The luxury home goods market has been evolving lately and Harlem-based entrepreneurs Valerie Wray and Joy Fennell were wise enough to tap into it. Their joint venture, The 125 Collection, named after Harlem’s legendary 125th Street, has become a celebrity favorite and a buzzed about home décor line since its debut in November 2015.
Their line of candles are made with 100% natural soy and poured in small batches in New York.
Here, these busy ladies talk to TNJ.com about their business experiences.
TNJ.com: How did the two of you come together for this collaboration?
Joy Fennell: Valerie and I have successful businesses in the fashion and beauty industry and one day in the park while having ice cream we discussed our love for candles, home goods, and NYC. We decided to join forces and create a lifestyle brand that shared our love for all those things.
TNJ.com: What would you advise people to do when running a business?
J.F.: Having a detailed plan of your business is vital to its success. We constantly revisit our business plan and make adjustments along the way. Networking has helped us tremendously to establish ourselves as a lifestyle brand. By being our own ambassadors for The 125 Collection and participating in trade shows and events, this has led to new business opportunities.
TNJ.com: What would you advise people NOT to do when launching and running a business?
Valerie Wray: Don't stop evolving. I'm sure all entrepreneurs love their brand and ideas but it's so important to get feedback on what you are doing. Talk to your customers and get their opinions, get a business coach and don't worry about making mistakes - learn from them and keep pushing.
TNJ.com: Has the collection received favorable responses so far?
V.W.: We have received a great response since our launch. Within a year, The 125 Collection has been placed in major magazines and featured on countless blogs. Our products are now available for wholesale and retailers reach out consistently to become stockers. We are so proud and grateful of the momentum The 125 Collection is gaining, and our amazing publicity team has done an incredible job as well.
TNJ.com: How did you fund the business?
J.F.: Valerie and I have personally funded our business so far. We are looking to do further product development, which would require additional funding so we are open to the idea of working with an investor.
TNJ.com: With popularity growing in the luxury home goods market, what do you do to stay ahead of the competition?
V.W.: We have to stay ahead of the curve. We are a lifestyle brand that fuses pop culture into every day life, so our products have to stay personal, they have to stay innovative and they have to stay current. We strive everyday to be our customers' go-to for their home decor/lifestyle needs.