In recognition of Black History Month, Lenovo is sharing the stories of some of its diverse suppliers in the U.S.
Kemah Washington sold Blow Pops and Swedish Fish out of his locker in middle school. When his dad lost his job, Kemah helped him peddle fresh produce on the streets of inner city Philadelphia to support the family. “My job was to weigh out all the fruits and vegetables, and it got to the point where we started taking orders, going door to door, and that instilled in me the core values of you get what you kill, no one is going to do it for you, you have to go out and hustle.”
This kid knew how to hustle. And that hustle paid off as he built his company, Brandilly Marketing and Creative, to the successful business it is today.
Keijuane Hester shares that hustle. After all, it helped him take a carrot cake recipe he learned behind bars to now owning and running two dessert shops with flavors as creative as five flavor pound cake and delectable as Red Velvet and German Chocolate cupcakes and cakes. “My stint with entrepreneurship started when I was on the wrong path. I went to prison for drug trafficking, and we had to work. My first stint was in the kitchen with Mr. Blackwell who was the head baker. He started teaching me how to bake everything from scratch, cookies, pies, cheesecake. One day he told me I’m teaching you this trade so if all else fails, you have a trade to fall back on.”
Little did he know that would change his life for the better. “You can go as far as your mind and imagination take you. It’s going to be hard work. You have to put the work in.”
Both men share a passion for entrepreneurship, running toward challenges, and persevering after setbacks. That’s why we chose to profile these diverse Lenovo suppliers in honor of Black History Month.
Hear more in the podcasts above and watch the video to see how Keijuane Hester founded Favor Desserts. We talked to them about how they jumped into business for themselves, what energizes them every day, how they face obstacles head on, and embracing failure to move forward. And they shared some key advice on being an African American entrepreneur in business today.