In the seventh episode of “A Drink With – Detroit” we have tea with entrepreneur and founder of Detroit is the New Black, Rosyln Karamoko. Roslyn opened her apparel company as a pop-up and today operates as a storefront on Woodward Avenue in the heart of the downtown revival. We talk about the sacrifices that come with entrepreneurship, how she came to Detroit for love and ended up falling in love with the city and why Detroit is an exciting place for new, fresh ideas.
Whether you’re a native Detroiter, a transplant or a boomerang, you can’t deny that what’s happening in the city is history in the (re)making. From the work ethic to the entrepreneurial spirit, Detroiters are rolling up their sleeves and rebuilding the city with the same determination as Henry Ford and Berry Gordy before them. And in the end, those visionaries, similar to the ones you’ll meet this season, not only shaped Detroit, they shaped the world. Once the fastest growing city in the world; the place that created America’s middle class. Detroit is still a city that breeds innovation.
Just like the city of Detroit, our guests have stories of perseverance and creativity. Why should you care? You’ll find motivation and inspiration to apply to your own life from listening to the dreamers, future leaders and risk-takers who are making a direct impact on the community. We talk about lessons learned the hard way, what it took to reach success, business advice and what makes Detroit special.
This season we’re partnering with Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit whose mission is co-creating independence and dignity through the power of personal and workforce development. Goodwill Detroit works to ensure that every neighborhood of Detroit experiences the kind of renaissance that we’re seeing in downtown and Midtown. We welcome Jessica McCall, the vice president of marketing and external affairs at Goodwill Detroit, as our special co-host. We’re asking listeners to use “#WhatsGoodDetroit“ when you come across something inspiring, notable or just plain good in the city.
We’re recording in the Foundation Studio at Detroit Foundation Hotel. Our official podcast studio is located within the beautiful boutique hotel which is the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters and Pontchartrain Wine Cellars.
Just a taste…
Why is Detroit a good place to start and grow a business?
Detroit feels like one of the last American cities where you can effect real change in a really impactful way. To start with nothing and make it into something… that American dream idea. It’s a city that’s kind of a bit unfinished and there is still so much work to do. You can come here and do that work in an impactful way. It’s exciting for a young person to say, “I have an idea and I can come here with nothing, actually build it and scale it to a real company and now I can be on Woodward Ave and sit next to Madewell.” You know what I mean? Where else can you do that? And it’s not just in retail. It’s a huge opportunity for tech entrepreneurs to come here. There’s space, there’s resources and support. Detroit is an exciting place for new, fresh ideas that are looking for space and opportunity to pursue them.
“Detroit wasn’t about fashion but I felt like there were so many Detroit pride t-shirts that were so blue-collar leaning and it was the same Detroit narrative. We know Detroit hustles harder, we know it’s versus everybody. We get it, it’s tough, but there was a new demographic coming into the city. It was a bit more cosmopolitan, it was a bit more contemporary and forward-looking and Detroit needed a brand that really could capture that current temperature in the city.”
What has been your biggest challenge over the years?
A challenge is honestly myself. Really when it gets down to it we don’t know what we don’t know, right? So when we are growing a business, you’re trying to go fast and you want to scale of course, you want to grow into a million-dollar business but you don’t know how. And so you don’t know the questions to ask. You don’t know where to start. So it’s the personal growth that has been the most challenging part. Like, “OK, Roslyn take a step back, what do you need to learn now? Who do you need to ask within your network, within your mentors? Who can help you move forward and are you disciplined enough to execute? Are you going to wake up every day at this time to do what you need to do to make it happen? Are you going to adjust your life and if need be stop drinking to get more sleep?” [It’s] really about learning about yourself and growing so that your company can grow. I think that for me has been the biggest challenge. It’s just maturing with the company.
Photography by Derrick Busman
Listen to the full conversation on Apple Podcasts or SimpleCast.
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