Meet Shyreeta Benbow
Meet Power Mom Shyreeta Benbow
TDR Brands International spotlights Power Moms who show inner strength and courage, while simultaneously loving and nurturing family, during the pursuit of their dreams.
“Our storms are our challenges. If you make it through the storm, you become several steps closer to succeeding.”
Tierra Destiny Reid: Please give us a brief recap of your career.
Shyreeta Benbow: I've been in the Healthcare field for 15 years as a medical biller and coder. I love what I do but I never saw it as a job to retire from. I've always been what they call a "hustler." I was a teen working for the railroad sophomore year of high school and purchased my first vehicle at 15 years old. I made money doing braids, watching kids, selling snowballs, selling candy door to door and so on. I co-owned Envision This Event Management Inc. for over 3 years. We planned and managed events and sold event props at wholesale prices. I volunteered for non-profit organizations, small businesses needing odds and ends done in order to familiarize myself with how a business should be ran, and I invested in small projects as well. In turn, I was asked to explore another business venture. This was a venture that I had already had experience with, importing products overseas. My friends, one of which owns a successful cosmetics line (packaged overseas) and the other that owned a popular boutique (clothes imported from overseas). Collectively, we share over 10 years of experience in importing goods from other countries. Our passions are to help people. Particularly, small businesses that were on the brink of closing due to high overhead expenses. We decided to do some research on the demand import/export agents, regulations/requirements, customs/duty rules, and certified freight forwarding. After doing so, we found that there was a lack of women and knowledge in this area and we were willing to accept the challenge of becoming the ones to do so. We saw that people needed our assistance importing item specifics at wholesale prices, starting or maintaining a business, product development, branding, packaging a product, and their shipping needs. In 2012, we formed our own company, iBrand Matchmaker Int'l Trade Co. At that time, we started travelling to different cities in China in order to experience the hands-on approach of quality assurance within a factory. We've done so, every year thereafter. In 2014, we decided to host China trips for individuals wanting to travel alongside us to experience the process hands-on. We were our own guinea pigs. By stepping out, we broke barriers that people wouldn't have the heart to do. By doing so, we have extended our business. We now have a 100% herbal stimulating hair oil named, ‘Oh My, Miracle! Hair Oil’, which is formulated by an Indian doctor, a unisex hat line named, ‘Crown Kandy Hats’, backed by celebrities like Nick Cannon, Coko Clemons, Twista, Do or Die, and Jennifer Hudson's husband, David Otunga; a scented nail polish kit for teens named, ‘Bella Colori’, mascots for a children's book, and a packaging for the make-up line, ‘SoShe Cosmetics’. I'm proud to say that this is our niche'. As an individual, I refuse to stop here. I'm aspiring to become a non-fiction author so that I can inspire and empower people. Again, my purpose is to help and not hurt people.
TDR: Tell us about your children.
SB: My son, Elijah is 14 years old. He's articulate, creative, outgoing, funny, and smart. He loves to sing, dance, draw, and stay at home and play video games. His favorite subject is English. My daughter, Amari is 1 month away from turning 16 years old. She is caring, loving, a bit shy, smart, helpful, assertive, and ambitious. She loves to travel, watch movies with her grandmother, cook, sing, dance with her brother, and rap. Her favorite subject is Math.
TDR: How are you juggling your passion with the responsibilities of parenthood?
SB: I make everything work by planning ahead and communicating with my team. If my children are at practice for sports then I use that time to get on a conference call, send emails, track shipments, and to communicate via WeChat with my assistant. I'm employed currently but my office is 7 minutes from my job. I utilize my lunch break to go to the office and check in or meet clients. My daughter has been taught to cook real meals by my aunts, my mom, and myself. We prepare dinner together so I don't plan anything around our time spent together. I plan outings very often for my children and I don't allow business to supersede our plans. Balance had its struggles at one point in my life but I was determined to learn how to schedule my time accurately.
TDR: What are some of your struggles and how do you work to overcome them?
SB: Traveling out of the country during the school year and needing someone to care for my children. I had to organize a day to day schedule for my mother and my brother who are both employed full time. I set what days and who would either drop off or pick them up, draw up a second schedule for sports including Saturdays and Sundays. Buy food for home and my mom's house, leave emergency money and spending money (budgeting ahead is a must), notify the schools (they were in separate schools) of my absence, and coordinate my sleep schedule because the time zone difference is 17 hours ahead. When I'm up they’re sleep and vice versa. With roaming charges, calling home from my cell was not possible. I downloaded an app called WeChat to communicate only in WIFI areas. This app allowed me to call, facetime, text, leave voice enabled messages, record videos, and send photos. I called home at 7 a.m. my time to speak with them in the evening about how their day was and I'd return to my room at 8:30 p.m. to speak with them before they left for school.
TDR: What are 2 resources you use to help you stay motivated?
SB: Youtube and books or podcasts.
TDR: What is your favorite way to pause?
SB: I love to sit quietly by a pond or creek, my car, the kitchen, or the restroom jotting down my ideas and thoughts. I also love to listen to jazz; Robert Glasper is my favorite artist.
TDR: What has been the scariest moment or crossroad in your journey?
SB: The scariest moment was when I decided to join my partners in travelling to China. We didn't know anyone there, we hadn't built a network, and we had only 7 months to execute a plan for travel. We didn't know where in China was best to seek out manufacturing companies, where to stay and if it was Westernized, their culture, or how we would get place to place by only speaking English and it not being a primary language there. What we did know was that we wanted to help people by becoming the source to provide small businesses a service that would save them money.
TDR: What would be your greatest advice to other "Power Moms" wanting to pursue their dreams?
SB: Do not fear taking a step towards your dreams. You will never know your limits if you refuse to step out on faith. Our storms are our challenges. If you make it through the storm, you become several steps closer to succeeding. Plan and execute!
TDR: What word best describes the legacy you want to leave for your children and why?
SB: Diligence- To always be persistent in completing a task. Diligence is the virtue of hard work and success is the result.
TDR: How can others collaborate and support your mission?
SB: Please visit our website, www.ibrandmatchmaker.com to familiarize yourself with the services that we offer. If interested, contact me by email at ImportAgent@iBrandMatchmaker.com or by phone 773-443-8003.
Connect with Shyreeta:
Facebook: Shyreeta Benbow
LinkedIn: Shyreeta Benbow