We had the good fortune of connecting with Zephaniah Kouakou and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Zephaniah, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am originally from Brooklyn, New York. Born and raised on Lincoln Place. By the time I was 7 years old is when me and my mother moved out of my grandmother house. From the ages of 8-10 is where me and my mother stayed in the shelter until we later moved to Queens where I spent the rest pre-teen/ teenage years. Growing up I used to get picked on for being the “Fat Girl” or not having the latest fashion like my peers so yea me and friends back then was a NO LOL. I never really had friends growing up and if I did, they weren’t really my friends for the right reasons. I was always the “Big Girl” in every setting from schools I attended, to the people I would hang out with. as a child turning into a teenager, I felt left out or as if I was missing something. even if I tried, I never really fit into any crowed I was around which made me feel unsure about myself. Looking back now and seeing how far I’ve came and seeing my growth, the young Zephaniah would have never thought we would be here, and I owe that to God, my mother and myself. With growing up without my father left my mother being a single parent. In that alone has really showed me the true definition of a Strong black women. The struggles and sacrifices my mother made to make sure that I had everything I needed and went the extra mile to get the things I wanted has really showed me that anything is possible and if you want something out of life you can do it as long as you put your mind to it and really work hard. She is the reason why I am the women that I am today. She started the foundation and It was up to me and God to handle the rest. Now starting my relationship with God also played a big part in who I am today learning to be patient with myself to be kind with myself being able to put my faith in him and knowing that everything will come in perfect timing and also falling in love with my journey and trusting the process. Praying for strength praying for guidance Learning to prey over my business Trusting that If I take one step God will take two more! Even though me and my mother didn’t have the best relationship growing up she is still my number one and she is where I get my motivation from. she is where my hustle insists kicks in, She is where my drive comes from. She pushes me to want a better life. She is the reason why I go so hard and try to better myself every single day. Without my mother installing certain things into me as a child I don’t know where I would be as women nor the business owner that I am.

What should our readers know about your business?
Branded By Zk Graphic & Branding Agency is where Luxury Branding and Marketing meet I help Women in business clarify their brand identity and help them in their marketing gaps taking their business to new heights in their industry with my creative skills and Marketing guidance. I specialize in all things Graphic, and I add services ever so often! Our main key things we focus on is Logo Development, Web Development, Branding Development! and Courses To feather break down our services we offer which is Branding Packages, Content Creation, Website designs, logo designs, business cards and thank you cards and so much more you name it we design it! We also offer photoshop course both prerecorded and live. We now offer 1:1 Zoom meeting calls which takes about 1-2 hours as opposed to our consultation calls which are 30 minutes both services can be booked on our site! I feel like what sets BrandedByZk apart from others is the look and feel of my brand and my thought process I use when I am communicating with my audience how I set goals and put plan in place to always go above and beyond for my clients and as well my business. I want others to feel like they are at a luxury store shopping for a Chanel bag! Its not the product you sell its the LIFESTYLE is what draws people! Building my brand has not been easy from the look of my brand down to every detail I drove myself crazy for some time lol it took me so many times to rebrand to find my perfect look for my brand not only something that I would be proud of promoting but also a brand my target audience can relate to! When you think of my brand, I want you to think of the emotion you get and what type of information can you learn from me to help you grow! Not only do we look luxury and professional but also our customer service and products also give our clients the luxury experience!

I am mostly proud of how far I have came with my business! I never thought that Graphic Designing would be something that I grew to have a passion for! I always had a business if anybody know me they know that I hate working for others! I started off by being a hairstylist I use to do my own hair since I was ten years old until I started to get better with my skills people start asking me if I can do their hair I did hair for some years until I started sell hair and make customize units! Including other things hair related I use to sell bundles, closure, frontals, and hair ties! I then went to work in a hair shop and shortly left after. After having a bad experience with a customer I fell out of love with doing hair. I knew that if one thing didn’t work for me then I need to find something that does. Shortly after I started to sell lashes then from that I rebrand and turned that lash line into a cosmetics and I sold out however, I knew that something was missing yes I was making money but I didn’t feel fulfilled. A couple of months down the line I was at a very humbling season in my life and still selling my cosmetics I had left, someone asked if I make YouTube intros not knowing anything about intros taking a leap of faith and needing money at the time I started to take clients and it started to grow way faster then expected. The more I started to see how I enjoyed doing this I took classes to perfect my craft and also to add full graphic services I grew to fall in love the importance of a graphic designer and the part we play in the business industry been going strong ever since.

My journey was and still is a process and I am learning new things every single day and yes things may not be easy and I feel like for me how I ever overcame anything within my business and how I got to where I am as a business owner today knowing my why, why did I start my business? and I feel like anything time my business isn’t easy I always go back to that question to remind myself of my why. Staying true to my authentic self is another thing that has got me through and mold my business. The lessons that I have learned in business is not everyone will see your vision, not everyone will clap for you and not everyone is going to support you in this journey this is going for friends and family! I also learned that people who don’t see your vision is okay because god didn’t make it clear for them because its not FOR THEM he implanted that in you because you was called for something much greater. It is up to YOU to make them see your greatest even if they may not see it today tomorrow keep doing you keep promoting that business they will come around in due time. Learning that just because I have a big heart that doesn’t mean I can take everyone with me. As a business owner you want everyone around you to win but people are put in your life for a reason and a season.

I hope from this people can take away that all things is possible I want people to trust their self to take a leap of faith start that business you always been wanting to start, start that podcast, start your content creation journey do whatever make you happy! and find a way to make money from it. I want people to start walking in that boss energy, walk into your true calling, never doubt yourself that there is no room for you or there isn’t a table for you to sit at MAKE YOUR OWN TABLE! and most importantly always be your number one supporter and live life unapologetically. I feel like my story and my brand story blends perfectly together because without my life story I wouldn’t have a brand story to begin with there is strength in your journey even if you may not think it is trust that everything your going through is your transition and that god cant give you the things you want without change! He allow things to happen to you for two reason one to bring your closer to him and two to build character. Believe in yourself, speak positivity into you, speak positivity in your business and trust the process. I also want people to know that I am still writing my story and this is only the beginning.

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 am such a introvert! but if I wanted to show my friend a good time in my city I would definitely take them to my favorite hookah spot not only do they have the best hookah but they have the best wings the best music and the vibe there is everything! if they are not into the night life I would take them to my favorite restaurant which is City Line Grill Bar they have the best drinks! and the food is everything!

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 want to give a BIG shoutout to the person that has clapped for me since day one! She has always liked, comment and shared my work always making sure that if someone need anything Graphic related, she referral them to me. She has always showed me so much support and if it wasn’t for her my story would have not been here! Andrea!! She was one of my clients and ever since working with her she has always showed me so much love! even when I want to give up some way somehow she always come at the right time either liking a post sharing it or even going out her way to do this for me. I love her to the moon and back I can’t thank her enough for this opportunity and She deserves her Flowers 10x! Please make sure to check her out she is a women of all talents From Makeup to Wig Construction tell her that Zephaniah sent you! Her business name is Ap Beauty and her Facebook is Andrea Peay

Website: www.brandedbyzk.com

Instagram: instagram.com/brandedbyzk

Facebook: facebook.com/brandedbyzk

Other: You can also follow my Tiktoks Brandedbyzk!

Image Credits
Andrea Peay

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