A Conversation with Nana Monney
I had the pleasure to chat with Nana Monney of XQuisite Soul about becoming an entrepreneur. I found Nana and XQuisiteSoul through a Facebook group for black, creative women called Black Women Who Plan and Create. For those that don’t know, I’m planner obsessed. When I found Nana’s planner stickers, I thought they were everything. I thought, “Where have I been? Why am I just now finding these amazing stickers full of black girl magic?” Answer: I wasn’t late. Her shop had only been open a few months! I had to track her down and pick her brain about getting these amazing products to the masses.
What lead you to XQuisite Soul?
I recently got into the planner community. I’ve always been into goal setting and writing things on paper. It wasn’t until December 2016 that I found Erin Condren. I fell in love because of her customization and was able to pick the layouts and the cover that suited my personality and style. And from there I got into a deep, dark hole about stickers. I started ordering stickers before I got my planner. I didn’t even know what Etsy was, but I started to question. ‘Why are all these stickers blonde hair, blue eyes?’ I never found anyone that looked like me. When they did randomly have dark skinned stickers, it would be a white woman with a tan. It started to really annoy me bc it didn’t represent me. So my husband said, ‘Why don’t you just create it? Go for it.’ I had no idea. I felt like this was a need. I’m a black woman, dark skinned and very curvy. In January 2017, I made the goal to open up my own shop. My mission is to fill the need for women who can’t find stickers that represent themselves. I want to have a shop that everyone can shop. But mainly to fill the need to find stickers that represent them. That’s my goal.
How did you come up with the name?
I’m a very spiritual person. Crystals. Tarot card readings. Your higher self. That’s who I am. When I was thinking about naming the shop it came to me pretty quickly. And I knew I wanted a name with soul and my shop to be unique and delicate, and pretty, and nice and EXQUISITE! It came to me quickly and it just worked.
How does it feel to have such a following?
I started with 147 followers Instagram and now I have over 3,000. I’ve been open close to 5 months now and I need to sometimes step back and say “Wow, look what you’ve accomplished.” I come home from work and work on this. I’m a mom and wife, so life is crazy for me. I need to step back and pat myself on the back. I have to remind myself to chill and say I’ve done really well with what I’ve accomplished in 6 months.
I didn’t even know about BWWPC until after I opened my shop. I love it because they’re really passionate about it. I am a user of the products. When I make stickers, I make stickers what I like and I hope someone else will too. I’m always excited when I introduce something new. I try to be unique. I try to offer stuff that you can’t see in any other shop. I’m trying to think outside the box.
What challenges did you face getting started?
I still face challenges today. The first one would be “How do I do this?” I didn’t have a printer at home. Sticker paper–What type of paper do people like? I didn’t know where to buy sticker paper. I live in Canada where it’s very difficult– in the states, there are so many more manufacturers for stuff like this. Learning how to cut the kits. How to use the machine. The machines are very moody. I thought it was my machine but I learned all the machines are testy. There are many times when I want to take the machine and break it into pieces.
What came easiest to you?
Creating. Creating is such a fun part. The most fun is coming up with things to create. I have a million and ten ideas. I think I had less than 10 listing in the shop starting out. I’m constantly creating. As soon as I release something, I’m already working on 2-3 different projects. My favorite part is coming up with what I think is going to be hot and dope and hope people are gonna love it because I love the idea. Another fun part is when my XQyuisiteSouls receive their product and love it. It feels like what I’m doing is more than stickers. I was a customer too. I couldn’t find anything that looked like me. When I finally see the end product and customers love it, I literally cry.
Why not work under someone else? What was so appealing about starting your own shop?
Because when I thought of the idea, I didn’t even know what an Etsy shop was. I’ve always been entrepreneurial. I was involved with a multilevel marketing business. And that gave me a foundation for setting up and running my own business. I stopped because it didn’t align with my values and beliefs. But I was always into coming up with ideas and doing your own thing. My full-time job pays the bills, but it’s not my passion. I’ve always had the goal of retiring out of the day job and going with my love of the planner world and stickers. I have a more creative mind. Outside of work, I can be myself. My mom was entrepreneurial. She’s a nurse but she always had a side gig. Like her, I was looking for something else to do. Every time I started to doubt myself, I was shown signs that I’m on the right path. This is my passion. This gives me joy.
Who was your biggest cheerleader starting out?
My husband. He has a couple businesses himself.
Do you have a team?
It’s just me and an artist. I come up with ideas and she breathes them to life. She is the XQuisite to my Soul.
Advice for those just starting a business?
Pick something that you love. something that revives you when you’ve already worked a full day. It shouldn’t feel like a chore, something you dread doing. Pick something that when you get home past 9 pm, it brings you life to work on it.
Plan it out – I didn’t know where to start. Brainstorm. Write down everything. How to do this or that. Brain dump it. Start with 1 and break it down into smaller steps. It may take 10 minutes or a week. Once it’s done, tick it off the list. Every day you’re learning. If something doesn’t work, switch it up. Use the 3Ts, 3 little things you need to push you toward your goal.
Nana’s product list is ever growing. Living up to her mission, she has something for multiple body types, skin tones, hairstyles, and cultures. Some of my favorites are her Zodiac kits, Goddess collection, and XQuibis. She also has a sale every Tuesday! If you looking for some fabulous, fun, and flawless stickers, stop by and take a look for yourself.
Nana even provided 10% off for SBL readers: XQS10