101 W. Broad Street Richmond, Virginia 23220

BTB East Conference: Meet Shayla Courtney Varnado

I had the great pleasure of meeting this awesome lady a few months ago. I knew of “Blacks Girls Wine” but hadn’t looked up long enough to realize that it was founded in my own front yard, my city, Richmond, VA. Shayla is phenomenal and shares her awesome journey of stepping out there, getting a few scrapes and bruises, taking the lessons and planning for a great return.

Meet Shayla Courtney Varnado and Blacks Girls Wine at the Behind the Business -East Conference on
February 10, 2018 at the Dominion Arts Center in Richmond, VA. Get your tickets here.

Tell us about your business.

Black Girls Wine is a lifestyle brand I created to enhance the way black women experience. I created a
platform that brings wine to black women in a way that they can connect, engage, learn, and experience a chic wine lifestyle.

I’ve been an entrepreneur since I graduated college. My first businesses I owned ALYAHS management (a creative consulting firm for entrepreneurs and small business owners). I also put my fashion degree to use by styling and doing wardrobe consulting as well.

What inspires you to do what you do?

I’m doing what I love. Entertaining and connecting with people have always been fun (natural) for me.
From dinner parties to girls’ night, I love planning those little details and wanted to be able to do that for women with wine.

What lessons have you learned along the way that you would share with others?

As an entrepreneur of 8 years the most important lesson I’ve learned is to do it even when you don’t
know what you’re doing. I’ve often found my greatest success when I put fear aside and moved forward
anyway.

We say that business is a mixed bag of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Knowing this as a seasoned
entrepreneur, what would you tell yourself as a young entrepreneur.

Save more money. But do nothing else differently. As a matter of fact, fail forward more often.

Describe your transition from employee to employer.

When I left my job at corporate the first time I had a team of writers and editors for my blog but they were volunteers and difficult to hold accountable. I learned a lot about people and what makes them work (hard) for you. I will be making this transition again soon and I’m preparing myself a little bit better by being clear on what I need help doing so I can hire people who best fit those needs, planning a fiscally
responsible exit plan, and connecting with the right people before I even get to that point again.

What’s next for you as it relates to your business?

2018 is the first full year of the Lifestyle Collection X Black Girls Wine (subscription box), doing a summer
city tour for 2018, and planning some BGW travel tours as well.

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