have to find out what your values, principles, purpose, and mission are and let that guide you. It is also about being open enough to make changes along the way. We’re gonna make mistakes. It’s human.

What lessons do you want to instill in your son as a father, entrepreneur, and as a black man in today's society, that you either learned or wished you knew? 

(T) You have to stand on your ten toes at all times. Nobody is coming to help you. Nobody is going to walk up to your door and hand you the life you want to live. Life doesn’t work like that. You have to get out there and get after it. Make sure that whatever it is you’re doing it for the right reasons. Most people want the money or the look or the attention or the praise for things that they’re not 100% passionate about or just because they see others doing it. Money is the result of your hard work and effort, but shouldn’t be your reason and only motivation. The money will come. That’s the easy part when what you’re doing is meant for you. Make sure you stay true to your vision, have a solid foundation and real purpose for whatever it is you do. There will be ugly moments in your life and in your business to test how badly you really want it and if it is not truly for you then that’ll be the moment you’ll give up.

Man...That was good. I felt like someone needed to hear that today. (That someone is me, LOL). What was your motivation and inspiration to take your upbringing and where you came from to where you are today? 

(T) I’ve always been inspired by black-owned businesses. Having friends or hearing stories of people owning auto shops, restaurants or daycares always inspired me. Even people who wanted to make a couple of extra bucks by selling water ice and candy off their front porch was dope to me.  Not really having anybody in my family really into entrepreneurship made me want to be the example. I’ve seen many businesses emerge on the internet so I knew that there was a 24/7 opportunity to make money with the right product and consumer base. Lastly, having my son and knowing he’s looking up to me, as well as the next generation gives me the motivation to succeed in whatever I put my mind to. My motto is “I want to be the coach that played in the game” so when he comes to me for advice or knowledge about a business it won’t be from “what I think” or “what I heard” but from “what I’ve learned” through my experience.  

How does one keep inspiring to be the change we want the community to have when stories like Nipsey Hussle being robbed from us still remains relevant? 
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(T) Nipsey was a special individual who overtime changed his mentality, tapped into his higher consciousness, and obeyed what was in his heart. We feel his presence after death, even from people who weren’t tuned into him musically because he represented hope and real change in the most genuine and relatable way. My advice is this…we all have the potential to tap into our higher selves if we allow ourselves to shut the outside world and go deep within ourselves. I definitely feel we will see more people continue the marathon he started.

#TheMarathonContinues. He was very proud and invested in the city he was from and I know a lot of Philadelphians feel the same way. What does being from Philadelphia mean to you? 

(T) Being born and raised in Philadelphia I still think this is an amazing city till this day. I’m seeing a city striving to compete with other major cities. Over the past 10 years, it’s dope to see how progressive Philly has become with more events, activities,  spaces, and neighborhood growth. It is on the rise, culturally. Whatever you want from this city, it has a place that offers what you’re looking for.

Are you fearful about the idea that gentrification might take away from the culture that has already been established there?  

(T) Yes... I am afraid of gentrification interfering with our neighborhoods. It sucks because I love architecture, condos, lofts, spacious living, and modern design. All I watch is HGTV. My old high school, West Philadelphia High, has been turned into condominiums. It’s tough. Houses weren’t designed to last thousands of years. A good 100 years or so at max. The world is forever evolving and forever changing. Especially at an even more rapid rate now than ever before. Idk - I don’t have the answers. Just find a way to get into a position of self-empowerment where you give yourself a chance and more options.  

Appreciate you! Let’s end it with our Wordplay segment. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear these words?

Culture -- Black Culture.

Influencer -- Real Responsibility.

Ambassador -- Nipsey.

Meek Mill -- Philly to the core. Voice of the streets. Living example.

Philadelphia -- Home.

Entrepreneur -- It’s The Only Way. Nobody can tell you how much your time is worth because it’s priceless. Might as well get compensated for your ideas.

Side Hustler -- The more the better.

Art -- Everything is art.

Self Made -- Cool catchphrase. Even cooler if it’s true to you.  

Creatives -- We all have the ability to create. Go create something.

Fatherhood -- The best thing ever.

Black -- All I know. A Precious gift.

Minority -- “Wealth is of the heart and mind, not the pocket” - Pharrell. It starts with the mindset.

Unconventional -- There’s no a,b,c, step by step cookie cutter path to success. You have to be willing to be the first one to create the path where there once stood no footprints.

Underdog -- Your time will come. Stay the course.

Millennial -- Huge advantage.

Business -- A lot of people want to quit their job, start their own business and become their own boss. I read when you're starting a business “every client is your boss”. Also when you start a business you clock-in one time and never clock out. 24/7 lifestyle. Are you built for that?

You can follow terrance on Instagram @eazy_denim

Side Hustler Corner with Amber

Very excited to sit down with you! I know you have a busy schedule juggling many hats so we always like to start off with the basics three W’s for those that may not know you. 
Who are you? Where are you from (born)? And what do you do?  

My name is Amber Mayfield and I am an Event Planner. My events company is called One Nineteen Events and I am the Founder of a pop-up dinner series called TO BE HOSTED. I am originally from Rockland County, New York and currently based in Brooklyn.

What does your business represent? 

