Summary There's a strong shot of social media wisdom, a sprinkle of humor, and a hearty serving of...
Ayana Pettway of DIM Creations | BOBs in the 'Burbs Ep3
Hello, I am Ashley L. James, and this is BOBs in the ‘Burbs. This is an interview series that shines a spotlight on black owned businesses in suburban areas, and today, my guest is Ayana Pettway, and she'll be telling us more about her business, DIM Creations.
Hi Ayana, how are you?
Ayana Pettway: Hi I'm good, how are you?
Ashley: I'm doing well. Thank you so much for being here today. I'm so excited to talk with you.
Ayana : Absolutely thank you for having me thank you thank you.
Ashley: Perfect so let's start by just talking about your business, tell me about how you got started and let's just hear your story.
Ayana: So my business is called DIM Creations or dim Creations it stands to do it myself, basically I customize everything, I do everything from t-shirts to different clothing apparel, little trinket gifts, party favors, memorial items, anything that you could possibly think of that could be customized, I do it. So I've started in 2018, it really kind of started when I made my two boys costumes, one was a Rubik's Cube and the other one was a Lego. so many compliments like more than you buying a, you know, like just like a purchase costume. So after that I kind of just started doing everything on my own just kind of like customizing some of everything. And then after a while I kind of turned it into a business after my father passed. I was looking for something to kind of take my mind off of that so I kind of just started branching off from doing things like glittering glasses and different things like that. And then I jumped on YouTube University and I started seeing where people can do t-shirts and stuff so then I started with t-shirts and as my clientele got bigger everyone was like Hey can you do this can you do this and I'm thinking like probably not but I'm going to say yes.
Ashley: Right cuz it's myself I'm figuring it out.
Ayana: Basically I figured it out and then I just kind of just started branching off from there after about a year or so. I just started doing it full time. I got to know you enough clientele and I just kind of just started rolling from there.
Ashley: yes oh my gosh I love that I love everything about that. So you're a mom. Tell us more about how that's been like balancing having a business and being a mom.
Ayana: woo that's that's a job within itself it definitely takes discipline and it also takes lack of sleep sometimes because a lot of time you know like during the summer time is kind of great because I can kind of work on things and I don't have to worry about being 100% into mommy mode. But as the school year starts it kind of gets like a little bit you have to kind of get yourself the schedule because you're checking homework, you're doing school drop offs, you're doing school pickups, so I have to kind of delegate time or allocate time to where I can sole focus on business stuff, working on orders. And I kind of got into the process of having the boys help me because I have three boys and having them help me helps them but in turn also helps me because they feel like you know oh we are helping mine with the business and they have fun doing it. And I also am able to keep them occupied and still be able to get right so they're kind of like because hopefully you know this is longevity and it'll become you know family business and one day you know they'll be running it so it'll kind of give them the opportunity to kind of see hey this is what mom's doing when she's stuck in her office all the time you know and kind of just get a feel for it and become experts by the time they're old enough to actually start doing things on their own yeah.
Ashley: Okay that's beautiful oh I love that because then you're incorporating the element of you know them showing them how to be entrepreneurs and showing them how to run your business or if they decide to you know take it in a different direction or do multiple business they'll be ready that is a beautiful thing and then so going back a little bit we didn't really talk as much about the suburb that you're operating in so where are you at and what is it like running a business there?
Ayana: So I am in Harper Woods Michigan like right next door to gross point because kind of like just right there at the border because I'm homebased that's the beauty of everything because I get to reach out to so many different communities you know I travel so many different places whether it's a City or if it's the suburbs well where I'm working at now it does give me an opportunity to kind of reach out to the community you know a lot of people reach out to me because hey we want to do business local whether you know like t-shirts or setups or anything like that so I do get a chance to meet some of the community people and kind of learn all the different like opportunities or different things that they have because so many things I didn't know existed in the community by me doing this I've actually learned like oh I didn't know we had this here or like we have like a craft store that's right five minutes away from me that has everything and they do like different activities for children so it's like I'm learning so many different things about the community you know just working and kind of networking and getting to know different people.
Ashley: Very cool, okay so when you're talking about networking what are the kinds of groups that you're in or or just the type of people that you're talking to and stuff like that?
Ayana: Yeah so kind of networking well my son's a football player so with sports being big with the schools I'm able to network with different parents who wants different things they'll see something because I'm that Mom that extra moms and all that type of stuff so when they say it it's like oh that's cool where did you get it from oh I'm made it oh you did yeah and you know network from there one mom will tell another mom another mom will tell another mom at another school and then it you know it kind of just goes from there so my networking for my business 95% of it is word of Mouth I'm in different lik community groups like via social media but when it comes like you know face to face like I said just dealing with like schools that's how my networking goes and like I said the craft store I'm in there a lot and then I'll meet other Crafters you know and they'll specialize in something else and then I'll specialize in one thing and then we get to talking to each other oh well let me get your social handle or let me get your telephone number if I need help with this or I help with that and then that's kind of how we kind of keep everything together yeah.
