“All of my brands lead to one goal; helping others fulfill their purpose in life by chasing their God-given dreams relentlessly,” says Karine Melissa.
Her desire to illuminate the confidence and persistence in others is the inspiration for creating companies devoted to “Bringing Dreams to Reality.”
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
There were two main events that motivated me to start my own business.
- My father was a business owner and I fell in love with the idea of leading people who want the opportunity to work freely in a field they are passionate about. I loved the idea of working all day and all night working towards my personal goals.
- A feeling rising inside of me that could not be contained! That was my motivation and inspiration for becoming an entrepreneur. Fashion Designers Expo in 2007 birthed from a burning desire to serve others by creating a strong and trusted fashion organization. This platform would be where emerging professionals would not be mistreated or taken advantage of but still receive the mainstream media coverage and recognition as they deserve.
Tell us about your business.
Fashion Designers Expo (FDE) is an internationally cultured runway exposition produced by Karine Melissa and Team FDE. FDE celebrates 11 years in business with over 16 seasons of runway shows in Miami, FL and Los Angeles, CA showcasing rising icons in the industry.
The expert staff of FDE, also known as TeamFDE, oversees this powerful platform and uses their industry intelligence and experience to educate and empower the emerging generation of icons.
FDE offers the connections and exposure that emerging fashion talents need to bring their dreams to reality. From hands-on experience to educational seminars, FDE is the platform that equips the promising and innovative generation of fashion professionals.
The mission of FDE is to raise up a strong generation of emerging fashion professionals by providing knowledge, experience, guidance, and opportunities through a uniquely developed fashion production empire.
TeamFDE is also an event management team lead by Karine Melissa specializing in the Fashion and Entertainment Industries, as well as Charity focused events. With over 50 years of combined experience, this team has a unique way of fusing their creative ideas together with expert knowledge in their respective industries.
We Think Loud is a platform I recently launched to highlight the power of a woman’s voice. Many times, women hold back on voicing their thoughts in fear of rejection, coming across as not smart enough, insecurity, or doubt. We Think Loud encourages the promotion of the powerful voice of a woman. We believe that a woman’s voice can impact many lives when we speak up.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
- Share your story about being unstoppable to win a free copy of my book: I Am Unstoppable: 7 Stages of Embracing the Unstoppable You – For Women Relentlessly Chasing their Dreams.
- Designers Registration is now open for Fashion Designers Expo 2019.
- We Think Loud – Share your voice with us! Email a quote and hi-resolution picture to email@example.com.
- University of Phoenix DM, Doctor of Management – Currently in Residency
- Light University Biblical Counseling Diploma
- University of Phoenix Master of Arts, Business Management
- Trinity International University Bachelor’s in Arts, Communications and Organizational Leadership
- PCDI/Ashworth University Certificate, Fashion Retail, and Merchandising
- Awarded twice by the City of Miami recognizing philanthropic events
- Awarded at Ft. Lauderdale Fashion week by Women Supporting Women
- Awarded at The Precious Diamonds Mogul Appreciation Dinner
- Divas that Grind Award
- Brickell Key Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Professionals
- Women on the Move Award
Where is your business based?
TeamFDE has produced shows in Miami and Los Angeles. However, our hometown in Miami, Florida.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I organized my thoughts by writing them down to make the vision plan. I created a team with passion, intelligence, and purpose. I designed a quarterly goal sheet and celebrated each small success. I intentionally developed my leadership skills to strengthen the foundation and forward movement of the team.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Social media and word of mouth.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Overcoming the “If I only had this…” mindset. For many years I found myself saying, “If I only had more money, more people, more lights, more whatever then everything would be all right”. However, that is not true.
There are many people that have a lot of money and are still not satisfied. That type of thinking will distract you from your purpose. We should constantly ask ourselves, “Why are we doing this?” This is what brings fulfillment.
I now live in the mindset of, “I have access to everything I need in this exact moment for me to be successful.” With this mindset, I open myself up to creative freedom that did not exist before.
I have access to it all. I do not need to be afraid to call anyone and ask for anything. I have access. I have a saying that there is nobody bigger, badder, or better than me.
I have the right to call and ask for whatever I need without the fear of rejection. A turn down just means that person was not the right one to be a part of your journey. I am happy to say that I am free today from the “If I only had this” limited thinking.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Education, experience, and prayer.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
First, through prayer. Second, protecting my mind by meditating on what is good. It only takes a few seconds to look around and see all the bad things happening which can bring your spirits down. Instead, choose to see all the good around you.
It is important to protect your mind this way. The more bad thinking you let in is the less motivated you’ll feel. So, protecting your mind is very important.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
By respecting my competitors’ ability to be innovative. Once I do this, I understand how much harder I must work to be successful; while understanding that I don’t need to be better than anyone else.
I just need to perfect my niche and fulfill my purpose. My biggest asset is me just being me. Nobody can beat me at that!
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Try everything. Sometimes I get ideas and I can psyche myself out about it wondering if it’ll work or not. But one of my mentors told me, “If it’s brewing in you, just try it.” What is there to lose? No experience is a mistake.
Everything will be used to mold you into your best self. If it works, then great! If not, then try something else that you’re passionate about (budget wisely).
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Be sure that you are passionate about whatever you set out to do. Many times, passion will be the only fuel you have to get you through the tough times.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
Canva and Fiverr are my favorite business tools at the moment. My favorite resource is my school’s library. As a doctoral student, I have access to so many journal articles from influencers and experts.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
Instinct by TD Jakes is an excellent book.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am currently rebranding one of my businesses. My team and I are keeping things that worked and rethinking the things that didn’t. We have been receiving help from mentors, trained leaders, and industry professionals. We will need help with the rebranding of marketing materials, logo, etc.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My focus right now is my doctoral dissertation. I am focused on leadership development and management.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Instagram @FashionDesignersExpo, @KarineMelissa, @DreamChasersConference, @FDEiheartkids, @LifeImpactInc, @WeThinkLoud
Twitter @FDEintl, @Karine_Melissa
Facebook @FDEintl, @KarineMelissa, @wethinkloud
Website www.FashionDesignersExpo, www.iamKarineMelissa.com, www.LifeImpactInc.org, www.wethinkloud.com
Email FashionDesignersExpo@gmail.com, iamKarineMelissa@gmail.com
Hashtags #FDEintl #TeamFDE #KarineMelissa #DrKarineMelissa #WeThinkLoud