By Moneek L. Shorts
Moneek is a past LITE Finalist and current Fellow. Her projects have involved selling T-shirts meant to inspire teenagers.
Q: What special skills have you learned from being an Innovation Fellow at LITE?
A: From being an Innovation Fellow, I have learned to have better time management and being punctual. While handling a business and being a junior who wants to graduate early, I have to make sure I put time and effort into both and set times for both. Secondly, since I am in different business clubs, leadership clubs, and controlling my business, being on time for meetings, classes, and deadlines has really pushed me to keep up with myself and control my planning.
Q: How would you describe being an Innovation Fellow in one word? Why?
A: I would say creative. We all have a vision and with out visions, we are very creative. Having a creative mind also can help with activities, meetings, and putting your best interest and heart forward.
Q: What lessons have you learned from being an Innovation Fellow and young entrepreneur that have affected your everyday life?
A: I have learned to always do what is best for you. With being an Innovation Fellow, we have meetings and sometimes my schedule clashes with the dates; therefore, I have to choose my dates and times wisely. Secondly, with being a young entrepreneur, I have to function my business according to how I can handle it, set meeting dates to where I am able to go, and most importantly, make decisions to what is best for me.
Q: What is the most difficult part about starting a business while you’re still in High School?
A: The most difficult part is managing both school and my business. When thinking about an average day in my life, I have to stay up til whenever to make sure I am ready for tests or stay up to complete homework/project assignments. Next, I try to stay up at least 2 more hours to complete any business needs or handle orders.
Q: What was your inspiration in creating Self-Made Empire?
A: My inspiration came from my school, Germantown High School, and my friends. I came from a middle school wearing uniforms and when I came to high school, I noticed everyone took pride into their fashion and what they wanted to have. Seeing that no matter where you came from or how you grew up, people are willing to hustle and develop their own sense of style to make themselves feel amazing and beautiful.
Q: What makes your business unique?
A: My business is not based on what I like or what I want to have in my business. I look at how people express themselves and I take trends and put motivational/inspirational words and pictures on the pieces to have others wear them with pride. A goal of mine is to really give people a reason to express themselves in whatever they wear and to let others know its their style; they are self-made.
Q: What was the biggest challenge in getting your business running?
A: The biggest challenge is to get promotions and have people take a look at what I can offer to the table. I want my business to be exposed to all social media in every kind of way.
Q: What have you learned about yourself from your time at LITE, both as a Finalist and Innovation Fellow?
A: I have learned that I am very determined in everything I put my mind into and that if I believe in myself, I can accomplish many goals that I set for myself.
Q: How has your time at LITE impacted the type of career you want to pursue?
A: It has given me the positives and the negatives of many careers and it has helped me narrow down many job selections.
Q: What is some advice you would give someone who wants to start their own business but doesn’t know where to start?
A: Do research! Always know what you are getting yourself into and what kind of business you want to start. While doing that, stay positive and never let the word “no” stop you in your tracks!
Moneek is a junior at Houston High School.