Grits Co. is a southern lifestyle brand created to graphically represent the southern experience in an unapologetic way. We spoke to founders, Toya and Reuben Levi to find out how they balance business and family.
What inspired the creation of Wear Grits?
Wear Grits was inspired by the narratives of our southern lifestyle. We wanted to create something that reflected our lives and ancestors.
How did you meet each other?
We met through a mutual friend at a Hip-Hop event in Austin, Texas. The friend knew both of our backgrounds and thought we needed to know each other. We exchanged information and pretty much have been talking ever since.
In what ways do you have similar entrepreneurial traits and in what ways are you different as entrepreneurs?
We both have our strengths and we work well with them. We come together for the creative, but Levi is strong in design and Toya is strong in business management and marketing. We both know what it takes to run a successful business, so we know our roles to get the job done.
So far, what has been the most rewarding and the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?
The most rewarding thing would be teaching and showing our daughters so much about being an entrepreneur. Everywhere we go and every opportunity that we receive we make sure that they feel included in this family business.
Seeing them have pride in something that we are creating is the best gift. We don’t see anything as a challenge, just another lesson on our journey. Things come up all the time with business, but you figure it out and keep moving forward.
What advice do you have for couples that are in business together or thinking about it?
The advice we would give for a couple going into business together would be to know your role and be accountable for your actions. By going into business with a clear guideline on who is doing what will keep things running smoothly without over stepping boundaries.
Of course, you will be around each other more than a regular work relationship, so being clear with communication is also key. We encourage couples to do business together, but to remain patient and honest with each other through the process.
Where do you see the business in 5 years?
We plan things day by day, but of course we want to continue to be creative, more professional speaking engagements, more opportunity for our film, The Green Book Project, and so much more.
Tell us more about The Green Book Project.
The Green Book Project is a web documentary that will include photo essays and interviews across the United States about African American’s experiences. We look forward to traveling to new locations, hosting more Dinner Parties, and speaking engagements. We hope to release a few new dates by the beginning of 2019 please check out www.thegreenbookproject.com
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
No Grits No Glory, that is why our motto is so simple. Never give up. Things will be hard, but the struggle is a part of the story. Smile through the good and the bad, and always give yourself a pat on the back for taking the risk to do things on your OWN. Life is all about taking Risk and owning a business is a risk. Stay positive and get ready to work hard.
-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG@thebusyafrican)