This blog is dedicated to the late Bernal Smith, who was theTri-State Defender owner/publisher and the visionary for the"Best in Black" awards Memphis. I am overwhelmed with emotions, as I prepare to type my first blog on one of the most awe-inspiring nights, that has transpired during my entrepreneurship.
The "Best in Black" awards is a 3 day weekend event that highlights black-owned businesses in the Mid-south. The visionary created this event after noticing black owned businesses not getting the attention he thought they deserved.
If I can be very transparent for a second, it would do my soul justice. I had never heard of the best in black awards show, until I became a business owner in 2016. As I researched and became more educated on the BIBA, my exact words to my fiance were "in 3 years I hope to be NOMINATED"! Yes, you heard me correctly I only wanted to be nominated and that would have done my soul justice!!! God had other plans and he saw fit to shake some things up!!! Keep reading!
1. The Nominations
I remember when the 2017 nominations opened! There was a lot of advertisement from the BIBA team in regards to casting our votes for our favorite black owned businesses in each respective area (clothing, food, finances etc). I was all over the place,it was time for the community to speak and nominate indivduals who we thought were worthy enough to carry the titles. I was excited to see who would be placed on the ballot for Best Boutique. It wasn't about me or C3, it was about having an opportunity created for us to be acknowledged on a larger scale. I went ahead and casted my vote for some of my favorite places and of course Classy Curves Couture got a vote (just for fun and I could not help myself)! My thoughts were racing, I was wondering if anyone had considered voting for me heck for that matter, did anyone even know of me. I slowly snapped back into reality and said remember young lady, it is not your time, year 3 is what you claimed! The votes during the nomination process is what got you on the actual ballot so the real voting could start. Well apparantely, there were others nominating C3 as well (I'm so grateful). After the nominations were closed the top 15 nominees were placed on the ballot to compete for the winning title of Best Boutique! Guess who made it Classy Curves Couture!!!! Omg, I did my happy dance all day long! I could not believe it, shocked is definitely an understatement! Alrighty, lets hustle up on these votes was all I could think of!
2. The Voting
Okay so no judgement, I got to my 9 to 5 the next day and I instantly sent out emails to my team, letting them know that Classy Curves Couture had been nominated for best boutique. I provided them with informaiton on where they could vote and also gave them the ground rules of voting. I sent messages to my family and friends, my sorority sisters, you name it! At this point, I had made the ballot and I was not getting knocked out that easy. I was going to fight until the end! I told them all, only the top 3 out of the 15 were receiving an invitation for the show so make sure they got me there! I figured since I was nominated I had to really push it, my winning spirit really took over me! (So not good) . It worked in my favor though, C3 made it to the top 3!!! Out of 15 of the most amazing boutiques here in Memphis, Little ole me made it to the top 3!!! This is where my emotions were on an all time high! I was listed in a category with boutiques who had been in business for years and ones I often shop with. To put icing on the cake, I get a text message from a friend saying,"heyyyyy did you know you were in two categories"? My reply, uhhh no (runs and go look). Oh my word, I had been nominated for best local place to purchase a hot outfit and we made it to the top 3 as well in that category!. Okay so at this point. Lord you got me here, I need at least one of the two.
3. The BIG day/.Announcement of the winners
Naturally, I am nervous! I was standing next to some greats in both categories! .
Low is the way, is what kept me sane through this process. A saying my great grandmother would say when she felt someone getting to high of themselves. She would simply remind us to stay humble! The outcome of the winner could have gone 3 different ways but let me tell you about my GOD!!! It only went one way for both categories and Classy Curves Couture took home 2 awards that night. Shortly after the awards show God called Bernal, the visionary of the best in black awards, home to rest. At this moment I understood that God was saying your time and my time is different. You need to trust me and trust the process. I made plans to be nominated in year 3, God had plans for me to win in year 1. I will take his plan any day over mines!! We have some incredible boutiques in the area but C3 has its own uniqueness, class and sophistication and for that, we are proud.