By Deborah M. Walker
Lansing, MI – Creative women have always played an essential role in shaping American society, and African American women, in particular, have developed a unique niche in molding everyday culture. With an African American female holding one of the highest positions in the United States, women of color are exploring new beginnings and creative opportunities at a historical level in every facet of life.
According to census.gov, the Annual Business Survey, covering the year 2018 and released in 2022, stated that approximately 18.3% (1.0 million) of all U.S. businesses were minority-owned. Blacks or African Americans owned about 124,551 businesses. Women held roughly 19.9% (1.1 million) of all companies. Minority women owning businesses is a trend that is not slowing down. Ingham County, Onylah Taggart, and Melina Brann are creative women who took a chance and found success.
Onylah Taggert opens DBN Boutique
DBN (Dazzle By Ny) Boutique is a minority-owned fashion boutique located in East Lansing, MI. The owner, Onylah Taggart, a mother and student at Michigan State University (MSU), opened her store because she was tired of women being misrepresented in fashion.
“The larger stores are male-owned, and they are selling women’s clothing. I don’t like that,” said Taggart.
Not only is Taggart a retailer for clothes, she is also a customer. She believes her experience as a shopper increases her connection to her supporters. Taggart said she is more than a place to buy urban clothes. She is the voice and image of today’s African American culture’s influence on fashion.
“I am the buyer, so I know what we like. I know the culture. I am urban wear. This is me,” Taggart explained.
Taggart opened her clothing store at the age of 21. Not only is she a pioneer for young minority women venturing into entrepreneurship, she is also an example of an African American woman in a creative business.
The demand for business
Taggart said she has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a love for clothes and fashion. Combining her two passions was what drove her to open DBN Boutique. Taggart chose her East Lansing location because MSU did not have a lot of options concerning urban Fashion.
“I felt it was something that would do well because it was something that we needed here,” Taggart informed.
Taggart used her savings and money from a school refund check to open DBN Boutique. The decision proved profitable. Since opening in October, Taggart said she had recouped half of her investment.
“I’m reaching the halfway mark of the money I have put into my business. I’ve already seen that back in four months,” exclaimed Taggart.
COVID-19 has slowed business down some, but Taggart explained the effects of the pandemic have been minimal. She said this is due to the proceeds earned from her online store.
“Even if the in-store foot traffic is not that good, I can still make a video online and generate sales,” she explained.
Taggart said there will always be a need for her business. According to her, fashion is everywhere, and the demand for clothes will never end. She claimed that people use clothes as more than body coverings. Taggart argued that most people like to use their clothes to speak for themselves.
An evolving sense of fashion
Taggart explained that her sense of fashion has elevated over the years to include more sophisticated pieces and complex pairing of fabrics and materials. As a young fashionista, she used vision boards and intricate planning to create one-of-a-kind fashion looks. Taggart said she built her wardrobe from the shoes up.
“I started putting outfits together,” Taggart stated. “Now it’s not just about the shoes anymore. As I got older, I could afford to get the bag that matches the shoes and the accessories to draw the whole look together… and layer my clothing.”
Taggart uses her sophisticated style to purchase eye-catching pieces for her boutique. She buys her clothes from a catalog. Taggart claims they are pricey, but the quality of the clothes is worth it. There are many out there, but she prefers fashiongo.net.
“If I see a piece and it’s jumping out at me when I’m looking at clothes, I start to get ideas on how to style it. Then I know it’s nice, and if I haven’t seen it elsewhere, I will get a sample,” said Taggart. “I also buy directly from the store.”
Taggart said she is looking to increase her vendors. She explained that many clothing vendors do not have a physical store and she would like to partner with them.
Down the road
Taggart has big plans on the horizon for DBN Boutique. Excited about her journey as a store owner, Taggart said she has contemplated running an informational Bootcamp, where she will teach others the secret to her success. She also wants to scale DBN Boutique to be a six-figure business by the end of 2022.
“Stay tuned because I am looking to do a women’s brunch or a women’s boot camp to teach people what I have learned. Teach them so they won’t be completely lost,” she said.
Taggart said she is thankful to everyone who has supported her journey. She said the support from MSU and the Lansing area has been great. She encourages others to reach out and take a chance on new opportunities.
“Never give up on your dreams,” Taggart said.
To purchase clothes from DBN Boutique, stop by the store at 301 MAC Ave, East Lansing MI, 48823, or visit the online store at dbnboutique.com. You can also give DBN Boutique a call at 313- 423-2846.