We had the good fortune of connecting with Angelica Collins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Angelica, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I was five years old I picked up my very first flat head screwdriver. On a hot summer day in Charleston, SC my dad bundled an XXL shirt around my small body and showed me the power of using my gift. My dad is the proud owner of AAA Appliance Care, a premier appliance care business in Charleston, SC, and growing up I would always ask him “why don’t you get a normal job, you have your bachelor’s degree?” and he always replied, “because having my own business means I set the standards for the value of my time.” It took me some time to understand that concept, but once I earned my first dollar by screwing a screw in the back of a washing machine and tasted the first feeling of freedom, I understood.
Charleston, SC, is notoriously known for its role during slavery. The markets where slaves were sold were still standing while young black boys approach passer buyers hoping to sell them a hand-woven sweetgrass ross, the same grass my ancestors wove. I love the spirit of entrepreneurship they carry, but I also feel this is a practice of suppression and the generations that proceed with me will feel freedom.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I started my own business because I know that my life is more valuable than a calculated decimal, understanding that obstacles come with every aspect of life and at times you can’t control the actions of others.
Growing up I was surrounded by love, both my mother and father showered us with love and showed us the results of the determination. My mother found the best schools for us to attend and at these institutions of “higher education” I experienced years of racism and I was confronted with obstacles that displayed color bias and these acts of reform placed me in an awkward space with white Americans, at times feeling “too black” and other times feeling “too white”. I adapted to the situation by becoming a chameleon and as a young, black, talented but poor girl I was exposed to better opportunities, but by the hand of these white Americans because my mother pushed for knowledge in her children. Once during my freshman year in High School my freshman year I opened up about where I lived and people looked at me differently like I needed extra help, so further on I would lie about where I lived to my peers because I didn’t want to seem “too poor”. My high school opened my eyes to a new world and with a three-hour drive between us by way of a bus that came to get me at 5:00 am each morning I painted the picture of the “perfect school girl”.
Leaving High School and moving onto college I came to the consensus that I will not conform to please the descendants of my ancestor’s slave masters! Starting my own business meant being free. It also means being yourself at all times and shining your light no matter where you are. I also what white and white-washed black people who wanted to change me into a cookie-cutter, perfectly laid hair “Oreo” that I AM NOT YOUR MODERN SLAVE! When I left my corporate job a little over three years ago I told myself “I will not work for the approval of those who don’t understand my calling, but I will work for the freedom that I deserve”. Starting my business meant that I defeated modern slavery, taking back my power and giving me the chance to live free.
The Black Ruby Barb is a beautiful fish that lives in the bottom of the ocean, even though it at times isn’t always seen that does mean that it isn’t beautiful. Starting my own media company also means bringing the light to dark places and also shining my light in dark places. BlackRuby shines the light and even during those early morning drives in high school I knew it all had a purpose since I’ve worked with some of the biggest names Teyanna Taylor, August Alsina, I was a photographer at the 2019 BET Awards, I’ve created content with Rock Nation and I’ve traveled the world by using my gift and that’s what I love that most, the freedom.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite place is Piedmont park, I go there to sun gaze , pray , run or even have a picnic. If I had a friend come into town that’s the first place I would take them because it’s free and as an entrepreneur honestly speaking I don’t always have the funds to do “ fun things” so I find free things that I find fun. BeeOnEdgewood is also another place I would take them , it’s a black family owned and operated business which reaches out to the community in a better way by providing a safe place for individuals who don’t smoke or drink but what to come and enjoy a nice night out. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Joe Collins, a man with patience, courage, and the strong desire to tell a joke in the middle of a serious conversation. Remember take your daughter to work day”? No? Well, I do. Before the age of five, I remember my dad brushing up my hair, dressing me in his XXXL work button-down, and tying a rubber band on the back of the shirt so it would fit properly. My dad is also an entrepreneur and he has always shown me the ropes when it comes to how to carry myself, money management, and what it means to be an adult. My dad is my everything and he was also my very first mentor. One day I remember he bought me some lunch after a long day of work and when he paid me for the day he deducted my lunch money, although upset at the time , that moment taught me a valuable lesson that I will never forget…always let the man pay first haha – no it taught me about money management and the importance of saving before spending and I still carry those values today.