Happy Thursday and welcome back to the blog! Thursdays are all about spreading the word about a mix of 13 small businesses, brands, entrepreneurs, visionaries, and creators while highlighting and sharing an interview with one. Being from Philly, I feel like its important to network and support one another because most times let’s be honest, Philly supports whoever is hot, they don’t love you when you on the come up but can’t stop talking about you when you’ve reached the top. What people forget is that we all have to start somewhere and the beginning stages are where you need the most support. Let’s fix that and start supporting our brothers and sisters.
Number 1 on my list today is Rakirah, owner of the brand 9online, I had the pleasure of interviewing her and getting a closer look into business and creativity.
Rakirah F. (9Online): Lifestyle Blogger, Spelman Student, carefree black girl, owner of the brand 9online
- Can you tell me about your brand 9online? What sparked the idea behind the creation?
9 Online is me, but it’s also a platform I created to help artist become more exposed and celebrated. Through my brand I plan to curate concerts, music award ceremonies, radio shows, art shows, special events and more. The idea came along when I noticed my strong passion for pop culture, music, blogging and writing so I figured I’d create a platform where I can do a little of all that I love.
- At just 20 years old, you have already received a city citation from the city of Philadelphia for your community outreach event “A Seat at The Table” where you introduced your brand to the world and allowed other female entrepreneurs to network and express themselves through business and musical/creative passion. Can we expect more events in the future? Will your brand continue to promote networking and growth or do you have other plans?
Networking will always be a part of 9Online’s agenda but my main focus right now is expanding my brand. Meeting and connecting with more like-minded individuals to help me facilitate events here in Atlanta. These events as will highlight upcoming artists in the music industry as well as entrepreneurs who want to take their business to the next level.
- I know how much focus and discipline it takes to create and maintain a brand, what kind of self-care techniques do you use to refrain from becoming overwhelmed with juggling life and creating?
I’m sort of a perfectionist, and this really takes a toll on me because I can get very indecisive when it comes deciphering what’s the best fit for me. If I feel like things are getting to hectic I take a break and start again the next day. So far, this simple technique has gotten me through all my stressful moments. However, I’m also a huge fan of working out and doing Yoga. This really helps me focus on the current moment and it relieves all my anxiety.
- Where did the name 9online come from, what does it mean?
Well nine has always been a special number of mine since I can remember. I thought it was because I was born on October 9th but then the number 9 started to reveal itself in a lot of places. It started when I was in the 9th grade I read a book about the Little Rock Nine, which was a group of nine black students who enrolled Little Rock Central High School an all-white school in Little Rock, Arkansas. I was so touched by the story I then made that my twitter name and then everyone started calling me Little Rock 9 because it sounded cool and it made sense being as though my nickname was Rocky. Nine continuously appears for me whether I find it the it’s the year of my graduation 2019 or when I hear Drake says “Six upside down it’s a nine now” The number carried me through self- discovery and when I added “Online” not only does it rhyme but it represents me as a social media savvy, blogger, journalist, creative director and e-entrepreneur.
- What have been some of your failures so far on this journey?
So far I would have to say allowing my emotions to affect my business decisions. I wear my heart on my sleeves and struggle with distinguishing what to put my energy and feelings into when it comes to my business and my personal life. But with just a little prayer and discipline I’m trusting that I can grow some tough skin and learn how to separate the two.
- What advice would you give someone who is interested in starting their own brand?
I would say when starting your brand focus on longevity. You will feel like it’s taking too long to be exactly where you want to be but if you create a 4-5 year plan that focuses on building rather than instant gratification, your brand has a better chance to flourish way past your wildest dreams. Just have faith that eventually everything will pop off the way it’s supposed to. Longevity is the most important focusing on the now only taints your vision, because it isn’t where you start it’s where you finish.
- Excluding yours, are there any brands or businesses that you admire? Any people that inspire or motivate you?
Yes! I’ve always looked up to women like Gabrielle Union and Karen Civil. But recently I’ve been following closely to women like Issa Rae, Maura Chanz and Amanda Seals. These women are implementing their own style into Black Girl Magic and leaving a creative legacy that inspires me to be more confident in my business and purse any dream I have in mind.
- If you could change just one thing about our society through 9online, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about our society, it would be that 9Online puts an emphasis on supporting black people. We are so oppressed as a culture we don’t even notice that when we don’t support our brothers and sisters we don’t advance as a community. 9Online will serve to not only support but to uplift others and whatever he or she may be pursuing, being the change I wish to see in the world.
- What makes 9online unique?
I knew I had a purpose in this life and it took me a long 20 years to actually find what was for me. I’m able capitalize off of my own story and my own passions while I’m still figuring out who exactly I am, and I think that’s what’s most unique about 9Online, it’s authenticity, it’s one of one.
- Fun fact about yourself?
I’ve been a vegetarian since the 6th grade and I Share a birthday with John Lennon from the Beatles.
Thanks Rakirah! I agree we don’t even notice that when we don’t support out brothers and sisters we don’t advance as a community.
Numer 2: @s__dott is someone who specializes in jewelry making, painting, and photography. (Note: all @ names are clickable and leads to each persons Instagram account)
@missmosstheboss: Youtuber and videographer.
@artisticrights: clothing line.
@khydaya_ink: specializes in customizable apparel/products.
@bombbay.ray: photographer and model.
@nebulusflair_: body painter/painter.
@salonstyleandgrace: Hair salon that specializes in natural hair care.
@bossed__up: clothing line, owner (not pictured) is also a painter.
@da_righttaste: caterer and event specialist.
I wish I could share everyone I come across but check back next Thursday for another interview and 13 beautiful hardworking souls. It’s important that we continue to uplift, empower, and inspire one another. Hopefully this post serves as a chance to network and promote for those mentioned and for those who read it! Support your black owned businesses and brands. Be sure to stay tuned for more post, for the remainder of the week you can expect; Fashionably Late Friday, Soul & Self Care Saturday, and Self Love Sunday. Thanks for reading. Be Blessed & Stay Humble.
Interested in checking out my first two self-published books? Head over to my site: $elf – choose you always.