“She Did That.” is the first full-length documentary focusing the lens on Black women building brands and legacies. The film explores the passionate pursuits of Black women and their entrepreneurship journeys. We caught up with filmmaker, Renae Bluitt to find out more about this dope project.
What inspired the creation of this documentary?
“She Did That.” was inspired by the resiliency and brilliance of Black women. It was inspired by each and every woman I’ve interviewed and met through my blog, In Her Shoes, which is my love letter to Black women entrepreneurs. In 2015, I decided it was time for me to tell these stories through a different medium.
I wanted to dig deeper, I wanted to give the next generation an opportunity to see what it really takes to be an entrepreneur – the highs, the lows, and everything in between. Social media gives us the highlight reel of entrepreneurship and is often times misleading, as it makes the lifestyle look shiny and glamorous.
Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely glamorous moments, but it’s also one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do. It brings out our greatest strengths and amplifies our weaknesses and insecurities. Despite all of this, it’s also extremely gratifying and to date, has been one of the most rewarding journeys I’ve been on.
How did you select the women featured in the film?
Selecting the women to feature in the film was no small feat. I knew I wanted someone who has been in the game for years. Someone who launched their business long before social media and the digital resources we have now, but is still relevant and thriving. Someone who paved the way for many of the Black women entrepreneurs we admire and support today. That person is the iconic Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter.
I knew I wanted a woman who was on an unconventional path. Someone who’s road to success wasn’t linear. And someone who wasn’t born and raised in this country. That person is Luvvie Ajayi, New York Times Best Seller and the author of “I’m Judging You.”
I knew I wanted a woman in the film who was honest and vulnerable about the dark times that eventually led to her success and fueled the mission of her brand. That person is Tonya Rapley, founder of My Fab Finance.
And last but certainly not least, I wanted someone in the film who took a huge risk by leaving their “good” job in Corporate America, to bet on themselves. Someone who wanted to fill a void and wasn’t afraid to keep going after hearing “no.” Someone who is committed to disrupting their industry. That person is none other than Melissa Butler, founder of The Lip Bar.
While these are the main subjects, there are also quite a few other dynamic women in the film sharing their entrepreneurial journeys. When people watch the film, they’re always surprised to see how many other women they know and love are featured!
For a decade, you’ve covered Black women entrepreneurs via In Her Shoes Blog. Is there a common trait that you’ve observed in the businesses that have beat that odds, survived and are successful today?
The most common trait is sticktoitiveness. Any entrepreneur who has reached a certain level of success has experienced challenging times and countless reasons to throw in the towel, but they didn’t. Knowing when to pause, take a break to refuel, and get back in the game is key.
The women featured in “She Did That.” have pushed through experiences that would have forced most of us to give up, but they didn’t. They kept going, kept building their legacies, and kept inspiring.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Trust and enjoy the journey. I’ve been guilty of not being in the moment and always thinking about what’s next. Some of this is just who I am (ambitious + a little impatient), but it’s also the world we live in. Almost every time I’m out at an industry event, someone asks me “what’s next?” My response is “what’s next is what’s now.”
We don’t allow ourselves enough time to celebrate our current wins, or even fully maximize what we’re working on, because we’re always looking ahead or to our left and right, comparing our journey to someone else’s. Planning for the future is important, but enjoying the journey, and being grateful for our lives now, the space we’re in today, is key.
In terms of enjoying the journey, we have to understand that even if we haven’t reached our ideal career destination, all of the experiences we’re having are leading us to that next level. I’ve been doing PR for years, and never imagined that the storytelling skills I’ve developed and sharpened with my clients, would benefit me as I explore film as a new medium for storytelling.
Also, my PR and marketing skills have really helped me to build the buzz and visibility for this project. I’ve been able to take this film on as one of my clients, and I must say, I’m extremely proud of where its been and where it’s going.