Women's History Month Spotlight: Melody Johnson
Introduction written by Carolyn Tucker
In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting these inspiring local women entrepreneurs. Each business owner featured here has been selected by the WISE Women’s Business Center for their entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to bettering the lives of women and their community. Each of them is either a partner or client of the WISE Women’s Business Center.
WISE Women’s Business Center helps women start and grow their own businesses. WISE offers free business counseling and targeted training sessions to encourage strategy and access to smart resources and capital. Check out wisecenter.org for more information!
Q&A with Melody Johnson, Owner, Divine Coverings
Uniquely elegant and beautiful products-hand designed & handcrafted for women from all walks of life.
What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?
I view business ownership through the multi-faceted lens of empowerment. I am most excited about the visibility it brings in the marketplace so that people of color, especially women both young and seasoned, can see what’s possible for themselves. I believe representation matters and it’s my responsibility as a leader to deliver access to envision what’s possible.
What made you decide to start a business?
I come from a family of very creative minds and hard-working people, but we were very poor. There wasn’t ever anything extra so I started a side hustle at the age of 8 – delivering newspapers to the women in my 21 story projects building in Harlem. It always seemed to me that there was a way to make extra money and through the years, I dabbled in just about everything, some successes and some failures. In 2016, I discovered that there was a market for the marriage of my passion for empowering women in celebration of that fierce dazzle we all possess and beautifully designed products I created for myself. There was a way to make money doing what I am gifted to do and that was the year Divine Coverings was born. Divine Coverings started as a side hustle, like many businesses do, and is now the focus of my entrepreneurial journey.
What advice would you give to those looking to start a business?
I would strongly advise anyone interested in starting a business to:
- Examine, envision and be clear about your “WHY” for starting your own business. Who do you want to serve? Why is it important to deliver your product or service to the masses? Your “why” has the potential to keep you motivated when life shifts unexpectedly. Change is inevitable, but your “why” can empower a pivot that might enable you to service your market in a new and innovative way.
- Engage a business coach/counselor to help with those early steps. This may seem laborious and an impediment to getting-it-done; however, time is our most valuable asset and having the advice of a resourceful and experience counselor will save time and possibly money in the long run.
- Discover what you love to do, what brightens your heart, what ignites your soul and do that.
What are some of the challenges and joys specific to being a woman entrepreneur?
There are still pockets of the business world dominated by men that require women to be more creative, persistent and strategic to be successful in. That challenge is doubly true for women of color. I see the ultimate challenge as access. Access to knowledge & to resources – financial and relational is the game changer. There are rooms that women aren’t invited to so we have to collaborate to create our own network of rooms. Once we do, that’s when joy surfaces. There is immeasurable joy in collaboration to ensure that we rise together. I believe women are endowed with a bulldog tenacity that keeps us pressing forward despite intense challenges. And the greatest joy is connecting with another women so that success is more of a “we” experience than an “I” experience.
How does your business create a positive impact on women?
Divine Coverings embodies the truth that every woman possesses a fierce dazzle that deserves to be celebrated in a very real and visible way. Every product is uniquely designed to celebrate the beauty of a woman’s life and various stages of her life. From bling bridal bouquets to new baby/baby shower bedazzled piggy banks; from blinged sunglasses and fashion frames to bedazzled reading glasses; from blinged coffee/tea tumblers and water bottles to rhinestoned wines glasses and glassware. The joy I’ve seen from little girls who wear a pair of my Princess-sized shades to the business admin who uses the blinged office supply set designed in her favorite colors, tells me that Divine Coverings add the fuel to that fierce dazzle. The Divine Coverings woman feels special and celebrated with my products in her life. And that’s what I love to do. That’s my “why”.