MIAMI – In our Women’s Small Business Spotlight, we learn about Michele Bazin and what it takes her business, BAM Design Group to grow.
Q: What is your backstory, and how did you start your company?
A: I am an American born, and the Caribbean raised Miami girl. My academic background is in hospitality & tourism; however, after juggling the 9-5 work life, school, and entrepreneurship since age 16, I decided to take a leap of faith and focus on building a business.
Originally my business was an all-female promotions company that developed into an event planning brand called Events ‘Round The Way.
Because I was a student at the time on a ‘ramen noodle budget’ as A Space Called Tribe, owner Felecia Hatcher would say, I had to teach myself how to provide the necessary services that I could not afford. This included studying business law at home, learning to create my own flyers, interning in PR & media, doing the self-love work needed to host these events, and so on.
What was then a self-taught skill to cut costs for running my events business had become a fully operating business of its own called BAM Design Group; where I create flyers, logos, websites, brochures, you name it!
If it can be printed or posted online, I can create it.
The name ‘BAM’ is simply my initials backward, and verbal description of the feeling clients get inside when they see my finished work: loud & exciting – just like the creator!
Q: What successful entrepreneur has had the most influence on you?
A: Oprah Winfrey! Despite her beginnings, she refused to ‘go gently into that good night.’ I identify with this survivor spirit and do the same. Where I started is not a reflection of who I am.
Oprah is where she is because she refused to give up or allow herself to be limited. Instead, she turned one business into several, always keeping philanthropy in mind.
I aspire to be as bold & inspirational as she is and expect myself to create as many successful lanes as she has.
Q: What has been your most significant professional achievement?
A: I am learning when to listen. It allowed me to attract mentors and meaningful relationships with people who provided me with fantastic opportunities.
Through mentorship alone, I have been able to host the 16th Annual Royal Coils Natural Hair & Beauty Expo and design ads for the operators (2019); provide design and media services for Miami Carnival (2019); host a financial literacy series at 7 black-owned venues from Miami to Broward, creating the flyer design for each workshop (2019); develop visuals for the Diocese of SE Florida (2019), and so on.
By listening more and speaking less, I have been blessed with opportunities I did not see coming at all in 2018-19. Watch out 2020!
Q: What is the single best piece of advice you would give to someone just starting?
A: If the thought of working 9-5 pains you, truly pains you, follow your intuition and start your own business.
Some people complain about disliking their jobs, but I remember being miserable in every work setting, no matter how pleasant the staff members were.
I felt every minute going by; every unnecessary conversation about work that did not matter or protect me from being let go at any moment in our “At-Will” Sunshine state.
I avoided my intuition for years, attempting to balance the 9-5 life with building my brand.
When the last company I worked for released me for “not fitting the company culture,” I cried myself out of the office, went home, and swore never to look back. I have been happy on a business and spiritual level ever since.
You will know entrepreneurship is for you when the idea of losing all of your income taking an entrepreneurial risk is far less unnerving than sitting in an office with a guaranteed paycheck.
Q: What is your favorite business tool?
There are a few. Adobe Suite is my lifeline for creation, followed by LegalZoom for protection.
Since discovering them at a FacebookFit event years ago, I have had a ‘go-to’ for my legal needs on a small business budget. For management & communication, GSuite by Google.