Ashley: Oh man that's perfect because you're not just taking yourself out of your whole community to figure out a new network you are right there networking every day and being able to incorporate your business into your everyday life so that's really cool I love that you carve that out for yourself.
Ayana: Yeah it makes it easier it makes it easier for me to maintain the business because it's everyday life you know it's something that people need everyday some something that I offer somebody will need it everyone's having babies or someone's graduating or you know someone's getting married so it's always a different Milestone or a different occasion something that I can actually help with so that that that makes it a lot easier.
Ashley: Absolutely! And how cool it is that you get to be there for all those beautiful moments.
Ayana: Yes I have clients and it's so funny. I have clients where she did her birth announcement with me. She told her mom and her dad that she was expecting, then we did the baby shower then we did the first birthday so like I've been there through every little you know little.
Ashley: Yes the whole way.
Ayana: Exactly and it's like oh I did this for you and then I did this for you and I did this for you so you you build relationships with your clients too so I love it I love it.
Ashley: Oh that's great! And so you mentioned social media a little bit ago and how part of what you use it for is networking with other businesses and girls. I'm seeing your posts all the time on Instagram so I know you're always posting on there. One thing that I noticed about your strategy is that you incorporate personal life too. It's not just your business and just a business post not all about promotion so what was your thought behind that and or was that on purpose or was that something that you just kind of did as you went along?
Ayana: Well you mean like my personal stuff along with?
Ashley: Yeah how you incorporate that into your business.
Ayana: Yeah for starters it's easier for me to be personable you know with everything and if we're talking like in terms of separate you mean like separate platforms like keeping my personal platform opposed to my separate platform nah for me it's a lot to keep up with you know and social media for me is a big big big part of my business and I feel like when people know you personally I don't share a lot of personal stuff but they can you can come into my life with me you know you can see what I'm doing you can see my milestones you can see my celebrations you can see some of my thoughts you know so people feel comfortable coming to me with certain things because they kind of know the personal side of opposed to just knowing them creations and feeling like you are supporting just a random business when in actuality when you first started following me or when you first added me as a friend on Facebook you really were just following them creations but then as you got to know me you know it's like oh you know I like her she got be good and that's how I get to learn my clients because I see them I follow them so I see what they like I see what they don't like I see what they post so when they come to me I'm able to kind of assess what will work best for him like oh I'm looking for this I'm looking for that okay well you probably like this this may work for you more so it helps me with my clients as well as I'm getting to know me too.
Ashley: Right! So you're really building that trust factor?
Ayana: Yeah plus you get an inside view of who it is you're working with because you connect with them on the different social networks and then you can kind of look at you know what they're posting about what's going on in their life.
Ashley: So that's really cool. I love that strategy. Is there anything else on social media that you do on social media that helps you with your business?
Ayana: No, I was of just like posting but I also look for suggestions what do you want to see more of you know when I'm doing because with my line of business things change so quickly one thing can be popular one moment and then it drifts away it can be popular again then it drifts away. So I like to reach out to my customer or even anybody my followers anybody what do y'all want to see more, or what is it that's missing, you know what I'm saying what are you missing what do you want to see what do you want to have customized or if I come up with something hey what do y'all think about this do y'all think this looks good? Do this you know so I kind of get a lot of ideas from social media you know. Really, I'm trying to get off into the reels like the video content. I'm not an expert at that. I do have younger kids that are kind of learning the difference like CapCuts and what's the other with TikTok and stuff. So yes love that TikTok yes so I tried a couple Tik Tok videos and I'm like I don't think it's that difficult but because I don't use it as much and I'm trying to go through all my products and everything I'm like okay do this go here do this go here what song goes there and I see so many other content creators. It's just like flawless you know it's like okay one day I'm get to that level and once I do then I'll you know be able to start reaching out more that way because I do know like a lot of people who are in the same line of business as myself they use TikTok a lot they use a lot of reel they do a lot of those things and for me if you know trying to help my business grow I do know that I need to start venturing off into that but I just haven't at the moment.
Ashley: Yeah but that's okay I think that it's important when you're thinking about social media and figuring it out that you really start where you are that you build to that. Like you're already doing because you don't you're not going to be super professional on your first video you know you have to get there and I'm just happy to hear that you're like you're not feeling a whole lot of that missing out fear missing out type of thing you're to that next.
Ayana: Yeah I'mma get there I'mma get there and it's funny because I post most of my videos are like blooper videos like look y'all look what I tried to do! You know what I mean like but you can still see the product and that's the fun part of it. Yeah though the video right yeah the product is still there so you'll still see it you know so it's just it's a learning process for sure.
Ashley: Absolutely! Thinking of it, you know doing your day-to-day business journey and you are a black woman obviously and there are other people coming up behind you, women & men and we're all trying to figure out what to do next so what type of advice would you give the next generation of black owned businesses?
