Monday, April 28, 2008


Greetings Lovelies!!!

Howard University is known as the capstone of Black Education. Holding true to its name, HU has afforded us the opportunity to meet so many talented and creative entrepreneurs, movers & shakers, fashionistas, and future success stories. Today we're pleased to introduce you to NATIONAL SOCIETY OF SOUL (NSS) and Ms. Ladybug ,Shantelle Brumfield, the owner.

VB had the esteemed honor of being in the presence of the one and only Shantelle to pick her brain and soak up some of her creative juices. Check out the conversation. It inspired us and we hope that you gain some motivation to get on your grind and make your dreams a reality as well. As women, encouraging one another is a trait that we consider to be VERY blue.

What made you decide to start your own business?
In order to answer this question we must take a journey back down memory lane to my childhood. When I was about 3 years old, I began collecting loose change from my father’s pockets, which then lead to me completing my brother’s household chores at $5 to $10 per week. Eventually, I would go out with my older brother Mike on his newspaper route and get pulled behind in this red wagon, while making a quarter per paper I handed to him. Finally, when I turned nine years old I started my first business of cleaning older folks' homes. Now, when it comes to National Society of Soul it was a predestined decision. My life’s blueprint reads ENTREPRENEUR all over it.

When did you start NSS?
During my freshmen year at Howard University I began crocheting hat and scarf sets for students. I was a Biology/Chemistry dual major on the excelled track designed for Pre-Professional Health Career. Needless to say, I had absolutely no time, but I made time to build business. Later, at Howard's Homecoming in 2003, my homegirl Miss India “BEBE” Jackson, inspired me to submit pieces into the fashion showcase, which featured Serena Williams' line and Nelly’s Apple Bottom Jean line. That event was a prime opportunity to prove myself to my fellow student body, friends, and respected alum.

How has the business been going?
Well, about four months ago I took a huge step out on faith to leave my job as a Cancer Research Scientist to pursue design full-time and things have been great. I've been featured in Howard's Homecoming Fashion Show 2003, Howard's RESFEST 2003, New Faces Fashion Show May 2007, DC Fashion Week 2008, LA Fashion Week 2008, Howard's Black Arts Festival 2008, a XXL Magazine Jan/Feb 2008 photoshoot featuring female hip hop star Remy Ma, Jersey Woman Magazine, and more to come. Along with Remy Ma, NSS has also achieved product placement with the following celebrities: Mya, Erykah Badu, and Lauren London. And more recently, myself and five other designers are opening DC’s first designer showroom; offering fashion, art, and music in one location.

1. Remy Ma rockin some NSS originals in XXL (feb. 2008)

2. A pair from the "Heart" collection featured in XXL

How did NSS become so prominent in your life?
I began crocheting during my freshmen year of high school as a hobby. I use to spend a lot of time around my grandmother and her women’s club, which sparked my interest in learning how to crochet, cross-stitch, quilt, and sew. I received one-on-one training from my grandmother’s friend Cora, who taught me how to make hats, blankets, and scarves. But, it was during spring break of my sophomore year of high school that my craft of crocheting was perfected. My aunt Evelyn taught me to read patterns and position my hands properly, while executing quality product. And the rest is history. For me, design provides stress relief and relaxation, making it very easy to forget about life’s drama.

Do you remember your first sale? Describe how it felt.
Yes, I was in high school back in California at Benicia High School. One of my classmates, Heidi, was an incredible sketch artist who loved cats. I made her a purple and teal tam. It felt so good seeing my product being worn by another individual, and receiving the praise from follow classmates and teachers was a priceless experience.

How does NSS impact the community?
I believe fashion is a direct reflection of an individual’s soul. My sense of fashion evolved from my love of life, music, and natural beauty. The clothing that one puts on their body helps to project their soul to the world. NSS provides creativity and individuality. When someone wears an NSS original they feel like one-of-a-kind, the way God designed them.

Do you have any advice for new entrepreneurs?
“Plan your work and work your plan!!” Its easy to spend mounds of time planning every detail, when in actuality your business comes to life through action. As you take action, adjustments will be made to your plan to make it more efficient and effective. Think of it as the art of war ". . .one battle is lost, but new combat tactics are established.” “DON’T BE AFRAID. . .fear is the door between you and your success!”

How can our readers contact you or get their own pair of NSS originals?

DEKKA Showroom
1338 U Street NW, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC

VB thanks Shantelle and NATIONAL SOCIETY OF SOUL for helping us keep it BLUE!!!


Ms. Word said...

Great article ladies...keep it up!

National Society of Soul said...


This is such a virtuously BLUE move. . .Thanks for the feature ladies. Your site is really coming to life, so PROUD. By the way thanks for the make-up tip KENYA.

That's PEACE

ndidi said...

Your cousin is so fly, Teneasha!

yummy411 said...

great article! thanks for sharing!!