We had the good fortune of connecting with Nia Michelle Hawkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nia Michelle, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My process to entrepreneurship started from childhood. My father owned a very successful courier service in Albany, Georgia, and my sisters and I had a daily obligation to the business. I remember waking up at 4 am before school to sort the books and packages, then catching the bus by 6:00 am for school. That lasted until the business grew to having employees and contractors work under him. My mother also owned several businesses including a fitness studio, girls empowerment coaching, and currently runs a life and mindset coaching business. Needless to say I grew up in an entrepreneurship household. It wasn’t until I got to college that really opened my mind up to the possibilities of business and entrepreneurship. My first mentor, Sherrell Byrd took me under her wing and made me chair of Albany N.E.X.T ( New Entrepreneurs Exceeding Together), the youth sector of her non profit Albany Business League. During that experience and my studies at Albany State University I was able to understand the time and effort that it takes to have and operate a successful business.
I graduated from ASU in may of 2020. My goal was always to go into entrepreneurship after college, I just didn’t know which avenue I would take. After months of thinking, stressing, and getting a job and having to let it go in the same month; I finally decided to surrender to GOD and let him order my steps. Days later VIBEZ GA was birthed.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
VIBEZ GA is a secret spontaneous concert that is held in random locations in Georgia. We invite artists and singer of all genres to join us on the stage or in the audience. What makes VIBEZ GA different from an average concert is what I call the formula: invite only, secret location, and the VIBE. I like to keep the concert invite only to control the energy that enters each event. To attend you must request an invitation through our website. To keep the “secret” each VIBEZ event is located in different places. We try to choose locations that aren’t typically used as concert/entertainment venues. Thus far we have used a basement of a home, a fitness studio, a home living room, and in May we will be at a Bakery. The last part of the equation is the VIBE. The VIBE is a combination of things: the atmosphere, the theme, the singers, but most importantly the collaboration. The audience is encouraged to add to the performance of the artists with singing, rapping, poetry, dance, and soon instruments. This creates a magical energy that sparks creativity and inspiration for everyone in the room.
VIBEZ GA was created for lovers of music and art of all kinds. There isn’t just one way to catch the VIBE. The VIBE may come in the form of singing, poetry, painting, or even dance. It’s about allowing yourself to be free to express how you feel. If you feel like singing.. sing. If you feel like stepping and creating a rhythm with your feet..do that! If you feel like just sitting and enjoying the experience, you can do that too. Sing what comes to your heart. Say what comes to your mind, but most importantly catch the VIBE!
The journey to creating VIBEZ GA was very challenging. It started with me graduating college from my living room in May of 2020 due to the pandemic. I was very fortunate to have a job offer that was in my field of Marketing. Once I started the job I was very dissatisfied. I woke up everyday dreading the work. I felt like there was something missing in my life but I didn’t know what It was. I did what I was taught to do by my parents, I prayed and asked God to lead me and 2 days later I quit my job. I felt confused and very uncertain, but I knew that there was more for me to do. I spent the entire month of July 2020 brainstorming and writing out ideas. I then put together the first experiment of what later turned into VIBEZ. The first event consisted of the few musicians and artist that I knew in the city of Albany. We gathered in my 500 square foot apartment and had a concert. The outcome of the concert was mind-blowing. To this day, that concert has been my favorite VIBEZ event. From that experience I added structure and created what is known today as VIBEZ GA. Since we started in July of 2020 we have had businesses, relationships, musical collaborations, partnerships, albums, and now a strong family that has birthed from VIBEZ GA. We currently only host events in Albany, GA but have plans to expand in the near future.
The most important thing I’ve learned since starting VIBEZ GA is the importance of patience. Starting any new venture requires time, money, learning, and faith. It takes time to build the foundation of a lasting company. It takes money/resources to maintain the integrity of your company. It takes faith in yourself to have fortitude and step out on the path of entrepreneurship. It takes a team to maintain the energy required to keep a business going and growing, Patience is the root of everything previously mentioned. Greatness takes time and work. It may start off as one thing and evolve into something else. Be patient and enjoy the process!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a huge shout out to my mother and father, Spencer and Detrell Hawkins. Their courage and dedication to raising 4 beautiful daughters while operating several successful business inspired me so much and gave me an example to follow on this scary pathway of entrepreneurship.
Shout out to my partner, photographer, and biggest supporter Richard A. Bailey ( Rich B.- Rich Vision Infinity)
Shout out to my church, Majestic Kingdom Embassy for pushing me to always be my creative and authentic self.
Shout out to recording artist, Timothy Leon who first introduced me to the possibility of music and arts as a career, and granting me the opportunity to sing bgv for him for several years.
Shout out to Albany State University where I completed my BA Marketing spring 2020. I learned and gained an array of knowledge during my time in the college of business.
Shout out to Sherrell Byrd who became my very first mentor and example of a multitalented lady boss!
Rich B. of Rich Vision Infinity