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

Hi Sharice, what do you think about taking risk?
There is a quote that I love and I live by, and it says “The only thing permanent in this life is that everything is temporary.” I believe I appreciate this quote so much because it reminds us that our time here is limited, and our circumstances can change at any moment! Which tells me it is THAT much more important to live in the present and outside of those comfort boxes we create for ourselves.
I truly believe that risk taking builds confidence and challenges us to evolve.
& I have taken many risk in my lifetime thus far. As a former homeless youth, I was determined to make it on my own in California. I sacrificed a lot in my 20’s… built a lot, learned a lot, struggled a lot, and risked a lot!

As a 30 year old woman with more wisdom, financial stability and confidence,
I took my biggest risk last year and started my own business! My charcuterie business, The Gouda Culture just celebrated its 1 year anniversary and is doing amazing!
I truly believe that as we take risk, we being to become more aligned with our purpose, and everything begins to connect for us.
Through my journey in entrepreneurship, and learning to network and connect, I saw a need for more space representation for Black and Brown business owners in my community. My friend, Janelle Guillen and I came together and curated our pop up shop the “Homegirl Hangout”, our ode to celebrating woman entrepreneurs, while providing them a space to network, sell and grow! We want to break the stigma of minority business owners, and encourage and inspire more to take their own risk of starting their own businesses!

Just recently I curated my newest baby, Soulful Open mic! A monthly event that connects artist, creatives and entrepreneurs within the community and allows them space and time to build relationships and share their passions.
I have had many people tell me how fearless I seem in how I approach taking risk… and I want to say, the only thing standing in your way of living fearlessly is you! Take the risk, fail a little bit, perfect a little bit, but just go for it! It can change your life, and maybe even someone else’s.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I like to think of myself as a “slum dog millionaire”… Spoiler alert! But also if you haven’t seen this movie yet, why not?!

But, I think of myself as a slum dog millionaire in the sense that the things I’ve been able to acquire in my life, I was never supposed to have!
As a young Black woman, born to a single mother with 7 other siblings and a unstable home environment… on paper, I shouldn’t be where I am.

I realize now how highly uncommon it is to see someone with no college education, financial support, or a strong support system go on to build a life that strays away from the one they grew up in.
But for me, there was no other option!

Very similar to the movie, I feel as if my life experiences are what keep me motivated and as difficult as some of them were, I am forever grateful. They have taught me critical thinking, problem-solving, and a deep appreciation for people.
The feeling I get from creating a feeling happiness in someone else whether that be through charcuterie, table selling, or performing a song they wrote about their own hardships… that keeps me forever rich!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My new plant based favorite in Long Beach is Seabirds Kitchen, their menu is delicious! Also, Vegan J.A.M is a food truck I just recently discovered… they’re “birria”tacos, AMAZING! Catch them at a future event, for sure!

I do love a good craft beer, and I love great customer service even more! Brewheim has some amazing flight selections and always treat you like a regular!
Also, Ambitious Ales in Long Beach!

I still collect records, and hit up Lovell’s record store as often as I can! Their music selection is expansive and great quality records.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
One of my biggest inspirations is Nipsey Hussle. I appreciate his impact and drive, his love for community, his passion for entrepreneurship and for creating spaces where he saw opportunity. He said, “the highest human act is to inspire.” and I believe this wholeheartedly!
It is SO important, especially in the small business world, to have gratitude and pay it forward…
So with that said, I want to give flowers to those who have inspired and supported me along my journey!
First, I want to shout out Brown Girls Cheese! This a group created on Instagram by Tiana Davis and Eboni Sampson, who saw a need for more diversity and inclusion among the charcuterie world and came together to foster the representation they weren’t seeing. BGC is a network of Black and Brown “cheese queens” around the world, that come together to share ideas, suppliers, or just moral support amongst ourselves. It embodies women empowerment, while setting the tone of support vs. competition!
You win, I win type of energy and I’m so appreciative and thankful for it!

Another big shoutout to one of my best friends, Giselle Granados, owner of Floribunda and La Bodega Bottle-shop. If “Build in silence” was a person! Giselle is one of the most inspiring, motivating, and humble people I have the pleasure of knowing!
I’ve watched her not only accomplish her dream of a traveling artisan floral trailer, but I’ve witnessed her manifest that to a larger scale and acquire her own bottle shop where she has incorporated her flowers into it!
Giselle shows me time and time again that the sky is the limit, and I am so appreciative to have a friend that I can learn from and grow with in my own journey!

Lastly, I want to shoutout my older sister, Taniece Chaney-Johnson!
She has been a support system for me from day one, and is usually the person I call to bounce my “idea of the moment” off of! The Gouda Culture would probably still be a draft in my notes app, had it not been for my sister guiding me through the formation process and the logistics of transforming my idea into a business.
She has her own things in the works, and I can not wait to see where she takes it!
The marathon continues!

Website: TheGoudaCulture.com

Instagram: @SoulfulOpenMic

Image Credits
Peter Chaney Martin Balsm

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