04 | Steph's Diary: Pivoting and Taking Steps Forward

Shopping Cart

icon close large

Free Standard Shipping On All Orders icon truck

Your cart is empty.

Free Shipping & Returns

04 | Steph's Diary: Pivoting and Taking Steps Forward

04 | Steph's Diary: Pivoting and Taking Steps Forward

I am in the process of doing product development and sampling, and I am super excited to see these concepts come to life. My goal is to present a collection during NY Fashion Week in September. In this episode, I share a glimpse into the overall process of bringing these concepts to life.

Topics Covered:

  • Walking in faith, stepping into opportunities unimaginable
  • Testing and learning, growing from my mistakes in product development
  • Being Intentional around Time, Myself, and Relationships
  • Mantras by Yvonne Orji
  • Walking in faith, stepping into opportunities unimaginable
  • Testing and learning, growing from my mistakes in product development
  • Being Intentional around Time, Myself, and Relationships
  • Mantras by Yvonne Orji

Featured Products

The Pamoja Tote - Ebony


The Pamoja Tote - Rust



I am Stephanie Evans, and this is Diaries of a Modern Trailblazer. Take note of the journey and be inspired to forge your own amazing path.

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Stephanie Evans and I'm the founder of Posha, a leather goods brand I'm building from the ground. Every other month, I take the time to reflect where I currently am and where I'm heading. So it's February. February is a month in celebration of black history and industry wise, there are a number of fashion weeks globally, including in New York.

Personally, it's the month of my father's birthday. My father passed away over 20 years ago. But his spirit will always live within me. I'm the middle child and I'm the only girl in my family. And when I was younger, my father made it very clear that I can do anything I set my mind to.

To give you some context, um, when I was younger, we built a central processing unit, a CPU for our personal home computer, which was a big deal, and I absolutely loved it, and it kind of got me into tech. And it's so interesting that today, um, like on the side as I'm working my full-time job, I am a digital product manager and it's kind of full circle because I never thought or imagined that I would be in that space. He also introduced me to day trading, and personal finance is something that is very important and deeply embedded into me. Um, I also kind of got into sports and realized, yeah, that's not really for me. Um, he had me playing basketball, trying out golf, other things, you name it, but it just really wasn't in the cards for me. But today, I'm active in terms of, fitness, but that's about as far as this gonna go for me. Although I was young, and as I reflect, my father had such a profound impact on my life to this day. He's a part of my black history and I love you and I miss you, and I dedicate this in your memory Jerome Evans.

I've been doing a lot of walking in faith and realizing opportunities that I honestly never imagined for myself, but in the back of my mind, I know that anything is possible. Things are really in full swing, things are in motion, and I just made a big move and purchased a home in Houston, and so I'm settling in here now and I'm recording this episode in my home and it feels good to be in a place to be in a space that is truly mine that I can call home. I uprooted myself from New York to Texas back in July to save money to buy a home where I thought would be LA. But I'm here. I'm here in Houston. Um, it's crazy because it feels like a new city that I'm exploring as an adult and I'm loving it. Um, even though I grew up here as a child, uh, growing up, going to the rodeo, which actually just kicked off this week, uh, which is crazy.

It's kind of not kind of, it actually is delightful, to be here and also just soak in this great weather. Right now it's like 78 degrees in February, and that is amazing. And not to mention, the cost of living is a lot better. So lots of good things that I'm embracing in this new space, and what I'm calling home today for now.

So at the end of the day, life is about pivoting and taking steps forward, not backwards, like legitimately it's only upwards from here. Um, there's no, there's no more going back. There's no going down from here. Only up.

So I'm in the process of doing product development and sampling and I'm super excited to see these concepts come to life and it's a fun, it's a very, very fun process, but it can also be daunting at the same time because there's a lot of testing and learning to see if what I'm conceptualizing is actually feasible. And also just trials with manufacturers and hoping that I am identifying the right partners in this process.

To be quite frank, I've sampled into roughly 10 products thus far. And none of them, none of them turned out perfect. The first go around. There's always opportunity to tweak, make edits, make it better. Slight adjustments all the time. I was sampling back in 2018 and that was what, five years ago? Like Yeah. That's crazy. But. but it takes time. It takes time to build something great. And I'm, I'm being thoughtful throughout the process because I'm only putting out great things as I think about my customers as I think about you.

So let me tell you about the first attempt in product sampling, which was, it was an epic fail. I thought I was going to launch Pamoja with this bag in mind. It has this unique handle designed to it that I have not seen in the market, just really trying to do something different. And I'm still working on it today. In my mind I thought it was straightforward, but from an execution perspective, it's not easy. It's just not. I mean, it's, it's a lot easier to draw something on a piece of paper than making it a real life product. There's a lot that goes into the process.

