Dionna Dorsey Calloway on inspiring action with District of Clothing

Dionna Dorsey Calloway_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

District of Clothing is a lifestyle brand encouraging progression, inspiring action and supporting self-love.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

Initially, I was laid off in 2008 during the Great Recession. That’s what led to my first company, Dionna Dorsey Design. District of Clothing arrived in 2014 as a result of my prime client going on a spending freeze. I knew then that I would need to create a side hustle to assist with making ends meet.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

Fashion Design.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Yes! I can remember playing that I was a ‘shop owner’ as young as 8 years old.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

At the time, in 2014, I was working from a woman-owned office space solely filled with women-owned businesses–many of whom were early Instagram adopters and influencers. I gifted items from the brand which eventually, and very organically, started appearing in their posts and shares.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

Honestly, just continuing through it all. That’s it. The fact that I’ve continued to continue. #keepgoing

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

By mid-March 2020, I started to notice a decrease in client requests for Dionna Dorsey Design projects. I was incredibly anxious about work and fearful about the pandemic, but I realized that if I am encouraging others to take action then I should probably take my own advice. Also, I truly needed to find some peace in the midst of the chaos, so I pivoted toward productivity with District of Clothing.

I changed our social media strategy, adjusted the marketing plan, and worked on the website. We launched the Common Purpose (CP) collection in April–one that I designed in 2019 but was too afraid to launch–because it was clear we would need to have a common purpose to successfully get through the pandemic. We also noted that a portion of the CP collection sales would support COVID relief via World Central Kitchen. I sent an incredibly honest and vulnerable email to our community, and business exploded. 

As 2020 continued, many of our collections, i.e. Do Not Touch The Artwork, Dreamer Doer, and Trust Black Women, resonated and were fully aligned with what was happening in our country. Community members wore their items while working from home, homeschooling and during social zooms, while protesting, and even to vote.  

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

Artists collaborations, brand partnerships, and a wider apparel option! (yes, this means more joggers and shorts)

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

My faith kept me. Also, I strictly followed Dr. Fauci and Andy Slavitt’s advice, kept up with other’s accounts of their pandemic experience–especially those that were different from mine, and thank goodness for my family zooms and my Love and my rock, my husband.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Absolutely not. It’s impossible, and for me, not healthy. I prefer to give my full attention to whatever the priority is at that time. For me, it’s important to put myself on my daily list, yes, but I also put myself at the top, and the bottom, of my daily list. This way, I actively choose to start the day practicing self-care and end the day by replenishing myself–my mind, body and soul.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

Give yourself grace, take naps, and don’t answer every call/text.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

For me, being an Entreprenista means operating in my purpose with intention daily so that I can create the most impact and share truth through my art. 

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





11 Business Tools Entreprenistas can’t live without

With so many business tools and solutions out there to choose from, we know it can be difficult to decide which to use. Our team asked some incredible Entreprenistas to share their favorite solution with us so that we could provide a round up of trusted tools for you to check out as you begin…

Mara Smith of Inspiro Tequila on breaking into the male-dominated spirits industry

Describe your business in a few words: I am a former attorney, corporate strategist and stay-at-home mom, and the founder of Inspiro Tequila.  I started drinking tequila when I was looking for a clean, gluten-free spirit that fit into my active lifestyle. I searched for a tequila brand that was additive-free with a look, taste…

Kamal Brar of Healthify Tea on maintaining a healthy mindset and lifestyle

Describe your business in a few words: I’m Kamal Brar, Founder of Healthify Tea and Certified Holistic Health Coach specializing in autoimmune conditions and weight loss. Healthify Tea is a result of dissatisfaction and a consequent want to offer a superior, more delicious, fresher tea with focus on its health benefits. Our company is one…

Elisa Molina of COVEDOZA on creating space for underrepresented women

Describe your business in a few words: I am a multi-passionate entrepreneur, a first-time mother, and Founder and CEO of COVEDOZA – an Afro-Latina owned brand created for the passionate feminist with a mission to uplift the voices and artwork of Black, Indigenous and Women of Color (BIWOC) artists via print collaborations.  COVEDOZA creates feminist…

