Name: Alysha Sample
Alma Mater: Prairie View A&M University
Business Name & Description: Pearluxe / We specialize in custom made accessories & clothing that accentuate any ensemble and appeal to the chic urbanite.
What year did you found your company? 2011
What was the most exciting and/or fearful moment during your HBCUpreneur career? My most exciting moment would have to be making my first sale. It was an exhilarating experience to know that someone admired my creativity and wanted to have a custom piece made by me.
What made you want to start your own company? I started my own company because I simply wanted to be my own boss. I’ve always known that a regular 8-5 job was just not for me because I like to be on my own schedule. Since graduation, I have learned this even more. Starting Pearluxe, gave me an opportunity to do something that I love, and nothing warms my heart more that being able to share my designs and creations with the world.
Who was the most influential person/people for you during your time in college? I would have to say the most influential person to me during my time in college was my mother, Lisa Sample. She is such an inspiration. No matter what she was there with me every step of the way and I greatly appreciate her for all that she has done and continues to do.
How do you handle complex problems? I handle complex problems by identifying the root of the issue so I can have a clear view of what the problem is. Once that is established, I face it head on and begin actively working to resolve it. I never dwell on problems because they are only temporary and once addressed they will no longer have power over you.
What is something you wish you had known prior to starting your company? I wish I would have know more about the financial side of owning a business especially when it comes to the matters of the state, such as taxes. I learned a valuable lesson early on in my business and educated myself so that I wouldn’t be faced with any similar issues moving forward.
What do you believe HBCUs can do to spur more innovation and entrepreneurship while their students are in school either as undergraduate or graduate students? I believe more one-on-one meetings and fairs with entrepreneurs would be very valuable. As a Political Science major in college, I felt that those opportunities were primarily reserved for Business majors. I also believe that school wide entrepreneurship initiatives and endeavors would be quite beneficial because I don’t believe that a person will find true happiness in their career until they are doing something that they absolutely love.
How do you deal with rejection? Dealing with rejection is something that I’ve had to deal with a few times since I started my company. You have to have a tough skin. There will be obstacles on the path to success but you will definitely become a better person and business owner because of it.
When you have down time, how do you like to spend it? I like to spend my downtime traveling, exploring new places, spending time with family and friends, reading, and watching movies.
What was your most memorable HBCU memory? I would have to say the year I traveled with my school to the 2009 SWAC Championship in Birmingham, AL where we WON. That was one of the best weekends of my college career because the school spirit was so high. It was such an honor to be able to enjoy that moment with my friends and classmates.
In leaving is there any advice you have for budding HBCUpreneurs? Please research the market that you would like enter and see exactly where your type of business would fit into it. You will also need determine how your business with stand out among the competition. Once that is done, make it happen. Time waits for no man so create your opportunity and watch yourself prosper. You will definitely be glad that you did!