Our audience would love to know about your entrepreneurial journey in detail. Tell us why you decided to be a business owner?
My business journey has been all but traditional, to say the least. Growing up in a sports & driven family, I was always different. While all the kids my age were out wrestling and playing football, I was reading or playing with “Rose Art” sets. I even found love in reading yellow pages. Two traits in my journey of entrepreneurship that remain the same since early on are me making faith-driven decisions and being a leader. Ever since I could remember, I knew I was a boss and I knew that taking a leap of faith in my ideas would get me closer to a destination that I enjoyed more. Fast forward in life, I worked several jobs and got fired from most of them because I knew I was supposed to be the boss. One that stands out the most and that was my last time working for anyone was working in property management. That was the job that kind of reminded me of my purpose. I initially got into it because of the money but found love in making people happy and marketing the property to sell. Eventually, that got old. I was tired of putting my all into situations but not growing. I remember praying one day for God to give me peace but also for him to let me walk in my purpose. Shortly after that, I was checked into the hospital for exhaustion. The company I worked for tried to fire me for missing work. Ultimately, they tried to hire me back but I refused. That same week, I got a call from BET Networks for a styling job. It was my first taste of entrepreneurship. From styling, I begin writing for Kontrol Magazine & eventually started my PR firm. Most of everything I’ve learned about Entrepreneurship has been self-taught. I’ve been an entrepreneur this point for the last 3-4 years.
What all businesses do you own and run? How long have you been working on them? How did you set up these brands? Explain the process.
I own the I AM PHRESHY BRAND LLC. IAP is a boutique PR firm that specializes in augmenting audiences and creating public and media attractions for emerging brands. We work with lifestyle, talent and business brands for the most part. I started the PR side of IAP in 2017. In 2019, we launched Phreshy’s Closet & DIY PR. These are the two babies of the brand. I decided I wanted to give entrepreneurs who had been following my journey tangible items and gems but also be another source of income for the company. Phreshy’s closet was perfect because people had been asking me to start an apparel line and DIY PR was on the brand because I’ve always loved to share and teach.
Tell us about the challenges you faced while creating your brands?
I faced tons of challenges - Lack of resources, lack of knowledge about PR, lack of relations and more. In October 2017, I was homeless. I had about 3 clients at the time but all the income I was making was going back into building a company. I also didn’t know how to charge. That year, I had been sleeping on my friends' sofa by morning, working through the day and going out a night to create a buzz for my name. Most people didn't know, I didn't even have a laptop at the time. I was doing everything on my phone. Imagine a publicist creating EPK and Pitch Decks on the phone. If that wasn’t enough, I lost damn near everything because my storage unit got evicted. Publically I seemed to be on top of the world. Privately I was going through it. My friends decided they were going to move to Georgia and so did I. We took a U haul, drove down to GA! I left everything I had left in the U Haul & took an Uber to the airport. I decided to fly to LA and work. I felt like it was where the work was, it would be easy to garner more clients. That was the best decision I could’ve ever made. LA made me a beast. God had his hands on me between 2017 & 2018. The doors that opened for me were most definitely because of his grace and mercy and my untouchable faith.
How did you overcome all those challenges?
Not to sound cheesy, but every challenge I’ve overcome has been due to my relentless drive and unwavering faith. I’m a very optimistic person. I do a lot of research. If I want it, I pray about it and figure out a way to go get it. It’s been a lot of hard work, late nights and pure dedication. I’ve also had to learn and constantly remind myself that “Timing is everything”. What’s for me will always be for me.
What does your day to day schedule look like? As an entrepreneur, how do you create a balance between work and life?
My day to day is forever changing. Some days it’s still 8+ hours in front of a computer pitching. Other days include conference calls, client follow-ups, scaling my business and more. As a publicist and entrepreneur, it's hard to predict the day. One thing that will never change is my dedication to GOD. I’m a prayer. I pray over my business daily. Between prayer, music and social gatherings I always find ways to step back so I’m not burning myself out.
How difficult is it to run a PR firm and hold your ground in the market, especially when there are so many PR agencies around?
To some, it’s very difficult. For me, I’ve been through a lot in life in general, so running my PR firm is an escape. I also choose not to compare what we’re doing here at I AM PHRESHY BRAND to anything anyone else is doing at their firm. As many PR Firms or Agencies that there are as many brands that need representation. Everyone can eat by focusing on their markets.
What are your thoughts on ‘increasing competition and social media numbers’ from a business owner’s perspective?
Great Question! I’ve not put that much thought into it. I believe in quality over quantity. I would rather have 5 mutually beneficial people following me than 50 thousand that can't do anything for me. Although social media is a great marketing tool, to me it's not the end all be all. As a business owner, the growth that I’m focused on is ROI and clientele.
How do you keep yourself and your team empowered on an everyday basis?
I keep myself and my team inspired by being authentic and relatable. I’m a parallel person. What I mean by that is I tend to act, receive and do at the level in which I feel like-minded individuals are on. Being open, honest and transparent is the best way to empower and inspire.
What are the three major factors to keep in mind for running a successful business like yours?
Three major factors for success, in my opinion, include research, being innovative and client fulfillment. Research keeps you knowledgeable, being innovative keeps you in the forefront and client fulfillment, keeps your business coming.
What can we see coming next from you soon? How do you plan to take your PR firm to the next level?
What’s next for I AM PHRESHY BRAND is endless. There is so much I want to do to expand the brand. I’m currently searching for ways to further into the event space. I’ve had several large scale events in which I've handled to press for and found it to be my niche. I’ve also been entertaining the idea of merging with larger companies. Nothing set in stone yet. I’ve had several offers and it just has to make sense for myself and my client roster.
What are your sources of inspiration?
My sources of inspiration are diverse from my clients to my skin tone to my future family. I get up every day knowing that life is a blessing. I can change the trajectory of someone's life for the better simply by walking in my purpose. Life is so short, should our creator call me tomorrow, today and every day I live I can leave a piece of myself and the love in my heart for the world after me. That's my source of inspiration.
Connect with Derrian here:
Facebook: I AM PHRESHY BRAND
IG: @iamphreshy + @iamphreshybrand
Linkedin: Derrian Perry