It Girl | MEKA HARRELL
The story of the woman behind the wheel! By: Danae Edmonds
A few weeks ago I found myself at a glamorous event in Charlotte, NC for CIAA weekend. For those of you not familiar with this, it is basically a massive excuse to party all day and night long with some of the hottest celebrities! Even with all of the madness going on around me it was impossible to miss the Pink Culture Mobile Boutique. First off, there was stylish clothes and people hanging around outside, and secondly, the color makes it instantly stick out from every other thing on wheels – I had no choice but to venture over and I am so glad that I did.
Meka Harrell, Owner, instantly greeted me and invited me into her beautifully decorated truck! Everything was so gorgeous I wanted it all! After finding out that the Pink Culture Truck frequents places in NC and has an online shop, I was hooked! Meka is so warm and welcoming and I couldn’t help myself. I needed to know more! So, Meka was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to speak with us. Enjoy and support April’s It Girl, Meka Harrell- Owner of Pink Culture Mobile Boutique.
Meka Harrell 32 years old Owner of Pink Culture Inc Mobile Boutique Computer Information Systems degree from Livingstone College & MBA from Pfeiffer University
1. Tell us a little about Pink Culture Truck and how you got started! Pink Culture Truck was started while I was on maternity leave- I was trying to come up with a way to make money and leave my corporate job. I started doing research and my sister-in-law told me about a jewelry truck she saw in VA and I thought to myself how about selling clothes?! After Googling I found out that fashion trucks were really popular in LA and some in NY. So I was ecstatic with the information I found and the wheels kept spinning. I found my truck on Craigslist and some people from my church and my Uncle helped me get the plywood inside the truck, flooring and decorations. After I found the truck everything else was a blur, it's like God was moving! We had the truck ready to hit the streets in about 2 1/2 - 3 months.
2. Did your studies in college apply to what you're doing now? If not, when and where did you acquire the necessary skills? My undergraduate degree was in Computer Information Systems but I took several business classes. Pursuing my MBA taught me a lot about the business world and financials. But I would say my love for fashion has taught me the most. I started working in retail at age 16 and my first job was in my godfather’s boutique in East Baltimore, DaDa's Fashions. I fell in love with the entire process of owning a retail store! The faithful customers, the inventory, even folding the clothes to perfection... There's an art and you have to love what you do! I remember the first time I ordered a shipment for the store- it was major! (haha) And even seeing the wholesale prices and understanding what price we had to mark the merchandise to make a profit... For some reason I remember all of those details.
3. What was your first job out of college and how long did you hold that position? My first job out of college was working at the hospital as a patient transporter. I needed a job and fast because I had to take care of my 2 younger sisters... I hated the job and I only made about $8 or $9 something an hour so I also had to get food stamps and work first assistance from Social Services. So I was 23 and taking care of my 15 and 17 year old sisters... I stayed there for a few months until I got a job with Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC. I felt like I was moving up when I got that $12.35/ hour! I was still 23 so that was a lot for me or so I thought.
4. What were your initial goals for Pink Culture Truck? How have they evolved? My initial goals for PCT were to just get my name there and find a location to pop up... We launched in Aug 2013 and my name already buzzing around town! It hasn't even been a year yet, but I've learned so much so fast!
5. What advice would you give your 25 year old self? Advice to my 25 year old self... *Hmmm* Know your worth! This will pass! Remember God has a plan for you! It gets better so enjoy the ride! & Travel more, even if you go by yourself, discover something new!!!
6. What skills have you learned from being an entrepreneur that anyone would find value in? Since being an entrepreneur I've learned a lot about marketing and public relations. When you work for yourself you have to know your brand, stay true to your brand and make sure people know your story.
7. Do you have a particular quote or verse that keeps you motivated that you would like to share? My favorite quote is: Favor ain't fair!
8. What is a typical day like for you? A typical day for me... Well I'm a stay at home mom so I'm with my 11 month old throughout the day while I'm checking emails, posting on social media, searching for new inventory, and cold calling for new opportunities for my truck!
9. What was the biggest obstacle you faced while pursuing your dreams? The biggest obstacle I've had so far was here in Winston, NC, trying to get added to a particular food truck rally which I have yet to be apart of because "I don't sell food" but I don't have these issues in Greensboro or Charlotte but to each, it's own. God has shown me a lot of favor!
10. Is there anything else you would like to share? My advice to anyone pursuing their dream is to leverage their passion and never give up!