Florence Shin & Athina Wang, Covry

***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers, business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.

Interviewees: Florence Shin & Athina Wang, Founders

Company:  Covry

Launch Date: August 2015

Motto: Smile confidently

covry thursday interview eyewear

Pavo Beige

What inspired you to launch an eyewear company with high school friend, Athina Wang?
Florence Shin: Athina came to me with the idea a few years ago, and it instantly resonated with me because I’ve always struggled with being able to find stylish, comfortable eyewear. Frames were always sliding down my nose, hitting my cheeks and leaving embarrassing cheek indents. Together, we redesigned the standard fit and created Elevated Fit® eyewear.

How did you come up with the name Covry?
FS: Covry comes from the word cove. It symbolizes effortless beauty and calming tranquility to us. We wanted to create a word that we could give meaning to as we built our brand.


Describe a day in the life of Team Covry
Athina Wang: Honestly, every day is so different. We could be at the warehouse overseeing order fulfillment, running around the city for meetings, shooting models, or brainstorming new strategies and events.

There’s a lot of variety that goes into a single day, and I think that’s one of the adventures of being your own boss.

How do you juggle the creative and management skills needed so you aren’t screaming at the end of the day?
FS: Fortunately, Athina and I come from different areas in fashion. Even though we work together, we’re able to divide up the work to focus on tasks that we know and understand better. This allows us to make better use of our time and get more things done.


Nash Black

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October 3 #FeelGood List: Where the Jobs Are, It’s Brewing in Brooklyn, How to Become a B-Corp


page-blankA rainbow in Soho. A cast iron frying pan filled with frying chicken. A dropped cake, on a city sidewalk. Capturing life as it happens is reason #3 why I love my smartphone.  When the mood and light hits,  the camera becomes my best friend to transform a fleeting moment into a memory.  But during a recent visit to MOMA enjoying  Bruce Connor’s Cosmic Ray video, understanding Faith Ringgold’s Die and becoming unhinged by Nan Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency and Kai Althoff’s vision of the world, the camera was present but I did the capturing.

Here’s to a week ahead where you are present to capture all the possibility you can…

How to Become B-Corp – Using Business as a Force for Good

The Stoop Series: It’s Brewing in Brooklyn

Vice-Presidential Debate 

Media + Tech, Where the Jobs Are

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!


September 26 #FeelGood List: New York Nonprofit Mixer, Dumbo Dance Festival and more


Last Friday, I attended #PurpleReigns at The New School. The evening featured various academics sharing how Prince and his genius in music and presentation impacted their lives and our culture.  I didn’t take notes because I wanted to be in the moment. What I do remember is how each speaker allowed their joy to overtake the heartbreak and the wonderfulness of being with fellow Prince fans.  They love dancing without reservation.

Enjoy the week ahead!

2016 Presidential Debate
Because it’s important to be an informed voter.

Make It In Brooklyn Innovation Summit

NY NonProfit Mixer

16th Annual Dumbo Dance Festival Opening Night

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!  
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!

Denequa Williams & Akenea Dillon, LIT Brooklyn

thursday interview lit brooklyn candles

***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers, business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.

Happy September, Thursday Interview faithful and newcomers!  Although summer brain lingers, I am happy to kick off the fall season with Denequa Williams & Akenea Dillon, founders of LIT Brooklyn.  Their Interview gave me motivation on a day when I needed it.   I hope you find common ground and inspiration in their story of how LIT came to be.  Enjoy!

Name: Denequa Williams & Akenea Dillon, Founders

Company:  LIT Brooklyn

Launch Date: December 5, 2015

Motto: Keep it lit!

Theme Song: Jay Z- Forever Young

Describe the moment that LIT Brooklyn was born
Akenea Dillon: It was a random Monday morning in October (2014) and Denequa had called me really early. We were having regular conversation about how we can’t wait to be like the women who inspire us. We wanted the freedom and happiness that these women possessed while following their dreams. In mid conversation Denequa was like “Let’s start a business!” I laughed because it was really random but I wasn’t opposed to it. I said what would our business be? She said “Let’s make candles!” It made sense because we both love smell goods and have invested in many different candle brands in the past. I replied “That would be lit!” She asked what would we call it?  My reply: “LIT”.  The rest is history.

