We had the good fortune of connecting with Najah Muhammad Cross and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Najah, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risks are necessary to move forward. They can liberate you. The Notorious B.I.G. once said, “you can’t change the world unless we change ourselves.” That’s been an important mantra in my life. Sometimes changing qualities about ourselves is a risky task. Risks have forced me out of my comfort zone and have challenged me to put myself in the spotlight. I took a risk when I made Beaded By Na, my customizable jewelry brand, a full-time obligation while I was in school and working. This was unfamiliar territory because I had to teach myself about the business. As a start-up, I didn’t have financial assistance from outside sources and was forced to use my own funds to invest in my products.Taking these risks have shaped me into a young woman that trusts her judgement and embraces her visions.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My company, Beaded By Na, is customer oriented which means when we display our pieces we like to focus on the “muses” that wear them. My supporters bring our products to life and our primary goal is giving our muses a sense of confidence when wearing our jewelry. I am mostly proud of what Beaded By Na taught me about myself and business. It has taught me that I’m more resilient than I thought I could ever be and that I should always persevere even if I don’t feel confident enough to do so. The road has never been easy but without my muses, my company wouldn’t have expanded as much as it has in the past 4 years. I’ve also learned that success may not be waving a big sign in your face that says “YOU WON” but the impact you have on others defines success just as much. I want the world to know I’m someone influenced by my experiences and environments. My brand tells my story from early childhood to adulthood and who I want to be in the future.
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?
On Monday, I would take them to a nice brunch. DC is well known for their food scene and I think an appropriate first-timer spot like Society or Park on 14th would be nice spots to get drinks and amazing food. On Tuesday, I’d take my friend to the Glenstone Museum in Potomac that incorporates any art lover’s admiration for contemporary/modern art, nature or architecture. For them this would be a relaxing atmosphere to help eliminate feelings of stress and anxiety during their trip.
Wednesday, it’s time to start the activities that are reminiscent of our childhoods. Roller Skating at the local rink has always been a fond memory for me. The fear of getting back on those four wheels after years could be exhilarating. Pizza and nachos at the snack bar would end the night before returning the skates and heading home.
Thursday, day trip to NYC! After a 4 hour bus ride we’d stop at a cook shop for my friend to try some authentic Caribbean food. For a sense of spontaneity I’d take her to The Edge New York for a breathtaking view of my home city.
Friday, our last day together before my friend heads back home would be a dance class with Royal G. This class is loaded with different techniques from the African diaspora. I think we’d both really enjoy this class because of our love for West Indian culture!
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?
I would like to give a shoutout to my family, BG4L(my friend group), Imara Roose and my alma mater, Bowie State University. The people I mentioned have contributed so much to my mental and emotional being. These individuals have given me chances to showcase my business, modeled for my company and more. I love them for all they’ve done for me. I want to make sure I share the values I’ve learned from them and create the same opportunities for others.