So I, I initially started by going to a manufacturer in LA while I was pursuing my MBA and living out there, and I showed this sketch to her and I asked, how do I turn this into a real product? Like what are the next steps? And she shared just at a high level, what what goes into making this concept into an actual product. So with that information, I found an amazing technical designer who I work with to this day, who's located in London, and she's just amazing. And after we finalize initial specifications for the bag, I thought, okay, great, let me find someone that I can work with in New York, because I moved back to New York after business school and I thought it would be great to work with somebody who I could meet with in person working in the same time zone and just really connect with immediately for that direct feedback.

And when I saw the finished product, it was, it was completely off. Like it just did not work. I don't know what their expectation was as far as final delivery, but it did not match the specifications at all, and it looked a hot mess. And you know, I was, I was just like, how do you expect someone to purchase this bag with their hard-earned money? Like, it does not even aesthetically look good, you know? Um, I went through paper sampling of this product, I knew that this is something that can be achieved, you know, just with a different material that's sewn, glued, edge painted all the works that go into it. And you know, the thought was, I expected if you take on this project that you can actually do it, you know? Um, but that was not the case in that situation.

So I had to keep it moving and I found another manufacturer, um, as I did more research and, um, just identifying who I wanted to work with when I actually do the finished production. for the product. I found someone in Ubrique, Spain, and um, I went in another direction and worked with a more simplified bag because to this day I'm still working on making edits and fine tuning the initial bag that I wanted to launch Pamoja with. So we're almost done and I'm really excited about it, and it's going to be great.

One, one of the biggest challenges that I'm facing in maintaining sanity through all of the chaos associated with working with multiple partners, to get things moving is just hoping and praying that I'm choosing the right people to invest in throughout this process because I can't do it all by myself. And in fact, I don't know how to do it all. I'm occasionally shelling out large sums of money and it's like throwing a dart, and hoping that I'm hitting the bullseye. So yeah, it's, it's a unique challenge, but I'm, I'm down for it and I know that, I know that it's going to all work out at the end of the day. I just have to be consistent and persistent and that I am.

What I've learned through this process, is that, you know, as I said earlier, it takes time to build something great. I, at the end of the day, want Pamoja to be a heritage brand that is known for its great quality. that lasts, you know, that people have a great experience with, and that I'm building an amazing, robust, dynamic community around this great brand. And it's important that I'm having fun, that I'm loving what I do and I'm continuing to learn and grow along the way.

I'm optimistic about the great things that are to come And for me it's, it's around being intentional in three areas in particular. Uh, time is one of them. And like I said, it's important that I recognize that I'm only one person. Time is my greatest currency, and I have to be selective in carving out space for the people, the things, and most importantly, myself. And with that being said, another area that I'm investing in is myself. In a few days, I'm actually going to Mexico for a treat that the founder of Mielle, Monique Rodriguez is hosting and I'm being intentional around being in the right places and the right spaces to ensure that I'm moving forward as an individual both personally and professionally, because it's, it's only up from here. Like that's the only option. The third area is building strong foundational relationships with my friends, my family, and my business partners, because these are people who are integral in my life. Um, they are my backbone. They are supporting me and cheering me on, and I, I wanna make sure that I'm making time for them in all aspects of my life. And you know, as I mentioned, with me being here in Houston, I'm a lot closer to my family, which is amazing. And it's cool that I can just drive a couple of miles to see my mom and have dinner with her and all of that good stuff. So I'm fully taking advantage of that and I'm absolutely loving it. It's a really, it's a really good thing. But yeah, I just wanted to take the time, and share what I've been up to.

And before I close off, I just finished. Well, I finally finished reading this book by Yvonne Orji called Bamboozled by Jesus, and I highly recommend this book, to all of you. One of the things at the end of her book is that she includes a list of 31 mantras that she lives by. She titles them as bamboozled beliefs, and I just wanna read off a couple of them because I, I wholeheartedly agree that all of these are relevant to me, and I believe that they're relevant to you as well. So just wanting to share this bit of encouragement with you. I believe I am above always and never beneath. I believe all things work together for my good. I believe God has gone before me making every crooked path straight. I believe that when I seek God first, he causes everything else to be added unto me. I believe favor follows me everywhere I go. I believe somebody somewhere is using their power, ability, and influence on my behalf. I believe my name is being spoken favorably in rooms my feet have yet to enter. I believe I will not lose. I cannot lose. I don't know how to lose. I believe that if God gave the vision, he will bring the provision. I believe I am enough regardless of my qualifications, because God has qualified me. I believe that no harm, hurt or danger will come near me, my family or my purpose.

So I'm gonna wrap it up here and, I will most definitely keep you updated with what's going on behind the scenes here. Stay tuned for sure, because as time progresses, there's a lot in motion and my goal is to have a collection presented during New York Fashion Week in September, which is right around the corner.

So chat soon.

And that's a wrap, so own it and make moves one day. I wanna share your journey on this podcast.