What are the most surprising lessons you’ve learned as a new business owner?
AD: Having a business is still relatively fresh as we launched a little under a year ago and since then so much has changed from our initial packaging to our social media content to the scents we come up with. There is always a lesson to be learned.  One lesson that I can think of is that it took trial and error to learn is that simplicity is key. Another one is that sometimes you have to take a step back and take yourself out of the equation. We make candles and while we are making something we love, we want to make sure that our customer loves it too. So I may hate a particular scent but that might be the very scent that our customers are obsessed with. Also don’t doubt your influence. It’s been really humbling to hear people say “I love your candles, I saw it here…” or “such and such gifted it to me.” It never fails to surprise me.

Denaqua Williams: Some of the most surprising lessons that I’ve learned as a new business owner is that you really have to prove yourself for people to either want to work with you, or even support your product. It’s also a common misconception that a lot of new business owners feel that you don’t have to put in the work to see the results. You have to eat, sleep, and breathe your business if you want it to flourish. The passion has to be there.  We live in a time where everyone wants instant gratification without completely and thoroughly understanding the amount of work and time and effort and loss of sleep that goes into running a successful and effective business. Another surprising lesson that I’ve learned is that your relationships with people are going to change. Having a business is like having a baby, and just like a baby, you nurture this business, you give this business your undivided attention, and the people around you who don’t get your vision, won’t understand, and that may cause your relationship to wither. Everyone around you is not going to get your vision and that’s okay because it’s not for them to understand.

candles LIT Brooklyn thursday interview business


Tell us the LIT Brooklyn process for creating the kind of scent combinations that make me wish my computer screen was scratch and sniff.
DW: When it comes to creating the scents for LIT, that might be the most tedious but fun part of it all. It’s a lot of trial and error. We spend a lot of time experimenting. These scents are intoxicating, they are all reminiscent of something that we love. I love all of the scents that we created, but my ultimate favorite scent thus far is “HOME”, we named it “HOME” because that’s what it reminded us of. The lemony scent with notes of vanilla is to die for.

How did LIT get involved with Curl Fest 2016?
DW: We’ve always been fans of CurlFest, since it launched. We keep up with their events through social media, and when we saw that they were looking for vendors, we reached out and were able to be a part of the epic event. The feedback that we received from everyone who came up to our booth was spectacular. We would definitely do CurlFest again.

candles brooklyn thursday interview love

Will LIT candles be available at any pop ups for the upcoming holiday season?
AD: Ideally, we will be a part of a few pop-ups or events for the holidays. We have some things in store for fall and the holiday that we are finalizing right now. (Stay tuned to our social media) I can tell you that you will definitely see us in a few beauty subscription boxes and hopefully a few holiday gift guides. The best part about the holidays is that we get to celebrate LIT’s birthday (December 5th) so an event for that is in the works.

Fast forward a year from now, what news would you like to be sharing with your fans and collaborators?
DW: A year from now, I hope we have become an international brand. I hope to share that LIT has its own store front. I hope to share that we are being carried in major department stores. I hope for us to be featured in magazines that we read. I hope to share that LIT has expanded carrying more than candles.

Shout out time!  This is your opportunity to celebrate the people who have made the LIT launch and journey a joy.  Don’t be shy.
DW: I am happy to celebrate those close to us that keep us going, and that push us to exercise our complete potential. My boyfriend Khiry is stellar, he helps keep me motivated. Every business owner needs that one person in their corner that is there to remind them why they started in the first place. Things are going to get rough, but the most beautiful moments start to unfold right after you cross over that rough patch. Another person in particular is Evanka W., our brand manager, she came on board a few months ago. A close friend to us both, she plays a significant role in our growth as a company. I would also like to thank our customers who have remained loyal to us from the very beginning, we are very gracious to them for supporting us and believing in the product that we created. And overall, just thankful for everyone who supports us in any way possible. Being a new small business, people are often hesitant, but words can’t express my gratitude for the amount of support and love that we receive on a daily.

AD: Thank you to all my family, friends, believers, and yay-sayers for all the support and well wishes. Before the launch, they were the ones to encourage us in the ways we needed and for them, LIT is grateful. For our launch in particular, it wouldn’t have been the dream it was without our friends Marva & Miriam from the space, Ode to Babel where we had our launch party, Eshama John who has blessed us with visuals of our product from time to time, Deasia Rumble, Endeshia Bryan, Gigi Gray, and every amazing person that helped make our launch extra special. Most importantly thank you to all the people that invest in our candles, our customers. Thank you for believing in our product and spreading the love with your friends and family. We couldn’t keep it LIT if it wasn’t for you all.

