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

Hi Kamika Marie, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
Honestly, my faith and trusting God. My life has definitely took some turns, things that I had no control over. Instead of fighting to control a situation, I have faith. Believing that something good will come out of chaos, has always proved to bring in that good. I don’t worry about minor or major situations for that matter. I address every thing as it comes, and from a perspective that this will turn out for my good. Never fails, it always has.

What should our readers know about your business?
Well I started my entrepreneur journey back about 10 years ago. I had moved to Miami in 2010. I had just graduated college in NYC. I had a Masters Degree in PR and got hired to work fashion week in Miami, so me and my mom packed up my car and drove down to Miami from NC. I worked the fashion week gig and then I just ended up staying. Moving here was a bit difficult. Socially, living in Miami was awesome, however it was so difficult to get a job. My resume was great: In NY I had worked at VIBE Magazine, Island Def Jam, had projects working at the UN, and so on, but for some reason I couldn’t land a job for anything, so I ended up working as a hostess at a Italian Restaurant/Lounge in Brickell. The money at first wasn’t the best. Our checks from them used to bounce all the time. I’d be at work literally crying because they couldn’t pay us. But I kind of just stuck it through. I moved from hostessing to waitressing, to bartending, to bar manager. Well pretty much everyone else quit, and I stayed so I had to do multiple jobs. In 2011, we had like 4 deaths in the family all together, My uncle in March, my grandmother and dad in April, and then my other uncle a few months after that. So I was out of work a bit from having to go home to NC to be with family. For about a year, it was a struggle. I would literally go out to clubs with promoters because before the club started, they would have dinner for the girls coming to party so at least I know I’d eat that night. One of my friends who was a promoter that I would go out with, she was from Brasil. She constantly told me that I need to open a boutique or do styling because many of the other girls used to ask her, “where did Mika get her clothes, etc, etc.” Finally after sending out what seemed like thousands of job applications a day, I felt like well maybe I should try and start my own boutique because I can’t seem to land anything else. Looking back at it, not being hired was a blessing because it forced me to dive into the fashion world more. (I had did some fashion PR when I was going to school in NY.) So for months I stayed in and just worked on starting my own brand. Finally in September I launched my first fashion brand called Belle Muse. At the time I only had a website up and began a IG page for it. Someone reached out to me and said my brand looks great and that if I wanted, I could pay them $25 and they would post a photo on their page advertising my brand. They had like 1 million followers. I remember that was about all the money I had left. I sent them the $25 and called my mom pretty much saying that I’m going to have to pack up and move home because I had like no money left at all. Within about 10 minutes of the person posting, the first order came in. It was someone in Hawaii who ordered a white fringe bikini. I got so excited! Called my mom up and was like “Ma! I got an order!.” It was only for like $70 so even though I was excited I still thought I was going to be heading back home because I didn’t have anything for next month’s rent or anything. Soon as I hung up the phone with my mom, my next order came in and it was like for $800. Then I called my mom back and said “Mom, I think I’m going to be okay.”

I wanted to start a brand that focused more on the beauty of a woman. Being in Miami, and going out almost every night, most girls just wore the sexiest, tiniest outfit they can find. And that was their idea of making themselves feel the most beautiful. I wanted to start a brand that demonstrated that beauty is from within. You don’t need the skimpiest dress or to show off every part of your body to be beautiful.

I want to always support and lift up women and show that EVERY woman is beautiful, in their on right, in their own authority. Not because of a body type or a certain skin tone or hair style, but that beauty is something that is from within.

A big lesson I learned along the way is to not take things personal when it comes to business and also that all money is not good money!

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?
Hmm. I would take them to Italy. I’ve been traveling there for about 10 years now, and it’s like a 2nd home for me. I would definitely take them to Sicily because I love swimming every day and being close to the sea. We would eat at the mom and pops places, only where locals go. As well as friends’ families homes so that they can feel at home and try the most authentic food. We would have aperitivo every day and go to the disco in the evenings to dance off all the carbs. 1 week is not the most time, a month would be better, but I’d say We’d fly into Rome from Miami. Have 1 night in Rome. Have dinner at my favorite neighborhood spot, Bucaniera, and then maybe drinks at Room 26. Then the next day head to Sicily. Spend a few days going around the island. I don’t really go to party so much, but more so to relax and be with the sea. Then say also Puglia.

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?
My mom. My mom has been a rock in my life. When I had nothing, no money for food, no money for rent. When all I had was an idea and ambition to bring it to life, my was supported the idea. She believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. She trusted my intuition even when I thought at times, maybe I’m crazy. But she took my dreams and supported and believed in them like they were there’s. She is my teacher of strength and endurance. She’s lost so much but has remained strong. Her mother died in front of her when she was about 10 or 11. She was left alone to raise the younger siblings, her dad was an abusive alcoholic. She put herself through school. She lost her husband/my dad, my little brother, and some how some way she still hold her head up high and takes care of business. She is my example of a strong woman!

Website: www.belle-muse.com

Instagram: instagram.com/belle_muse

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kamika-marie-bb084516/

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