An Interview with Erika Wilson of KnoMoor Clothing Co.
By Shereá Denise
1. How long have you been a business owner? Tell us about your business(es).
I’ve done business since 2014 but an official business owner since July 2019. I’m the owner of KnoMoor Clothing Co., a brand that focuses on OUR history, encourages people to continue to learn and I have a lil fun here and there just creating random tees. Outside of KnoMoor, I have a few personal and family things in the works, but I can’t speak to much about it yet, but soon come. Hopefully, I can come back and share those things at a later date?
2. Did you always know that you wanted to be a business owner or did something specific lead to it?
I always wanted a clothing brand since I was a kid. There was no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t have one, so I know my younger self is pleased. Fashion has always had a hold on me for as long as I can remember.
3. What has been one of the most difficult aspects of being a business owner? What do people not see or not think about as part of your responsibilities?
People don’t see the hours on top of hours that you sit and make sure a design is just right or you spending days trying to get the colors together to make a design damn near perfect, just for them to say, “you shoud have made it (insert color)” or “you should have did “xyz”. It’s kind of disrespectful. I get it, give the people what they want, but do you know how many times I’ve given people what they want and it’s been crickets on my website or apps? Lol. I’d be rich if I got paid for that. They don’t see how long you work on your social media content or hear the many calls made to make sure people get their things on time. They don’t see the years of research you do to make sure you get better at your craft or to make sure you use the best quality materials. It‘s way more to it than posting online or posting up to vend at events. They don’t see the many rejections from banks not giving our businesses a chance because it doesn’t make enough money yet (I know I’m not the only one that can relate to this). I really wish more people understood every single struggle of getting a business started/running a business. They’d probably respect our businesses more. Some of us really have to “get it out the mud” but it is what it is. I was built for it.
4. What has been the best part of starting your own business? What makes it worth continuing this journey?
The best part about starting my own business has been the experience, the highs and the lows, and most importantly the growth. True story… I quit my FT job with benefits, 401k and all that. 9 months before Covid shut down the country. I had no idea that was in the stars, but it happened. Life happens like that sometimes. Business was booming, money was flowing consistently, my bills were paid, my car was paid off. I thought I had it made. Covid touched down and my world spiraled out of control. Things got tough and I almost gave up everything, but I decided to keep going.
I ended up taking a few free courses, learned about stocks, practiced my craft daily, did lots of cleansing and healing. I had my depressed days, but I came out of that unexpected situation better than ever. I appreciate it all. I never knew I needed it until that happened. I hate we all had to experience that but I’m so thankful to still be here to share my story. The lessons I’ve learned have been life changing and things I can carry with me for life. I take none of this for granted at all and love sharing my knowledge with others, so they don’t make the same mistakes I have, and I always make sure to let them know it’s okay to fail. It’s a part of entrepreneurship. Just keep doing you. Things always fall into place how they’re supposed to if you keep doing the work.
5. What advice would you give to new business owners or those interested in starting their own business?
Have a plan, go at your own pace and don’t try to rush the process or keep up with everybody else, just focus on your business and let things happen organically. Most importantly, don’t focus too much on where you’re at but more about where you’re going.
6. Where do you see Black-owned businesses dropping the ball?
Whew… if you’re trying to get me cancelled just say that! Lol but seriously? In my experience, it’s customer service. I see people cancelling services on the day of appointments, not responding to messages or just being flat out rude, posting screenshots when they’re in the wrong, not giving refunds when they dropped the ball. Oh and the one thing I can’t stand the most is businesses taking forever to ship items out, just so they can post that pic of their customers pending packages on the floor when they’ve been waiting on them for weeks/months. It’s unacceptable and clearly, they make us all look bad. They gather all black businesses and put us into this invisible box all together. It’s not a good look for those of us trying to do business the right way. Yeah I think that sums that all up.
7. How could the Black Community do more to support Black-owned businesses? How could we better support you?
Just repost and spread the word. As I, and so many others have said before, you may not like it but you never know who will see it and love it. It’s really that simple. You never know what your repost could do for somebody. It’s a big world out here. Share peoples business(es)! Shoutout to the ones that have always held me down and understood the assignment. Family, friends, the people I’ve never met… I truly appreciate you all.