Want to keep your world LIT?  Stay connected with Denaqua and Akenea on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!

The little bit of feel good for August 2016

Happy August!

Whether you are a regular or new Thursday Interview reader/subscriber, thank you.  It’s a thrill going to a party and finding out someone enjoys the Thursday Interview.   It’s a treat to know that the featured interviewees are finding new fans for their projects and businesses.

And because I want everyone to keep enjoying the Thursday Interview, I’m taking August off for a blogging break.   But no worries!  I will leave you with a little bit of feel good list for the month ahead.  Enjoy!

Fireworks @ Coney Island

The Films of Joe Dante Film Series @ BAM
August 8-24

Andra Day/ Son Little @ Prospect Park
August 13

The Living Room Candidate
This online repository of Presidential campaign ads is fascinating.

Future Hive Pop Up
August 2-8

Cocktails at Cooper Hewitt

Flatiron Tech Tuesdays – Coding for Everyone
August 9

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!  
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!


Kim Goulbourne, Bourn

kim bybourn thursday interview


***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers,  business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.

Thank you to Museum Hue’s  Monica Montgomery for introducing me to Hashtags Unplugged, an art exhibition paying tribute to 10 memorable hashtags. Exploring the exhibit online made me super curious about Kim Goulbourne,  the woman behind the project.  Here is her Thursday Interview.

Name: Kim Goulbourne, Maker, Designer & Developer

Company: Bourn

Launch Date: November 2015

Current Projects: Founder Mantras, daily mantras, quotes and words to live by for founders by founders; Hashtags Unplugged, an art exhibition paying tribute to 10 memorable hashtags and SendThanksto, a platform for sending thanks to the people in your life.

Motto: I can and I will.

Theme Song: Lose Yourself, Eminem.

Describe the moment when you knew branding and web design spoke to you.
Back in high school I had a group of friends that designed flyers for parties and I always wanted to be a part of that. I think it was around that time I told my mom I wanted to go to college for Graphic Design. Generally I was always interested in art and creative expression but I never knew what medium I would end up choosing until sophomore year of college when I took my first Web Design class. I haven’t looked back since.

What can a company expect when they become a Bourn client?
I enjoy collaborating with young makers/creators and small business owners who are looking to establish a web presence. When they partner with me I strive to create an online experience that embodies their personality, work and core values.

How did you connect with hashtag godfather Chris Messina and artists for the Hashtags Unplugged exhibit?
Finding the artists for the exhibit was simpler than I imagined since there are a few websites dedicated to artists. I submitted a Call For Artists on the NYFA website and Art Slant. I had no idea what kind of responses I would get, if any, but luckily I got quite a few to choose from and they all turned out to be amazing people who created beautiful work.

When it came to contacting Chris Messina I knew it was a long shot but I also knew I would be a fool not to try. I found his email address and sent him a heartfelt email that he responded to more quickly than I expected. It was the perfect match and I was thrilled at his enthusiasm for the project.

What is the best life advice you received from an unlikely source?
“Before you start any new venture, imagine the worst case scenario. Once you get comfortable with that, you can do anything.” – Jena Steinbach of Little House. Not a totally “unlikely” source but this quote came from one of my recent projects, Founder Mantras where I collect quotes from fellow founder and independent creators. It came at a time when it was exactly what I needed to hear to move forward.

No business owner is a solo act.  What are a few resources that you rely on to build your business without getting overwhelmed?
I’m a huge fan of Evernote for my notes, Trello for lists and to-dos, Dropbox, Google Drive and Github for my design, dev and other files. Typeform for quick questionnaires and surveys, Mailchimp for my newsletters and Cloudpeeps for freelance writers.

How can the Thursday Interview community support what you do?
Keep me on my toes and never be afraid to tell me how you feel about my work. Since my studio is still its early stages I rely heavily on the support of friends, family and the community to keep my fire burning.

Thank you, Kim, for being such a fun, insightful  interview.

Stay connected with Kim on Twitter and Instagram and all things Bourn via Twitter.

Launching a new biz or project?  Let’s talk!  
Happy Creating, Cultivating and Growing!