Updated: Apr 2, 2021
Interview by Dr. Ondra Krouse Dismukes
OKD: What is your vision for Pretty Smart Chics?
JLH: To help women renew their lives spiritually, personally, professionally. My vision is to help inspire, empower and serve women through the creative arm of Pretty Smart Chic. Whether that is with the ezine, retreats, or group coaching courses, Pretty Smart Chic is where I will be of service to my sisterhood of the world.
OKD: Why Pretty Smart Chics?
JLH: When I was in 7th grade, my crush came into my 6th-period class. I was super smart and loved answering questions. As I was showing off, he said - out loud, in front of everyone - “You have a lot of book sense but no common sense.” I was devastated. At that moment, I thought my intelligence was a handicap. I began to dumb myself down to fit in with people. It has taken me most of my life to overcome that one moment. I wanted to create something that would highlight women’s beauty without downplaying their intelligence.
OKD: Why did you become an entrepreneur?
JLH: Out of necessity...Lol, I needed to pay the bills. Honestly, I grew up working in my grandparents’ store every summer. Being exposed to entrepreneurship at an early age helped me to recognize I can make money without having to work for someone.
OKD: Who is your shero?
JLH: My mother. She worked two jobs and continued her education while raising my older brother and me. We graduated college a semester apart, as well as went back to get our MBAs together. She is the epitome of the “get it done” ministry.
OKD: If you could ask one question to one black female icon, who would you ask, and what would you ask them?
JLH: I don’t elevate celebrities; instead, I focus on being the best possible version of myself. Entrepreneurship is a ministry. My paternal grandmother and grandfather owned and operated a store, and their store ministered to a poor, Black community in the South. If that’s not iconic, I don’t know what is. My grandmother and mother paved the way for the way I’m living; now, I’m paving the way for my nieces and my future daughter, being the best possible “Nunee” I can be for them.
OKD: What challenges have you faced as a pretty smart chic?
JLH: My biggest challenge is my confidence or the lack of it at times. People see me as this amazing creative person who is willing to take huge leaps of faith; yet, they fail to see the struggles I’ve faced to take these leaps. I have been on food stamps, stood in food bank lines, been told I wasn’t good enough by someone I love. All of these things hit me really hard; but by the grace of God, I overcame them as well.
OKD: What makes you a Pretty Smart Chic?
JLH: Hell, I am beautiful, bold, goofy, feminine, fun, and intelligent. As one of my friends put it, I have the sister-girlfriend-momma-wife-auntie kind of vibe. I know when to be a cheerleader, and also I know when to get in that ass because we have things to do.
OKD: How has Jay L. Harris Creative Werks afforded you the opportunity to launch Pretty Smart Chics?
JLH: JLHCW pays the bills. Seriously, JLHCW helped make me into the leader I am today. I have learned so much about myself the past six years; it’s honestly where my creativity thrives, and now it allows me to extend my reach into a new arena. I’ve wanted to launch an Ezine for the past 10 years; and now, I am able to do that because of things I have learned over the years!
OKD: What challenges have you faced as a black female entrepreneur?
JLH: I am very open with my creative ideas. Because of this, it has left me open to being used by people. Nothing has been more devastating than when I was talking to a potential coach and sharing my ideas for sharing content on social media only to have her put it out in her IG stories as her original thought. I learned at that moment to be careful who I share my ideas with, and that some people are cut-throat. Now, I am more aware when people are using me for my creative ideas; and I decide if I want to share them, or not.
OKD: What’s the best professional advice you have received?
JLH: I have had the opportunity to work behind the scenes for a lot of successful people. The one thing I learned is that people pay people to solve problems. As long as you’re a problem solver, you will always be able to make money.
OKD: How can we follow you on social media?