Rachel Johnson of ah.mi on working together to achieve collective success

Describe your business in a few words: ah.mi is a wellness revolution focused on getting healthy for good, by sticking to the basics: greens.water.move.repeat. ah.mi was started out of a desire to get healthy after my second baby.  As a busy corporate lawyer, I found there was no company out there that spoke my language…

How Zoho CRM Helped Entreprenista Sustain Continued Business Growth

When we began researching the best CRM platform for Entreprenista, it became clear that there were many on the market for us to choose from. We wanted something that was going to grow with us, keep us organized, and have good mobile functionality. As we continued to wade through the sea of reviews and websites…

Catalina Escallon and Daniela Guarin of Noodo Studio on bringing ideas to market

Describe your business in a few words: We are Catalina Escallon and Daniela Guarin, a dynamic duo with a serial entrepreneurial spirit. We are Co-Founders of Noodo, an idea accelerator studio, where we cultivate, accelerate and bring ideas to market. We help brands come up with creative solutions for challenges they face like: creating innovative…

Stephanie Riel of Riel Deal Marketing on how building community can impact your business

Describe your business in a few words: RielDeal Marketing is a full-service boutique brand marketing firm. My team and I handle everything from brand strategy (refresh and launch), website development, social media management, paid advertising email marketing and automation to help ensure our clients ideal customer experiences a clear, consistent message….because as I always say…

Ashley Piszek of MISS SWISS on generating quick growth and expansion in the startup phase

Describe your business in a few words: In less than a year, MISS SWISS has been picked up by major retailers including Urban Outfitters, Verishop, Amazon, and boutiques around the US. Our MISS SWISS 2-in-1 Brush Holder & Drying Rack was awarded a Her Campus Beauty Award in October 2021, and our products have been…

Abbe Feder of InCircle Fertility on stepping into her entrepreneurial spirit

Describe your business in a few words: We’ve all heard of becoming an expert in something we never wanted to be an expert in – that’s me. I didn’t want to become an expert in infertility. But after twelve scientifically assisted attempts, a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, and a termination for medical reasons, once I…

Performance Coach Natalee Champlin on running a high performance team

Describe your business in a few words: People call me The Velvet Hammer. I help entrepreneurs achieve their goals without putting more on their plate by running a high performance team. I run a consulting and coaching company that supports clients with two things: business growth strategy and accelerated results. What was your background prior…

The best gifts for everyone on your list (from Entreprenista-owned brands, of course)

We’ve handpicked the best gifts for everyone on your list! This guide has you covered with the perfect gifts for the beauty enthusiast, the fitness lover, the friend who seemingly has *everything*, and everyone in between. SHINERY The globe’s first clean, plant-based jewelry and hand wash, SHINERY is the brainchild of newly minted Entreprenista Brea…

The 13 best gifts for kids from Entreprenista-owned brands

This holiday season, we know you have a lot on your plate. That’s why Entreprenista has handpicked this season’s best gifts for kids from women-owned businesses, so you can easily shop knowing the kids in your life will love these one-of-a-kind products. DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections When Entreprenista Kristen Tomlan moved to New York City…

12 Mamaprenista approved gifts from women-owned brands

Mamaprenistas do it all. This holiday season, the Entreprenista team has put together our favorite essentials from women-owned brands that will enable the Mamaprenista in your life to put her best foot forward as she enters the new year. Whether it’s indulging her sweet tooth, treating her to luxury items, or empowering her to glow…

The 11 best gifts for the Entreprenista in your life

Are you shopping for a go-getter who is serious about their personal and professional success, but not quite sure what they need? Not to worry, the Entreprenista team has you covered this holiday season! We’ve curated our list with incredible gifts for the hardworking, biz-minded Entreprenista in your life – ranging from biz-boosting programs to…