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Meet Shanay Marshall of Shay Lemae Collective in Hawthorne

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shanay Marshall.

Shanay, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I first started my entrepreneurial journey when I was a teenager. My mother is a Real Estate Broker, so I have always seen what it is like to work for yourself and to be your own Boss. When I was around 12 or 13 years old, my mom showed me an article of a little girl in a Black Enterprise magazine that was creating her own jewelry and selling it; I thought that was so dope and I instantly wanted to start selling something of my own. My first big job was selling Avon haha… I use to sell those roller deodorants like hotcakes to my neighbors! I felt so proud with that job, because that was my first real experience at retail, keeping an inventory and making my own money.

As I got older, I knew there was definitely something big in store for me but I had no ideas as to what it was. I firmly believe in God and that he would lead you to your purpose. I was definitely given the gift of creativity. I can watch a video and recreate whatever that was shown after one play. I can hear music and develop vivid images in my mind to create different projects. I taught myself how to use Photoshop at age 13 (I downloaded it from Limewire, but don’t tell anybody that I told you that haha). Those self-taught skills in Photoshop has saved me so much money with my business now! Trust me when I say, I am truly blessed and grateful to have such talent — all kudos go to God.

Now, as for my current business – Shay Lemae Collective, I developed this business officially one year ago but I started this journey four years ago. When I first had my son, I was and I currently still am, pretty big on birthdays and decorating. I pretty much got tired of buying all of these custom party supplies online so I started watching videos on YouTube to learn how to create party favors. In the process of learning how to create party favors, I also became interested in learning how to create custom T-shirts. After watching a ton of videos, I came up with a plan and saved up some money to buy all of my equipment. My mom actually gifted me a heat press for my 27th birthday so I really felt like I was about to get it poppin’!! From that point, everything else has literally been history for me.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road definitely has not been smooth. While I am trying to create my dream business, I am also a single mother of two very awesome kids and I still work full-time in healthcare. Also, in the midst of my journey… I am also in school completing my degree in Nursing. To be quite honest, I have had my moments where I am like “what am I doing?” or even “should I just dead this whole idea?” I have had several moments in time where I was struggling financially and I almost gave my troubles the opportunity to become greater than my blessings. Being broke will make you think everything you are doing, all of the seeds you are planting, all of the work you are putting in… is not even worth it. However, I had to always remind myself who I was and who I serve. God has never given up on me so I decided to never give up on myself. My overall dream goal is to build generational wealth for my children so I push myself every single day to do just that. In this process, I have revamped my business several times because I knew I wanted to do so many things and I want to touch every creative area within my reach. I created Shay Lemae Collective with the mindset of it becoming the first black “all-in-one” enterprise for everything creative and custom.

Please tell us about Shay Lemae Collective.
Shay Lemae Collective is a company that specializes in all of your custom needs. I have two brands under my company, “Printz by Shay” and “Kool Kiddz Party Supplies.” Printz by Shay is all custom apparel, I design custom content per request of the client and then I even do the t-shirt printing. Kool Kiddz Party Supplies is exactly what it sounds like haha… I create custom party favors such as: chip bags, water labels, custom candy wrappers, gift bags and more. Since COVID-19, I have also expanded my services into creating handmade masks to keep people safe; considering that I work in healthcare, this was an important addition to my services.

In the fall, I plan to also launch a sister company to my business called “The Collective.” The Collective is a team of individuals that are creatives and/or business owners that work together to promote and network each other. The sole purpose of The Collective is aid with marketing and reaching wider audiences to increase sale opportunities. The Collective is also focused directly on Black Businesses and Creatives. I think it will definitely be a game changer…

The thing I am most proud of about my company is that I make sure to put my heart and soul into every creation. I make sure that I treat every client like family and that I provide them with the most best service as possible. I believe my business sets me apart from others because I am literally becoming like the Amazon of Custom Creations hahaha!! But no really, I am really trying to hit every area of creativity so that my clients do not have to worry about going to multiple places for their products, they can come directly to me (and The Collective) to get everything they need. *smile*

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Oh geez, yes! Haha… my favorite childhood memory would have to be all of the days on the 101. The 101 is a reference to the street I grew up on in South LA. I grew up mainly with all boys so I had to get used to playing all of the video games (Nintendo 64, Playstation, XBOX). My brother would wake up super early every weekend and go straight to the video games, I would be right there with him and my cousin. Every now and then I would try and get them to play with a Barbie or two…. but they were not going for that… like at all *laughs*. Our summers were the absolute best…playing outside all day until the streetlights came on. Those days were great, I always get like a moment of nostalgia whenever I think about it *smile*.

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