When I started TO BE HOSTED in 2017, I wanted to create an experience for young professionals and creatives to connect and fellowship in a comfortable space. I make these spaces comfortable by bringing in delicious food, wines, live music, and art. Then, I seat everyone based on their shared interests or life goals (to help break the ice of dining with strangers). In bringing these like-minded people together so intentionally, TO BE HOSTED also became a platform for multicultural chefs, artists and musicians. So for me, TO BE HOSTED represents how magical it is when you get the right people in the right places. I use this same highly personal, diligently curated approach to events in planning for One Nineteen Events clients, as well.

How do you determine or find specific information about your TO BE HOSTED Dinner Series attendees before each event?

We have a TO BE HOSTED diner profile on our website. We use that information to learn about our guests and figure out who they might enjoy sitting next to at dinner.

Although these experiences are magical, we know not everything is magical when it comes to building a business. What are the struggles that come with building One Nineteen Events and the TO BE HOSTED Dinner Series? 

For me the biggest struggle is scale and marketing. My dinner experiences are very intimate, I only host about 20-30 people at a time a few times a year. So I am constantly torn between wanting to do the mass market flashy Instagram stuff and wanting to focus on just producing really great events. Like they say "if there is no photo it didn't happen," but if my guests want to be on their phone all night that is also not a win for me because I want them to be engaged with the people and the experience that's IRL.

Besides marketing, scaling the business in general is a struggle. Right now I am the CEO, the event producer, the new business account specialist, the entire finance department and administrative assistant (lol). So having everything organized and streamlined enough to keep up with myself and all my events is a challenge I am continuing to chip away at!

What are the joys that come with building your business? 

So many joys! Of course there is the joy of happy customers and clients after my events that make everything worth it. Then, on the day to day you have those small victories: learning a new software, pitching an idea your client loves or just organizing your desktop. Because it's for your business, every little thing becomes this joyous reminder like "hey, you can do this!"

Yes you can and you are! What do you do to celebrate those wins, big or small? 

Oh no over the top celebrating for me. I just do a little happy dance in my apartment (or wherever my makeshift office is that day), give the glory to God and keep it pushing. And then sometimes I have chocolate cake because why not?

That is so precious! Now let’s switch gears a bit. What does being Black mean to you? 

Everything. We are a people so rich in history and culture, it is sometimes hard to fathom all the complexities. And to be so uniquely positioned for triumph and resilience, it makes me sad, mad, happy and motivated all in the same breath.

Dope! Now, what does being a Woman mean to you? 

Well there's a loaded question. It depends on the day, but on most days, and especially as a black woman, it means I can do anything.

Interesting that you stated it depends on the day; Can we dive deeper into that statement and  discuss what that could mean on other days? And to take it one step further, what does being a black woman mean to you?

Well on "other" days I think being a woman is a little annoying to be honest. I wouldn't trade teams or anything, but sometimes I think our society is so unforgiving of women. We just deal with a lot of unnecessary pressures to be the ideal woman and subscribe to different gender expectations. Those expectations seem to double when it comes to black women. For me, there is immense responsibility in being a black woman because all eyes are really on us, and those eyes are very critical. They want to know how do we speak, what do we wear, how do we do our hair, what are we up to, so I try to just give them something to marvel about.

We had an overwhelming amount of love, it feels like, this past International Women's Day  especially from Black Men. Would you agree that you noticed a shift this year? If so, what do you think attributed to the shift? If not, why?  

I think there is a rumbling, not yet a roar, but at least a rumbling of more men being conscious of the black woman's narrative. I'm particularly fortunate in that the men who surround me seem to get it when it comes to different women's rights and social issues. I think we are moving toward a place where we will have more of our black males in a position to listen, and that's when things will really get interesting.

That is super important as well as making sure we are having the conversation with our allies to ensure they do understand the “black woman’s narrative” - I think it essentially helps in these liberal metro cities. Which brings me to my next question;  What does being in New York/Brooklyn mean to you?

I am from the suburbs so growing up, New York City had this glow. When I would think about my adult life and my career, I would always say, "I'm going to live in the city, be a powerful publicist and have a super cute, industrial-looking duplex loft in DUMBO." Now obviously this statement had to evolve a bit once I got older and learned about the rent here, but New York City was always the setting for me. I'm past the honeymoon phase with this city, especially in becoming a freelancer and a business owner here, so I know for certain I am in the right place.

Do you think you are going to stay in New York or are you looking for another challenge in another city? 

HA! I'm New York or Nowhere. I'm open to traveling for client events and pop-up dinners in other cities for sure, but I'll always have a home in New York.

As we are starting to close out, what are some tips or tricks you are starting to learn about organizing yourself that you could share with someone starting out, especially if they are still balancing a 9-5 job? 

Folders and Files and Guidelines. Even if you are a one person show right now, the goal is to not be that way forever. So everything you do should begin with a  process you have written down or a template of some sort that if you were to hire someone tomorrow, they could follow along and get the job done. If you treat yourself like a full business from the beginning, you won't feel like you are playing catch up once the customers and clients really start flowing in.

You are just dropping so many insightful gems - Thank You! Now, let’s have a little fun with word play. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear these words? 

Culture -- Is everything

Influencer -- Overused

Ambassador -- A glorified influencer

Michelle Obama -- QUEEN

New York -- Home

Entrepreneur -- Me

Side Hustler -- God bless 'em

Dinner -- My kind of self care

Self Made -- The goal

Creatives -- Pay them!

Events -- My love

Black -- My people

Minority -- The clique

unconventional -- Seek it

Underdog -- Me

Millennial -- We are what we are

Business -- Support your local businesses!

You can follow Amber @ambb_may on Instagram or visit www.tobehosted.com to learn more