So, I love this business success story told to me by one of my high school classmates, Rhonda Willingham. I interviewed her a few months ago for the Flint Courier newspaper. I’m reposting the article here as an encouraging word for anyone hoping to start a business. If God allows you to see a need in your community, family, church or wherever your travels may take you, that could very well be the opportunity for which you’ve been waiting. God never gives us a bad or wrong idea. When it comes to business ideas, He is the Master. Trust Him, and move forward in faith.
Sista Girl Greeting Cards: A True Model for Business Success
Find a need and solve it. That’s the advice often given to aspiring entrepreneurs. The most successful businesses solve problems and provide much-needed services to the community. Seasoned business leaders frequently attribute such a strategy as being one of the keys to their success. A perfect example is Sista Girl greeting cards. Rhonda Willingham, a Flint native, is the founder and creative force behind the line, which she launched after discovering a void in the marketplace.
“I was working on a thesis for my master’s degree. After completing a series of surveys and interviews with successful black businesswomen, I wanted to thank them for their time,” said Willingham. “The women told me that their faith in God is what fueled their ambition and made the difference in their careers. They were excelling in fields dominated by white males. I felt a genuine connection with them. They were smart, classy and thoughtful women. To show my appreciation for their help with my project, I wanted to send a thank-you card that reflected who they were to me as women and top business professionals,” she said.
Willingham searched local retailers but couldn’t find cards that she believed were appropriate or even nearly reflected the dynamic women she had connect with during her research. She settled on basic book markers and sent those instead. Willingham said that experience planted a seed in her heart. Several years later she decided to launch Culturally Yours with Sista Girl greeting cards as the flagship product.
“I started creating what I didn’t see. When I started the company some of my first customers where white males. They bought the cards to frame and display in their office. The company has evolved and today we’re also producing calendars, journals, t-shirts, and even coloring books, which we just launched last year,” Willingham said.
Sista Girl greeting cards are hand-crafted using fabric and other specialty materials. Custom orders are also available. Willingham said the cards have been purchased by a diverse client base, including leading influencers in the business and entertainment industry.
“I’ve had women hug me and thank me for creating something that looks like them. From a spiritual aspect those moments are affirming. God is the author and creator. The cards are a reflection of what God has poured into me. It’s not just a Black woman thing. It’s a woman thing,” Willingham said.