We had the good fortune of connecting with Bonique Edwards and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bonique, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking has been the ultimate reward for my life personally and professionally. When I was 27 years old, my best friend was making plans to visit Italy. She came from a middle class household and I grew up in a family household with limited discretionary income.
Vacations for me and my siblings were to Palm Springs, which is a two hour drive from Los Angeles. The idea of traveling to Italy seemed liked something reserved for White families I saw on TV. I personally could not fathom the idea of traveling outside of the country with more than $20,000 in credit card and student loan debt at the time.
Mentally, I was cheering for my friend from the sidelines. Finally, my friend said to me, “Why aren’t you trying to come with me?” I explained my finances and she said, “Focus on how you can come with me instead of the obstacles that are getting in your way!”
This one sentence led me to Italy that year and changed my perspective on life. Many times, we get STUCK IN the problem instead of focusing on the SOLUTION. This lesson taught me to flex my mental muscles when challenges arise. To date, I have visited six continents and have traveled to all of the seven modern Wonders of the World.
Professionally, I am a serial entrepreneur who started selling pickles to classmates when I was in the third grade. My superpower is my ability to tell a story and convince people to align with me. While every business I have started has not been profitable, I have used the lessons learned from each defeat to dust myself off and get back in the game. For 20 years, I have run a successful web development, graphic design, and social media business.
After getting laid off from two dot-com companies, I started my company in the breakfast nook of my father’s kitchen with one email sent to friends and colleagues. Without a business plan or start up financing, I propelled my company using guerrilla marketing tactics to create a company that transforms the images of mom and pop organizations as well as Fortune 500 companies.
While, I have experienced multiple challenges along the way, I dig deep every time, seek the council of peers and mentors, and take the leap in my darkest hours. I constantly remind myself, “What Would You Do If You Were Not Afraid.” For me, my greatest rewards have come from me leaning in and taking risks.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Kaleidoscope transforms digital platforms for business owners, non-profit organizations, and Fortune 500 companies globally. We focus on upgrading the brand of each client using technology, graphic design and copywriting for websites, brochures and online event activations. Today, we do our best to weave in social media as a tool to propel and engage the brands of our clients.
In its infancy stages, there were few Black owned businesses that were providing technological services to help bridge the digital divide. We were quickly able to differentiate ourselves because we were on the pulse of the Internet being accessible to every household. I remember when AOL was sending CD’s to every household to get them online.
Timing in combination with the willingness to take a risk, allowed us to attract and retain clients who wanted to elevate their digital presence. The Internet is the ultimate equalizer in that a home based business can visually look like a million dollar organization. I am proud that we have helped smaller organizations compete for larger contracts because we have elevated their brands.
Our priority with each client is to help them identify “the problem they solve” for their clients.
Along the way, I have also learned the importance of personal branding and the importance of apologizing when making mistakes. As a small business owner, I am a direct representation of my company and my personal image.
Previously, I would rush out to the local market with my hair disheveled and often times wearing non flattering sweats. After the third time of being caught and embarrassed by my appearance, I realized that while I do not need to wear a suit to the grocery store, I do need be presentable since I am a business owner looking to attract new clients in my community. I was not modeling the transformative services of my company.
Finally, I have learned the power of an apology. Instead of covering up mistakes or blaming the client unnecessarily, I have learned that taking ownership for our mistakes is the perfect opportunity to create a customer for life. No person or company is perfect. How we manage our imperfections can have a huge impact on our company’s success.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Day One: Morning Hike at Temescal Canyon, Lunch at 26 Beach (Get the Peach Melba French Toast and the Greek eggs) Stroll along the promenade of Santa Monica Pier or see the vibrancy of Venice Beach. Have drinks and dinner at Rush Street. See an outdoor movie after grabbing dessert from Southern Girl Desserts.
Day Two: Morning bike ride along the beach. (Marina to Manhattan Beach) Grab lunch and mimosas in Manhattan beach overlooking the ocean. Relax a bit and drive to Long Beach and take a Gondola ride in the canals (Bring your own wine and cheese)
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Deena Mangrum is my friend who taught me to focus on solutions. The Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce (GLAAACC) selected my company 15 years ago to participate in their Business Evolution Program (BEP). In partnership with Honda, they mentored my company for one year and taught me the ins and outs of certifications (MBE, WBE), the proposal process and how to land large contracts with Fortune 500 companies.
Instagram: @kaleidoscoperocks or @boniquetravels
Twitter: I don’t tweet! LOL
Yelp: Kaleidoscope Consulting Group
Youtube: Kaleidoscope Consulting Group
@bobbyquillard www.quillardinc.com Bobby Quillard