We had the good fortune of connecting with Breonna Vereen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Breonna, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind my business and any success I’ve had up until this point is my faith in God. “Imani” mean faith in Swahili, and faith in God is what fuels me. There are a number of things that have happened within my span of doing business that cannot be explained. I now know that a situation that seems impossible with human resources is simply an opportunity for God. He has continuously showed up for me in unimaginable ways. I don’t take it lightly that he has blessed me with a gift of creativity and a platform.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Imani Cowrie is a 3D printed statement jewelry collection for bold women. Our collection of unique large and lightweight earrings challenge the perspective of what jewelry should and should not be. I’m excited about the opportunities within the 3D printing community and my crazy idea to bring 3D printing technology and education into the communities of people who look like me. Where I am today business-wise is a reflection of where I’ve been. All of my experiences whether personal or professional, jobs or internships, side hustles, and relationships that have been nurtured over the years have all contributed to this exact moment. I’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way that I feel have made me better equipped for this long term entrepreneurial lifestyle. It is not easy being an entrepreneur, especially having to wear so many hats in the beginning, but I can honestly say that if I had to do it all over again I would. Challenges present themselves at each new level of growth. I find a great deal of comfort in knowing that there aren’t any new problems and that in some shape or form someone else has or is experiencing the same challenge that I’ve been dealt. With this knowledge, I try to find real-time examples and solutions from other entrepreneurs either within my network, by picking up a book, or searching google. They say experience is the best teacher, but that doesn’t mean it always has to be YOUR own experiences. I’m not afraid to learn from the mistakes of others and save myself the time and coins. A daydream became a sketch, a sketch became a prototype, and prototypes became actual earrings. I’m still in awe of what we’ve been able to create. One thing I would want the world to remember about our story is that we went for it. I wasn’t the most prepared or skilled, but I’ve learned a lot along the way. If there is something on your mind that you can’t seem to shake you owe it to yourself to see it through as far as you can and no matter how big of an undertaking it may seem. Our gifts are bigger than ourselves, we have to treat them so.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a homebody so this question is tough. If someone was visiting though, I’d be sure to take them to see some of the murals around the city. My favorite is the “Big Dreams” mural on the side of R.L. Brown, my old elementary school. Nicole Holderbaum painted the mural and it’s something I wish I had seen when I was a student there. I’d also be sure to take them to visit the new mural off of Arlington Expressway, you can’t miss it off of the highway. The Wall of College Park was created collaboratively by eight artists: Nicole “Nico” Holderbaum, Anthony Rooney, Elena Ohlander, Ansley Randall, Christopher Clark, Martin Torres “Tilin”, Tatiana Kitchen and Steven Teller. Although I’m more likely to cook and entertain at home, I couldn’t let a friend leave Jax without getting some seafood, my favorite go-to places are Boiling Crawfish and Safe Harbor. Another hidden gem here is the French Pantry.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people that have had a role in my success thus far, but my parents and daughter I’d say deserve the most recognition in my story. Leaving the military was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made to date and moving back in with my parents takes second. My parents raised me to be very independent and I took pride in that, however, I knew the sacrifices I needed to make to go full throttle in my business. Though I was fully prepared to transition out of the military and on my own after my service commitment, I began to second guess that decision when I became pregnant with my daughter. Was my decision selfish? How would I be setting our family up for success through so much uncertainty? These questions almost overwhelmed me to the point of taking a job offer that I knew wasn’t for me. I remember my mom telling me that “no one is going to question a woman who has decided to take time off to be with her newborn child”. What she said changed everything. A challenge became an opportunity. Maternity leave is one of the few breaks in employment that employers will accept and I could use that time test the waters in business. I found comfort in knowing that should my business flop or take a while to gain traction I had leverage to fall back on. My family and friends constantly reminded me that I could always use my experience, education and recommendations if need be. In my head my move and the timing could not have been more perfect. Though my parents were definitely concerned, I’ve always had their support and my daughter reminds me every day to keep pushing! Without their love and encouragement, I would not have made the strides that I have thus far.
Donique Jones (Photographer) Cole LoCurto (Photographer) Asjia Lewis (Model)