Have you ever sat alone, in deep thought wishing that for one second you could take all of your mess, stick it in a bottle and let it go on its merry way?
Well, that is exactly the vision that Kalilah Wright, Founder and CEO of Mess in a bottle had for her company. While sitting at her 9-5 listening to Chance the rapper, Kalilah noticed the logo of his album was a message in a bottle. With the name being used by another person/company, Kalilah decided that, since she was a mess and that her life was a mess, [at that time] “MESS in a bottle” would be a better name for her current situation.
Kalilah’s vision for her brand was birthed in July 2015 and established as a company in January 2016.
Often times, successful entrepreneurs are viewed a certain way based on what they share on social media. I asked Kalilah to share with me something about herself that her followers may or may not know.
“I am an Architect and Designer by trade. I have a Masters in Architecture and I am a creative, but I think you can tell that from my page. I am Jamaican born but I was raised in Brooklyn, New York, so I am a Jamaican, Brooklyn girl that’s creative”.
A Jamaican, Brooklyn (stand up!) girl who is creative. Well, it only makes since for a girl with two backgrounds to have such a creative spirit and an entrepreneurial drive.
Anytime an entrepreneur launches a new company, it is always the hope that your first customer will be a family member or a close friend. Why, because family supports family. Well, in most cases, it doesn’t always work out that way. And that’s okay! You can’t take business personal, right?
Luckily for Kalilah, she had the support of her friends and family from the very beginning.
“My friends and family have always been very supportive of my businesses. They have always pushed me and saw that I’ve always been an entrepreneur and a creative. So, honestly, my family/friends, community and fans have been my biggest supporters. They post, share and tell their friends about me. So, I didn’t experience where my friends, family and community weren’t by biggest supporters”.
I mentioned to Kalilah that the amount of support that she receives has to feel really good. Often times, entrepreneurs are willing to give up the first time they hear NO or don’t receive the amount of support that they feel they should.
When asked about the challenges that Kalilah has faced being a black entrepreneur, she stated that once she turned her side hustle into a real business, she began to experience the challenges of growing pains where it became hard to scale her business and figure out different processes.
If you have children and own/operate a business or multiple businesses, it can be challenging to juggle everything on your plate. I asked Kalilah to share how she balances motherhood and successfully running her business.
“It is definitely difficult doing both, but for the most part I just try to throw the towel in when I’m tired. When I’m mentally and physically exhausted at motherhood and my business, I try to tell myself THATS IT. I’ll tell my mom or tell someone, hey can you come down and get my son for a couple of days. I do try to hold on to whatever I have left in me and not let that ruin me, because if you take on too much it can. I also have to take a step back when I’m taking on too much”.
Sometimes you have to learn when to push the plate back and walk away from the table.
I am always eager to hear entrepreneurs share the best business advice that they have been given, sharing is caring and it just may help the nest person.
Kalilah shared that the best business advice that she has been given thus far is to “Allow yourself to fuck up, the mistakes are going to happen and no matter how hard you try to go around certain things, they are still going to happen. The End. You have to let the mistakes happen so that you will know what to do differently the next time”.
If you sit at your work desk Monday through Friday contemplating quitting your job to go and take a leap of faith to pursue your goals and ambitions, you may want to take a few steps back. This step back will be to make sure that you have some or at least a few of your ducks in a row to prepare you for the bumps in the road that you may experience.
Kalilah’s advice to the young black entrepreneur who is ready to throw the towel in on their Corporate America job to chase their dreams…
“Chile, its going to be hard, lots of hard work, tears, late nights, heartburn, anxiety but its going to be very rewarding if that’s what you really want, and if that is what you are destined to be then it will be. Just know that it won’t be a walk in the park and it isn’t something that anyone can prepare you for, your journey is your journey”.
In any successful business, you should have long and short-term goals. Kalilah excitedly shared that in 2018 we can expect MESS in a bottle vending machines.
Visit MESS in a bottle
Follow on IG @messinabottle