We had the good fortune of connecting with Shanay Marshall and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shanay, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
As a child, I always had the idea of wanting to start my own business because I grew up watching my mom owning her own business in real estate. She would show me articles of kids in magazines who started their own businesses and that just really inspired me to start a business of my own. When I was a teenager I used to sell Avon products and I was so impressed with myself and how I was able to handle clients and inventory at such a young age, I just knew that one day I would have a bigger business of my own. Fast forward to present day, I started looking into creating apparel back in 2016 and I also wanted to learn how to create customized party goods for my oldest son at the time. I had invested in equipment to create t-shirts and then I created my first business which was Creative Printz.

Creative Printz was a good start in my journey but it was not satisfying because I am a pretty creative person and I felt so limited in what I offered clients. I had so many different ideas that went unfulfilled so I went back to the drawing board to revamp my business completely so that I could target every one of my desired audiences. I changed my business name to Shay Lemae Collective in 2019 and it felt more organic, more personal and by me entitling my company under “Collective,” it made much more sense because it did not put my business in a box; it was as if the pearly gates had opened for me to be creative at my highest potential.
Shay Lemae Collective is a parent company of five separate brands that I offer; each brand has been uniquely created by me. My top two brands are: Prints by Shay, which focuses on all custom apparel and Kool Kiddz Party Supplies, where I create customized party favors and supplies for children parties. I also have two featured clothing boutiques on my website: Lemae Boutique which is a clothing line for women and also Robot Kidd, a clothing line for children. Lastly, Shay Lemae Collective is also the home of the Brown Girl Network which is my networking and marketing brand where I help other women of color jumpstart their businesses or offer assistance with promotional content, website editing and social media advertisement.  As you can see, I have many different things happening with my company, but I have to do what I have to do if I want to take over the world! haha, just kidding.

Please tell us more about your business. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Well, my company is pretty wide spread with the many different things that I offer so that really keeps me busy and I believe honestly that is what sets me apart.. I do not only provide one service to just one type of client, I have many different services that often give my clients the benefit of shopping all in one place. Most of my clients are small business owners so I provide them custom apparel for their brands and that sparks a lot of interest in other business owners because everyone loves to rock their own brand! My business really brings me a lot of joy because my clients are so great and supportive. The rapport I’ve built with each of my clients is so heart warming because they truly trust me with their visions every time. It’s often they like to push me creatively with new projects or even making suggestions like “Hey Shay, have you ever created…” and then I respond with “umm…nope but today I will!” It’s fun and I never get bored because creativity is endless.

The biggest lesson I have learned being a small business owner is that it isn’t easy at all but you must never give up. You truly have to believe in yourself and stay focused on your goals and do not get distracted by what other people are doing. Don’t even get distracted by competitors, just focus on what’s in front of you and not what is around you.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Haha wow, well first let me just say I love LA…born and raised here so I would really take my friend to every landmark possible. I would obviously take them to Hollywood, Dodgers Stadium, Downtown LA, Staples Center, etc.. I really love Long Beach so I would take them to my most favorite restaurant which is Tequila Jacks on the shoreline. Their food is amazing and you really can’t leave there without trying one of their margaritas. I would take them to the beaches… Santa Monica Pier for sure. I would definitely even take them through South Los Angeles to see the neighborhood where I once grew up. I would also take them to Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood and lastly we would go to Disneyland…it would not be right to have a friend visit LA without going to Disneyland!      The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mother. My mom is literally the most supportive person in my life because without her the struggle would really be REAL! Haha no really though. My mom has witnessed my creativity since I was a child, therefore with me now developing this brand – she knows that I can really go far with everything that I put my mind too. She is always there to help out with my two sons whenever I am working late on orders or even when I am in class (I’m also currently studying to become a Nurse). She really believes in me and my dreams and not once has she ever complained. Her strength inspires me daily, I love her so much.

Website: www.shaylemaecollective.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/shaylemaecollective
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/shaylemaecollective

Image Credits
Shanay Marshall

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