Written by : Samantha Cee
This week we sat down with the Founder and CEO of Uplifting Little Divas Inc, Shakara Carter 27, of Boston Ma. In honor of Cancer survivor Cynthia Carter. Take a look at or exclusive interview with one of the strongest CEO we know .
"Uplifting Little Divas inc is what we like to consider an expanding family. we embrace and welcome young girls from the ages 10mon-16yrs old to participate in our various themed beauty pageants. We were founded to promote inner beauty, self respect and academic achievement. A portion of our proceeds are donated to Children’s Hospital Boston. This is to honor and bring awareness to sarcoma cancer. The smiles on our contestants faces reflect the smiles on the faces of these little fighters. Join us in the fight to Cure with a Crown."
Facebook and Instagram @UpliftinglittleDivasInc
Makeup by Tashayla Martin, 24 of Boston , MA "Beauty for all shades and ages "
Fashion Gxd Magazine : How did the idea for your business come about?
As a child I always enjoyed being on stage, and my mother took full advantage of that. For high school i attended Boston Arts Academy as a theater major and all bets were off. I then fell in love with the whole production experience. I found out there I was a much better boss than performer. After a few more years of performing and directing local shows my mother was diagnosed with sarcoma cancer for the second time. She continued to be strong and support me through it all. That’s when I knew I needed to bring light to Sarcoma cancer for those who weren’t as fortunate to have a survivor like myself. There I was sitting on a cause without an actual company. I wanted to put together grand events while allowing little girls the opportunity to showcase their talents while having a blast. What better way than a beauty pageant right? Finally I put two and two together and here we are today with my very own pageant company Uplifting Little Divas Inc. spreading light and awareness to sarcoma cancer.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : How do you find people to bring into your organization that truly care about the organization the way you do?
It was hard at first bringing new people into Uplifting Little Divas Inc. For a while I was nervous so it was just myself advertising and promoting with family and friends. Simply because they knew how dear the cause was to me. I have always wanted the mission and platform to be heard over the glitz and glam. We welcome people who have witnessed hands on what cancer does as a whole. We also try to look for people who have compassion for our future children as leaders and fighters. As parents we don’t get to pick a healthy child over a sick. So ULDI strives to support them both with the people on our team.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : What three pieces of advice would you give to other children who want to become entrepreneurs
Three pieces of advice I would give children who want to become entrepreneurs would be simple. First off never give up. Don’t let yesterdays distractions dictate tomorrow’s accomplishments. Second always give 100% at whatever it is you want to do. If you want to be a professional bubble gum chewer make sure you’re the best to ever chew gum. Last but not least never let anyone tell you what you cannot do. Doubt is the biggest form of flattery. Let one’s doubt be the battery in your pack to always work ten times harder.
Fashion Gxd Magazine :If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
If I had the chance to start my career over the only thing I would do differently would be believing in myself and fully diving all in. That alone took away from opportunities and accomplishments. In the beginning my mother would always say “don’t let your want for perfection turn into procrastination”. All the ideas in the world go unnoticed when you don’t execute them first hand.
Fashion Gxd Magazine :What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur ?
The top three skills I feel you need as a successful entrepreneur would be one communication. In order for you to get your point across when running your company you have to be able to communicate well with others. Be assertive but still respectful. The second would be time management, It is very important to make deadlines for yourself, meet others, and run on time when being an entrepreneur. Time is truly valuable to not just your team but your clients as well. Last professionalism. No matter how good you brand your company or how good your product is if you have a nasty attitude or bad energy no one is ever going to want to work with you. Remain humble you never know who’s watching.
Fashion Gxd Magazine :What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
At this very moment I wouldn’t consider my setbacks as failures. I expected challenges when building something from the ground up, more than anything it’s shown me how diligent I can be.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : How many hours do you work a day on average?
On a normal day I feel like I’m branding, sending invoices and responding to emails all day. Outside of running Uplifting Little Divas Inc. I also work a 9-5 at a law firm. Even there I’m fully invested in promoting my events and going over details live from my desk. Over all I dedicate at least 20 hours a week to ULDI.
Fashion Gxd Magazine :Describe/outline your typical day?
My typical day starts off with being a mom to an amazing four-year-old name Mascyn. After he’s fed and out to school I’m in what I like to call full pageant mode. For 40 minutes I’m checking emails and responding to event inquiries. Once I get ready and head to work I make 213 calls a day. In between each call I’m typically promoting on social media or searching the web for new branding ideas. I take an hour break, for 30 minutes I eat, and the next half is dedicated to passing out flyers and business cards Down Town Boston. Once my shift ends, back home where I put my supermom cape on. Once Mascyns is ready for bed I’ll spend between an hour to an hour and a half connecting with my team, event coordinators and vendors. Just thinking about it made me exhausted but it’s all worth it.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Thus far being an entrepreneur has not affected my life in a negative way. In most ways it’s had a great toll on things. Being tired is normal, being overwhelmed is natural and being successful is a necessity. Being an entrepreneur has given my family a brighter future to look forward to.
Fashion Gxd Magazine :What motivates you?
When asked what motivates me I instantly think of my son. I want him to know what it feels like to sign checks and not wait for one. Second would be my mom, cancer has taken such a big toll on her life since the age 16 and if my organization can help prevent that feeling for a little girl or boy out there sign me up. Last but not least every little girl out there that looks like me motivates me. We don’t often see our own at the top. I want to be the poster child for strong, dedicated, talented little black girls. Like me too you can become a rose that grew from concrete.
Fashion Gxd Magazine: How do you generate new ideas?
I generate new ideas by attending local pageants, searching the web, and staying up on what kid fashions and activities are in.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
The only sacrifice I have had to make while being an entrepreneur would be cutting off a portion of my social life. I realized in order for my company to be as successful as I want some people needed to out the equation. Some shoes needed to stay at the store and some events could be passed up. I started thinking what was more important a good time or a good ULDI outcome.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
In 10 years I see both myself and my business fully flourished. I hope to be a house hold name by 2028, just as big as the Miss America Pageant. I hope to host at least 8 kids pageants a year across the country, while generating enough for cancer research for children’s hospitals in each state. In 20 years i hope to be retired and a chair member for a great organization like the Jimmy Fund Foundation. I want my pageants to continue to be a way to “Cure with a Crown”. This will leave my son and platform a legacy to be proud of.