Ayana: Research research research research! Whatever it is that you want to do research, I tell myself a lot of times and I tell a lot of people because I have a lot of people who want to do what I do and they come up to me or they message me or something they'll ask me hey how did you get started? What did you do? And I always tell them like if I had to do more research than what I did then I would be I wouldn't say much better off but it would be a lot easier for me now than what it is. Although I love it, you know, I think research is definitely a big thing. Don't get discouraged. I see a lot of people that get discouraged when they try to come out and they think that they're just going to blow up and their business is just going to take off. Don't get discouraged it's going be slow at first you know until you get your clientele so just keep promoting, keep pushing yourself keep putting whatever it is out there. I don't care if it's a product or if it's a service promoting research and just keeps at it you know. and don't be afraid to ask questions. Try social media, social media is big because there are a lot of things that people do. They have different groups of people all across the country where you can get in there. You can ask questions to kind of perfect your craft or perfect whatever service that you're trying to perform.
Ashley: Yes I oh my gosh, that was a whole master class basically I agree with all of that and yes I really appreciate that. So let's get a little bit more into fun stuff a little bit so what are you reading, watching, listening to that's really got you going these days?
Ayana: Being a football Mom I have a junior he's varsity football player so I'm kind of deep into that as well standing on the sideline screaming and yelling don't know what I'm screaming at because I don't watch football but I just see my so when I see I'm running I'm screaming there you go.
Ashley: Yes, that's all you really need. As long as you're there and you are cheering him on, that's what matters. I love that! Okay so anything that you're listening to or songs that you know when you get into your zone that you're just listening?
Ayana: For me like when I'm working and stuff because I call when I'm in my area doing my stuff I call it the lab, I listen to a lot of old school music. Like I'm old school, really old school like Anita Baker, the Eisley brothers like those are my people however Diddy has dropped the album and I like it so far. I have it's like 20s something songs on there that's a plus because we haven't had a 20 something plus album in forever and it's so nostalgic because it's like real like R&B like the R&B we used to listen to as we were younger not to say anything wrong with the music now but it just kind of gives that feel of what we were listening to. So I'm kind of listening to that over the last couple of days trying to because I heard like a whole bunch of good reviews. I said let me listen to this and the first few songs I was like okay baby I see you out here what's the song.
Ashley: That is definitely on your playlist where you like as soon as I from the album you're like turn on something.
Ayana: from Diddy album?
Ayana: It's a song by Mary J blige. I can't think of the name of it right now but it's a vibe I gotta think of the name of it but as soon as you know you because I'm title so as soon as I go to my thing I look for the song I can't think of the name of it but it's featuring Mary J Blige I love it you can't miss it's on it's like towards the bottom of the list but yeah.
Ashley: Okay perfect we gonna find it we gonna listen to it we gonna be vibing with you okay.
Ayana: Yes please do because it's a vibe it's a vibe as they say.
Ashley: Alright so we're going to go ahead and end it here with where can people follow you learn more about you all that good stuff.
Ayana: So my Facebook page is DIM Creations DIM D-I-M Creations C-r-e-a-t-i-o-n-s that is my tag for Facebook. My tag for Instagram is @YourDimCreations Your y-o-u-r DIM d-i-m Creation c-r-e-a-t-i-o-n-s. And you can also check out my website. I am always posting flash deals, specials and that's where you can find most of my new items because I'm always adding products and that is www.DIMCreations.com.
Ashley: Yes okay we gonna go to that website get some deals!
Ayana: Yes get some deals, sign up for the emails because I always try to send out different coupon codes so be on the lookout for those and like I said that's where you can catch all the products where I drop them. I try to drop them weekly something new, something different, yes and that's the place to find me.
Ashley: Okay perfect and I have one more question. So you're in Michigan but do you ship to other places?
Ayana: Absolutely! I do ship to other states turnaround time generally is 3-5 business days plus your shipping and shipping is normally two days so just depending on what you need definitely it can be done.
Ashley: Okay she got y'all alright.
Ayana: Yes I got y'all covered if y'all need anything.
Ashley: Love it okay!
Ayana: Christmas time is coming.
Ashley: You said what?
Ayana: I said Christmas time is coming. It's the perfect time to get your custom gifts that's right and like I said check out the website.
Ashley: Yes we'll do. So thank you so much for being here with me today and chatting with me. This has been an amazing experience. You have shared so much great information and I'm so excited for people to find you and you get even more business.
Ayana: Yes love it well thank you so much for having me this is so awesome that you're shining light on all the different Black businesses, that way we can network with each other and if it's something that I need definitely I love it I really appreciate it doing great things.
Ashley: Oh thank you! I really appreciate that and you have a great rest of your day.
Ayana: You too alright bye.
Alright My People that brings us to the end of this episode of BOBs in the 'Burbs. If you're interested in seeing more interviews like this one please follow ALJ Digital Marketing on the social media channels listed on the screen. I will add Ayana's socials and the other things we talked about to the show notes so take a moment to check that out at the link in the caption. Thank you so much for joining me today and until next time remember, we are out here too. Thanks!
You can find DIM Creations on: