Who’s That BOSS: K.C. Washington
K.C. Washington is a novelist with a background in journalism as well as literary and historical fiction. Based in New York City, she spends her time building her online black pinup girl-themed gift company, traveling, writing, trying new restaurants, loving her dog and cat, and exploring all things Big Apple.
Take a look at how this creative entrepreneur turned her love for literary into a successful business.
The BOSS Network: Walk us through your journey to success. How did you get to this point?
K.C. Washington: The journey of my success is paved with deep breaths. I am a little O.C.D., a little bit of a worrier, but once I decided to create my online gift store Noir A-Go Go, I realized early on that I couldn’t control everything, that all I can do is lay a solid foundation, make sure everything I can do I’ve done and then take a deep breath and step back.
After each task, from getting my business license and setting up my website, to finding an artist and designing the products, I allowed myself a couple of days to breathe, to not think, to not panic. It makes everything feel a little smaller, more manageable.
TBN: What do you do to stay on top of your game professionally?
KCW: To stay on top of my game professionally, I diligently do my paperwork and update all my files at the end of each month so that if any questions or problems arise I don’t have to spend valuable time searching for the needed information. I make sure my social and print media are on point and active and I strategically support others, even if they are the competition because competition only makes you stronger and there is room for all of us.
I also attend conventions such as the Black Enterprise Small Business Conference and tradeshows like the New York City International Gift Show so that I keep abreast of the latest trends. My goal is always to be leading not following.
TBN: How do you balance your personal life with your professional?
KCW: As a single woman with no children who works from home, I am fortunate to not have to worry about juggling or choosing between quality time with my kids or man and quality time spent building a thriving business. As a writer, what I do have to balance is work, the business, and finding the time to work on my new Harlow Ophelia Jackson mystery series set in 1926 Harlem.
My day job as a bartender allows me plenty of freedom to run Noir A Go Go. The only rough patches are when I have to do a full day at a market or expo and then pour drinks until four in the morning! When I do need to juggle, I do it like I do everything else: with a list! I am a compulsive list-maker. If I don’t write it down, it’s like it never happened.
TBN: What advice would give to a budding entrepreneur?
KCW: Please refer back to question number one! Basically, do your research, ask questions, know your market, believe in your products but know when to let go of what isn’t working, and then breathe. Also, make friends with other women. When we help one another, we help ourselves.
TBN: What does being a BOSS mean to you?
Being a BOSS to me means integrity, strength, support, a willingness to do the work, faith and sisterhood.
TBN: What does your personal and professional brand mean to you?
KCW: My personal brand is the same as my company brand. I launched my black pinup girl-themed gift and accessory company in January 2011, with the idea that something was missing within the American pinup girl genre, namely women of color. I decided to put what I call a sepia spin on the beloved genre and Noir A-Go Go was born. I am convinced that the world is more than familiar with the image of African Americans fighting for our rights during the Civil Rights era. I want to show another image from that time—one of glamour and wit and strength.
As a race woman and a feminist, I dislike it when people of color and women are reduced to one dimension. We are sexy and smart. We are political and fun. We are powerful and vulnerable. Noir A-Go Go raises the curtain on a world of beautiful, empowered, stylish women (and a few men) and places them on everything from magnets and tee shirts to tote bags and greeting cards, which is a small step, but in the immortal words of my favorite Christmas song Changing from bad to good is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other!
About K.C. Washington
Follow BOSS K.C. and view her member profile at The BOSS Network.