Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year
Theresa Quintanilla was surprised to be named Entrepreneur of the Year because she does not have a fashion-based business. However, she is grateful for the opportunity to explain why she supports the Fashion Entrepreneurs of Houston. She believes that creative professionals need a strong community to support their development. Theresa has a business education, and likes to write about creative businesses. So, she enjoys learning about everyone’s aspirations at FEH. Theresa hopes to get opportunities to write about them often.
Theresa grew up in the Houston area and attended Dulles HS. She received a BA in Art History from TCU in Fort Worth, and has an MBA from Columbia U. in New York. Theresa and her husband currently live in the Houston Museum District, next to Hermann Park. They believe that Houston is a great place to be an entrepreneur. Everyone has a business idea!
Her creativity is focused on planning, designing, and creating newsletters. She has never been a journalist nor worked in public relations. Theresa started her career as an advertising account executive at the Houston branch of Ogilvy Advertising. After that she bounced around at a lot of different marketing jobs at large and small companies, always creating newsletters wherever she went.
Theresa has frequently experimented with being her own boss, and still dreams of having her own company. Unfortunately, her ventures have failed, whether it was publishing newsletters, assisting small companies with technology, marketing research, or creating an innovative startup called Creative Houston. (The Creative Houston web site is still up at www.CreativeHouston.org). Like many entrepreneurs, though she struggles, she continues to work hard to pursue her dreams.
Currently, she freelances for professionals providing blogging, email marketing, newsletters, and LinkedIn posts. In the future she hopes to help people who collect art with a business called Framing Houston. Theresa is fascinated by the possibilities of using digital frames. She enjoys being an amateur photographer of Houston’s cityscape. She believes that Houston can become an influential center for new fashion ideas--with the support of people like us.
Outstanding Student Leadership Award
Glory Nwora is a senior at the University of Houston majoring in Integrated Communication and minoring in Business Management. Her love for fashion started as a child, and grew as she got older. She credits the shows "That's So Raven", "True Jackson VP", and "What Not To Wear" as the inspirations behind her interest in fashion. All of those shows reflected how clothes can be an extension of our personalities, a concept that became really interesting to her.
She currently works as a marketing assistant for the University of Houston's Student Life Department, and other jobs on her resume include being a Communication Assistant for UH Athletics and a Communication Intern for Fashion Mingle. Glory is also the President of the Fashion and Business Organization at her school. After graduation she plans to move to New York and start a career in fashion or in influencer marketing.
Emerging Beauty Entrepreneur
If Kai could tell anyone one thing about herself, she would say the one thing she always knew is that she would be on her own payroll. Kai has always been the type of person to lead and innovate. Kai Hadassash is the owner of Akpan Enterprises LLC.
Kai was born and raised in Missouri City, a suburb of Houston, Texas. She is the eldest of two children. Her mother is a Michigan native and her father is of Nigerian decent.
In her early years, she can recall being a hand full, but she wouldn’t describe herself as disobedient. She feels as though inquisitive is more befitting. Kai always wanted to explore the “why” of the instructions she was given by adults. Kai guesses one could even conclude that she tested the limits of what she was allowed to get away with. Many of her childhood friends described her as bossy. After all, she is the oldest, so responsibility is typically tied to that role. Part of being responsible is decision making. This is probably one of the biggest factors that contributed to Kai's way of thinking and the perspectives she has.
Upon graduation from high school, Kai enrolled in Houston Community College. She later attended the University of Houston Central Campus. Fashion and English Language are two things Kai always loved, so she double majored in Retail and Consumer Science as well as English Literature. At the time, Kai did not take higher education as seriously as she should have. It’s not that she didn’t value an education; it’s just that Kai saw a different path for herself. In hindsight, Kai now understands how both degree plans helped prepare her for what she was always destined to be; a BOSS.
In 2011, Kai made her first attempt at being a boutique owner. She was extremely excited and just knew she could attract customers if she had tons of cute products to sell. Kai's approach couldn’t have been more wrong. She failed miserably. There were people at the time telling her that the markets she was interested in were too saturated and that she should consider other avenues. Thankfully, her level of ambition has always been high, and Kai did not let that failure (or the many others after that) stop her. The only thing it did was make her more determined.
Today, Kai is a serial entrepreneur and the owner of three different businesses; Investment Inches, Kristani Marie and Mane Couturier.
Investment Inches is a wholesale and drop ship hair extension and beauty product distributer. They provide quality extensions to businesses and individuals as well as business guidance and development for aspiring entrepreneurs and start-up companies. She believes generational wealth begins with YOUrself.
Kristani Marie is an online boutique for the confident and modern woman with a bold personal style. Their pieces are curated with the distinctiveness in mind. They don’t sell trends, they sell breathtaking.
Mane Couturier is a luxury retail hair extension brand. Their storefront is located on the South East side of Houston, TX. They offer a vast variety of products and services. It’s more than hair, it’s an experience.
Kai's businesses are now successful and generating revenue, it has not always been that way. One of the biggest lessons in life she has learned is persistence; perspective and prayer are instrumental to success. Never allow someone else's limitations to be yours. The sky is truly the limit. It is cliché, but it’s also true.