We had the good fortune of connecting with Eboni Stembridge and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eboni, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
The next single most important decision is to provide excellent customer at all times even when there is an adverse situation. I am very particular about how Eboni Ivory Memories is represented. Even with pressure to meet a deadline for a memorial service of a loved one, it is still important to be personable, understanding while providing the best product that is expected. We would never rush a job and provide mediocre service. The gratitude towards our customers is impeccable and we want them from start to finish.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Eboni Ivory Memories is driven by the ability to be creative and tell a story in every product created. We do NOT duplicate anything and everything is created from the “drawing board.” Originally my handmade invitations and unique invitations for any occasion was my focal point. However, I was also doing memorial programs. Well I don’t want to always promote “hey call me if any one passes in your path,” how insensitive is that? So I found myself wanting to offer my services during the passing of a loved one, but just not sure how to solicit. I began to find other avenues of sharing. I have had the opportunity to do several local icons, clients in other cities and for me it spoke volumes. Initially in this journey, I was trying to do corporate and build my legacy. But ironically, EVERY TIME I felt I was going to get that consistent check and build, I would neglect my dream because I was comfortable. Then from a spiritual standpoint, everytime I made a decision to go left, I was steered to the right, back toward my purpose that I was placing on the shelf. I dibbled and dabbled in being consistent for 10 years. In 2015 while working at a reputable transportation company, I was diagnosed with cancer. Unable to work, flying back and forth to the cancer center in Philadelphia, I said what do I do now? I had to go back and fall on my God-given talent to feel good about the contribution to my household. Got back on my feet, but after losing the job, decided to get another one. So here I go again, working a job, content with a check, but neglecting my business/ my purppose. Unfortunately, had a tragic accident, unable to walk/or drive, losing another corporate job because of health, I found myself back at square one. I was down, it wasn’t easy. I had no motivation to do anything. My family was telling me keep pushing, your product speaks for itself. It shows your passion and compassion for others. But as many people that believed in me and my creative craft, I was skeptical. Questioning, could I survive in this industry. I begin to step out on faith. I committed myself to the build of Eboni Ivory Memories. With the many obstacles I have gone through, losing close loved ones, going through adverse situations, I am able to understand my families I serve and I create from my heart. EVERY creation is from the heart. I listen, I catch tears, I help navigate fears of deadlines, and while doing all of that I am personable. I care just as much as the consumer does. Money doesn’t drive me, seeing my client happy and helping them tell a story or celebrate a milestone is what drives me. It is my goal to visually tell the story of loved one who is now a memory or celebrate one of the best days of your life. I know that when the final product is presented it is emotional. I carry the consumers heart in my hand as I work with them through this process. I LOVE WHAT I DO and that’s why I can provide creative, unique and memorable keepsakes for families. I finally realized that all of the obstacles that I had been through were leading me to build, with faith! It was then I decided to be obedient and follow the footprints of encouragement, love and prayers and JUST BUILD! This is just the epitome of EBONI IVORY MEMORIES and I promise to always deliver!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well since you asked……LOL. Of course we would have to definitely get some lemon pepper wings. I can eat these everyday if somebody could convince me that I would shed a few pounds in the process. I know everyone use to think the staple is the Varsity. Now don’t get me wrong the Varsity is great, but you must get wings and fries, ALL FLATS. Then we will either go to Krispy Kreme or Cinnaholic. Oh my, we would just do both. And then the next day, let’s go to The Yard Milkshake Bar. Now I am not the biggest partier, well maybe so but I would much rather us inviting people to the house with my shoes off, hanging out with friends and family and listening to music. I am a lyricist (is that the word) but I listen to music to get me through any situation, lyrics move me. Even rap music moves me, based on mood. So we would definitely be listening to “CRUNK MUSIC” and singing. I would have to invite our best family friends, everybody are best friends in both families. We are best friends with the mom and dad, and our kids are best friends. When we get together we have 10 kids under the roof, just those 2 families. Who wouldn’t want to just come on over, anything goes! Bring your Karaoke game on. LOL, I know but just think, if you have a kid and want to hang out, we have 10 kids so bring your kid on over and he/she can hang out with our kids at the house! It’s perfect. I promise we cover every age group, don’t worry. My circle of friends and family have great hospitality, so gathering at the house would be my choice. My cousin Sonia would probably have a whole itinerary that she would put together for us to follow. LOL. Oh and if we were able to go to Helen, Georgia, we could tube down the Chattahoochee. But I will not attach myself to anyone but my daughter cause I don’t want to play any games or risk falling in the water, it would be the end of that venture. Im adventurous, love to have fun. Excited to try new things, within reason, Im not jumping out of a plane. Oh and by the way you asked something about a drink, ummmmm lets try coke. LOL, no but my favorite cocktail is a MAI TAI…….you should have one! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family has been very instrumental and extraordinary in providing support. This business has not been easy to build as a female in the funeral industry, its a male dominating industry. So when I am able to provide an impeccable product and customer service to families, It makes the demand increase and some days it takes a village to make sure the family is pleased. We could possibly have 5 families to service in one day and even though the pressure is on, my family will always step in to help. I don’t get much flack when they know projects HAVE to get done. So my immediate family consists of my parents, my spouse and my 4 children. As we continue to build Eboni Ivory Memories, my dad and spouse deliver, my mother and children help assemble, fold, staple, tie a bow or a knot, if that means getting the perfect product out the door in a timely manner. I appreciate them understanding the true meaning of team work. And because of this team’s work, my dream has worked!!!! Thank you family, yall mean the world to me and even though my grandparents are deceased, they are the ones I hear cheering me on and encouraging me when I may be in a space mentally when I think about the sacrifices I have made to build and help others, I hear their voice. So to EVERYONE who cheers me on, prays for this business, I thank you! And I dedicate my success to my family and those who have transitioned, Carl, Margie, Andrea and Beverly. My family is who I shoutout!
Facebook: Eboni Ivory Memories
Photo Credit: My children, my everythings, AJ and Deja