Black women continue to make their mark in the world of entrepreneurship.
SupaCent, a nationally-renowned entrepreneur, made $1 million in 90 minutes. When she created “The Crayon Case,” in 2017, she brought the same hard work and authenticity that she applies to the rest of her brand.
Melissa Butler, creator of “The Lip Bar” products featured in Target stores, launched her business in 2012 because she was frustrated with the beauty industry and believed everyone deserved to be represented.
SupaCent, Butler and many other Black women have made amazing journeys.
But at what cost?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Black women life expectancy is three years shorter on average than white women. Some of the root causes may be related to stress.
A Midwest publicity powerhouse, who survived stage four cancer, is advising Black women business owners to manage their health and busy work schedules.
Lindsey Walker, CEO and lead publicist of Walker and Associates Media Group in St. Louis, has been an entrepreneur for nine years.
When Walker returned from college and could not find a job, she started her public relations company.
“The callbacks I got were not a fit for the position I wanted and worked hard for,” Walker said. “After three months, I decided to start my own company, initially named “PR Mentality.”
The Jackson State University alumna found her first three clients through Twitter and LinkedIn. Her client list now includes several high-profile media companies.
“I have worked with the New York Times, Essence, CBS, Black Enterprise, and other notable names,” Walker said.
She knows firsthand how stress can impact the mind, body and success of a business. At 27, she was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and endured six months of chemotherapy. Throughout, Lindsey continued to run her business.
“I started to feel sick one day,” Walked said. “I called my mom because I was having a hard time breathing. She rushed me to the emergency room, where I found out I had a large mass in front of my heart.”
It took three weeks for doctors to learn the cause of her sickness, and she made repeated visits to the emergency room.
“On July 3, 2018, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Walker said. “I was in Atlanta when I received the news. I had to start treatment the following week in St. Louis.”
Three years later, she is sharing her journey with aspiring and current entrepreneurs.
“A lot of times we wait until it becomes a problem,” Walker said. “The measures you should take are preventative; such as taking your vitamins and exercising.”
The author of “Thriving Through The Storm”, Walker has curated campaigns with over 1 million media impressions. However, her personal mission is to make sure black women who own businesses take time to manage their health as well.
“Are you drinking enough water or resting?” Walker asked. “These are the things that people are not doing until you are forced to, and it needs to change for our collective health.”
Walker noted that the reason Black women put health on the back burner is because of the “strong Black woman” phenotype that many find themselves in.
“We are often looked at as the ‘strong ones’,” Walker said. “We are looked at as the ones who have a high tolerance for stress levels and pain. Although that may be true, it does not mean that we are supposed to run our bodies into the ground, which is what most of us do.”
According to Walker, a self-care routine should factor healthcare into a work schedule.
“We have to make sure we take those preventative measures, which include marking your exercise schedule on your calendar, tracking how much water you drink, factoring in time to rest or take a vacation and prioritize our mental health,” Walker said.