March is Women’s history month and also the month that kicks off spring. We feel refreshed and motivated. We’re honoring those ambitious women that have strived to make a difference in this world. March is just a great precursor for us. How can one celebrate one year of success in entrepreneurship? One must throw the celebration of their choice but it must be something that won’t take the focus off of the business. Chatoya Antwine, owner of A la Carte Galore is hosting a celebration to honor one year of service on Saturday, March 21, 2015. Around running a business, Chatoya made time to interview with us as we’re featuring her as our March Ambitious Woman of the Month. She’s here to tell us about her journey to and through entrepreneurship as well as why you should attend her anniversary event later on in the month.
Credentials Chatoya graduated from Michigan State University in May 2010 with a B.A. in Finance and Wayne State University in May 2011 with my M.S. in Accounting. She says after starting a career in the corporate world she began brainstorming on how she could accomplish the goals she had once set in high school. although born and raised in Michigan, in 2011 she moved to Chicago to start her business but she says she travels back and forth often.
Check out her interview below:
AM: When did you decide you wanted to start your own business? And what does your business provide as a means of service?
Chatoya: I’ve always wanted to become an entrepreneur. In high school my goals were to become an Accountant, open my own firm, and own a restaurant and movie theater. I’ve always had the passion of owning and managing my own company.I felt that I could be doing more than just working in the corporate world. I had so free-time after work. During my spare time, for over six years, I would develop resumes and cover letters, plan trips, small outings, and events for friends and family members. In 2013 I planned a surprise trip for my best friend to Miami. My best friend and her boyfriend were already going and he wanted all of her close friends to come and surprise her. I planned the trip, booked flights from Detroit and Chicago, booked rooms, found restaurants, made reservations, found activities for us to do and made an itinerary. Her boyfriend was so impressed with everything I had planned, and suggested that I start planning trips and charging people. A month later one of my other best friends got engaged and asked if I could plan her wedding. I originally declined because I’ve always planned small events but nothing as big as a wedding. She had faith in me and trusted that I could execute her dream wedding because I had always done a great job at planning for other occasions. Shortly after I started to make a list of things I love to do so that I could define my passion and hopefully turn it into a business. The list consisted of planning trips, small events, and developing resumes and cover letters. After my best friend asked me to plan her wedding, I decided to be an Event Planner, then being a Travel Planner and Career Planner came about. After deep thought, I decided since i have two degrees, I’m going to start my own business. I wanted to put them to use and that’s when the Financial planner role came. Eventually, I decided to put all my passions of planning together and start A la carte Galore, LLC.
A la carte Galore, LLC is a planning service business consisting of Event, Travel, Financial, and Career Planning. We also create floral arrangements for all occasions and provide party and event décor rentals such as table linen, chair covers, sashes, charger plates, napkins, napkin rings, and more. I plan all special events such as weddings, baby showers, birthday partied, bridal parties, and more; I am a travel agent and book both domestic and international for leisure, corporate, and honeymoons; I develop and critique resumes and cover letters and assist with career changes and job searches; and lastly I provide financial literacy such as creating financial budgets, educating on how to eliminate and pay off debt, importance of life insurance, 401k, and many other financial products. We are a one-stop shop and my clients are able to benefit from my company from a personal, professional, and leisure standpoint.
AM: What’s entrepreneurship like?
Chatoya: Entrepreneurship is challenging and requires commitment and consistency. In order to be an entrepreneur you have to be passion-driven. You have to be passionate about succeeding and determined to overcome any obstacles that may come your way. It is more than just a title of owning a business and it is far from easy. I believe that it’s even harder for me because I have a Michigan-based business and I live in Illinois. I also have a full-time career, working for the fifth largest accounting firm. I’ve had to make many sacrifices in order to be able to invest time and money into my brand and build a successful company. Two of my biggest spending habits are shopping and food. Instead of wasting $500 on shopping and dining out, I now invest it in my company each month. Since I’ve started my business, I won’t buy anything unless I have a coupon or have attempted to search high and low to see if any coupons are available for wherever I am shopping at. There where times where I’ve eaten Ramen Noodles for lunch and dinner in order to invest in branding and inventory for my company. Yes! A corporate woman eating Ramen Noodles! You have to be willing set your pride aside in order to accomplish the goals you have laid out for your life and re-evaluate your lifestyle.
AM: Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years
Chatoya: In five to ten years, I see myself as a full-time entrepreneur. A La Carte Galore will be a thriving company with a booming clientele and our services will utilized by corporate companies and celebrity clients. We will be known as the go-to Company for your personal, professional, career, and leisure needs. I will also have completed my long-term goal of owning a restaurant and movie theater. I see myself helping other entrepreneurs start and build successful companies and motivating and encouraging others to conquer their dreams despite the lack of support or obstacles they are faced with.
AM: What else should the readers know about ala carte galore ?
Chatoya: We are a budget friendly company and we want to make sure our clients are getting high quality service at an affordable rate. Not only are we passionate about planning, but we are passionate about networking and empowerment. We want to see others succeed and are willing to lend a helping hand to help pave the way for others. Sometimes it’s not always about what you know, but who know. You can learn so much by just being open to connect and network with others.
AM: Give us a briefing of what your anniversary event will be like?
Chatoya: To celebrate my one year in business, I am hosting an Empowerment Dinner and Networking Mixer. The purpose of this event is to empower, inspire, motivate, and connect professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders. My goal is to attract both men and women of all backgrounds, professions, and industries in the Metro Detroit area. Through my experience , success is achieved when like-minded individuals work together. This event will include guest speakers, a 3 course gourmet dinner, networking mixer, vendor tables, and a special attendee gift bag. Our notable speaker is Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence and other guest speakers include LaToya Early (Vision Coach), Dr. Eddie M. Connor, Jr. (International Speaker), Carlotta Tutt Holloway (Events and Marketing Entrepreneur), and Alfred Hall, Jr. (Owner and CEO of EARS Financial Services). Our official DJ is DJBJ3525 of Hot 107.5.
Some topics of discussion include: Defining and Bringing Visions to Life, Steps and Benefits to Starting a Business, Branding and Marketing Strategies, Overcoming Obstacles, Fulfilling your Unique Purpose, Sacrificing to Accomplish your Goals, The Importance of Networking, