There’s no doubt that millennial women are hustlers. Avonda Turner is the definition of a millennial hustler in every sense. The daughter of an educator and a war veteran, Turner was born and raised in Chesterfield, Virginia. A self-taught graphic and Web designer who runs her own brand development and Web design company, TurnerHill, recently launched her own jewelry company, ERIN/ANDERSON, a fashion retailer that provides young women professionals with quality, stylish products at an affordable price. Known as providing “desk to dinner” versatility, ERIN/ANDERSON is a product line for the young cosmopolitan professional.
BlackEnterprise.com spoke with Turner about her new e-commerce brand, how she successfully managed to transition into a new career, and the challenges she faces as an entrepreneur.
BlackEnterprise.com: You’re a Jill of all trades! In addition to brand strategy and graphic design/Web marketing, you are also a jewelry designer. What made you develop your own product line and launch ERIN/ANDERSON?
Avonda Turner: As a fashion-forward millennial, I needed jewelry that could make the transition from desk to dinner. Finding this, however, was a daunting task. Either the jewelry was way out of my young professional budget, cheap in quality, or there was barely a selection at all. This was a problem. So I set out to fix it. ERIN/ANDERSON is an online destination that delivers distinctive, versatile, quality jewelry directly to women’s wardrobes with the simple click of a button – all at a guilt- free price point.
Did a career in tech influence your decision to opt for e-commerce retail vs.a brick-and-mortar store?
Absolutely! Shopping is now done online – especially the fashion-forward, on-the-go, millennial woman. Whether scheduling an affordable car service or purchasing groceries, woman are turning over their daily tasks to their tablets and mobile devices. This is where ERIN/ANDERSON comes in. Accessible via desktop, tablet, and mobile, ERIN/ANDERSON makes it effortless for women to update their desk-to-dinner wardrobes with constant new arrivals, free shipping, and around-the-clock customer support. It’s literally fashion at your fingertips.
What challenges have you faced transitioning from a career as a professional marketer to becoming CEO of ERIN/ANDERSON?
From founder of TurnerHill to CEO of ERIN/ANDERSON, there has definitely been a transition. Designing a website for an accounting firm is a completely different ballgame from maintaining a successful e-commerce retailer. The Web development and branding were in the bag, but the merchandising, customer account management, shipping and handling, all became major lessons learned in the book of E/A.
What steps did you take to learn about the industry and to bridge any gaps in your knowledge?
Launching ERIN/ANDERSON was a goal of mine that brought about various doubts. But allowing doubt to overcome me was not an option, so I wrote a list of all the things I didn’t know, I prayed, I did my research, and I went to work.
You have a background in digital marketing. How are you using social media to advance your personal and professional brand?
When I started TurnerHill, 90% of my clientele learned about me through social media – specifically Facebook and Twitter. Fast-forward to now. I incorporate more strategy in how I use social media to connect with and engage new and consistent clientele.
What challenges do you face as an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur you are not only your own boss, you’re your own business manager, accountant, publicist, administrative assistant, and the list goes on. Each day is a lesson in a different subject, but I would not trade it for the world. With every challenge comes a learned lesson. And with every learned lesson you’re one step closer to success.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Growing up, I was always taught that dreams and aspirations were synonymous with one’s goals. “If you can dream it, you can achieve it,” as my parents would say. This still rings true to me today. We were all created to be extraordinary individuals with divine purpose. Find your purpose. Align it with your aspirations. Go #MakeAStatement!