Jasmin Brand doesn’t sit around talking about the life she wants — she creates it. The 37-year-old entrepreneur has spent the last decade building multiple businesses and her brand (pun intended).
Brand was born in Dallas, but lived in Ohio and Kentucky for several years when she was a child before she eventually moved back to Dallas.
She attended Dallas ISD’s Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and received bachelor’s degrees in political science and international studies at Southern Methodist University. Brand intended to go on to law school but as she says, “fate stepped in” when she snagged a marketing internship at the United Nations during her final year as an undergraduate student.
” … and the rest, as they say, was history,” Brand said. “I was hooked and realized a creative life was my calling.”
Recently, Dallas Innovates had a chance to catch up with Brand to learn more about how she became an entrepreneur and her advice to others who want to start their own company.
When did you become an entrepreneur?
I started my very first business in elementary school. I also kicked butt selling Girl Scout cookies. I was that little girl. I have to thank my parents for passing on to me their ambition and insane drive. After college, I tried to live a corporate life but I always felt stifled and out of place. I didn’t ever really fit in and don’t think I could ever go back at this point. Well, never say never…
Tell us a little about your business background.
I registered my first business name, Brandpointe, in 2007, after being laid off but didn’t consider myself a full-fledged company until 2009 when I got my first client. Initially, I worked with my mom who did workforce training for individuals looking for employment or switching careers. After a few years, I started dabbling in social media, discovered I really loved it, and Brandpointe’s mission slowly began to take shape. I realized I could totally fill a niche of providing innovative online and offline marketing solutions simultaneously for individuals and companies.
What are the companies you’ve launched?
DARBY JAMES, launched in 2016, is a marketing agency and digital publisher. We do city-branding and events.
Beats By Her, launched in 2016, is a platform for independent female artists that features monthly live shows, digital content, and artist development.
The City Influencer, launched in 2015, is a daily news blog that focuses on culture, community, and storytelling in Dallas.
My Forward Life, launched in 2013, features stylish personal development tools, daily aspiration, and events for Texas women.
Brandpointe, was launched in 2007 as a marketing agency offering creative offline and online marketing and event strategies.
Do you have investors in your companies?
I wouldn’t be anywhere today without the love and serious financial support of my dad, mom, sister, and brother — especially during those first few years. I also relied on my personal savings in the beginning, which was pretty solid after working in an executive role for a few years.
Do you think it’s more difficult for a woman to start her own business?
I think it’s easy for anyone to start a business. The challenges come with actually maintaining it, making money, and eventually growing it. This is difficult for both men and women. If you are hardworking, can withstand the loneliness, lack of sleep, and the countless times you’ll hear the word “no” — the sky’s the limit, regardless of gender.
If you’re hardworking, can withstand the loneliness, lack of sleep, and the countless times you’ll hear the word “no” — the sky’s the limit, regardless of gender.
In thinking about my own journey as a businesswoman, dealing with preconceived notions and stereotypes can be difficult and downright annoying. I don’t deal with it as much these days, but when I was first starting out, I would often be asked who owned my company, what was “his” name or who my business partner was. I guess they thought there was no way a young, African-American woman could actually be the boss. Back then, I would go cry in my car after that happened.
Today, a decade later, I couldn’t care less. My focus now is doing good work that makes an impact and makes people feel something. I’ve come too far to let what others think about me dictate my dreams.
What’s your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?
Making time for people I care about and just missing out on things in general. Very few people understand this crazy life and the impact it has on you physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
Like many other business owners, I’ve dealt with depression and just sheer exhaustion in trying to balance everything and be there for everyone and attend every event.
Like many other business owners, I’ve dealt with depression and just sheer exhaustion in trying to balance everything and be there for everyone and attend every event. Eventually, I realized it’s just not possible.
When you’re building something from scratch, the foundation you build is so important. Every waking minute and hour must be dedicated to ensuring you’re building something solid that will last. That takes time.
The kind of success and personal achievement that I’ve always craved has always been on a larger-than-life scale. That means I often miss out on happy hours and hanging out with friends. Or grabbing a manicure. But, I do realize I’m not getting any younger, so much of my focus has been on succession — and planning an actual vacation!
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you in business or life?
My dad told me there was no limit in getting whatever I wanted out of life. We didn’t have much money growing up. OK, we didn’t have any money. I remember going to my dad concerned about how I would ever keep up with the other kids in my class who seemingly had so much more than we did.
Money is good, but new ideas are priceless, [my dad] would say.
He told me the ability to come up with original ideas, to create new stuff, and constantly find ways to be innovative was the way to compete. Money is good, but new ideas are priceless, he would say. And so I’ve always tried to create new things to be ahead of the curve. Throughout the many ups and downs of my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve held onto his wise words.
What would you tell someone who wants to start their own business, but isn’t sure where to begin?
To hold onto their full-time job as long as possible. Hold onto that steady income for as long as you can while you nurture your passion on the side. Only leave your job when it becomes almost impossible to continue managing both. And don’t leave when things are going bad on your job or you’re ready to quit. Making decisions based on emotion never turns out well. Leave on a good note, on your own accord, so that you begin your journey with nothing but good energy and vibes and an actual plan for success.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I am Team Downtown Dallas! I love living, working, and playing in 75201. That ZIP code represents opportunity to me. I have a sincere love for the city and I’m really excited about this next phase of my life thanks to DARBY JAMES. Our agency team is having a blast imagining new creative possibilities — not just for Dallas but for other cities across the country, too. My favorite quote: ‘The city is humanity’s laboratory, where people flock to dream, create, build, and rebuild.’ – Edward L. Glaesser
Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
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