We had the good fortune of connecting with Lexis Zeidan and Dayna Peoples and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lexis and Dayna, what matters most to you?
Giving back and pursuing everything we do with Detroit Kids Matter with nothing short of our best. Ultimately, how can we grow our brand to be extremely successful so we can give back and do more. As educators in the city we always wanted to widen our impact beyond our classrooms or the students that we taught. When we launched this brand, we envisioned it to be a means to an end. The means being our ability to sell our products and spread a positive message and the end- uplifting and supporting the students in Detroit. When we make decisions about campaigns that we launch, programming that we put on or scholarships that we give our we alway center our students in all our decisions- is the campaign focused on Detroit students, does our messaging elevate our students and also highlight the inequities that exist in education when it comes to our students as well? Is this partnership that we are about to create going to elevate our company and ultimately benefit our students. When we were in the ideation phase of this company, we truly were all over the place with ideas and suggestions but one thing that remained true to every idea we came up with is that we want to take what we do and all the successes that come up with it and find a way to do better and to do good.
We believe that as educators, a large reason why this principle is grounded in our practice is because of the relationships we have developed with our students, families, and community members but in deeper reflection, we also learned and realized in a world where it’s easy to focus on and do good for yourself, we want to ensure that we are actively participating in doing good for others as well.
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?
What sets us apart from others is this “direct-to-consumer” model we have. We, in fact, call it “direct-to-kid.’ Often times when people making donations to non-profits, we know it’s easy for the money to get lost through the grapevines. Everything we do, we ensure Detroit kids are benefiting from it directly- through school supply drives, senior scholarships, programming initiatives with students-led organizations and other scholarships grounded in hobbies.
Launching our business and getting to where we are today (one year later from the launch of our business) wasn’t an easy process. I think one thing that people often forget to tell individuals starting their own business is that the biggest lessons occur as you go and grow through process. You often hear entrepreneurs discuss all the ways in which they were successful (i.e. being prepared, having a plan, etc.) but you never hear them talk about how the biggest success came from the biggest failure. What got us through the tough times was our ability to rely and depend on each other, to collaborate with each other, and remaining consistent in our branding/messaging.
When we discuss our brand and where we want to see it in 30 years there is one thing that remains true about what we want people to know about our brand- that it was a brand created to shed light on the inequities students of Detroit face when it comes to educational equity but it’s also a brand that empowers the highly intellectual Detroit youth.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Our students! As adults we get so caught up in our daily lives and interactions- specifically at work and thinking about all the things that we have to overcome and still show up and be successful, that we often forget about the work of and importance of children in general. Our business wouldn’t exist if we weren’t inspired by or grounded in the love we have for our students and the children of Detroit.
In addition to the children, the various organizations and small businesses we have been able to collaborate with, such as Detroit Heals Detroit, Minority Freedom Community Fund, TFA, etc, as well as Jasmine Brooks for nominating us.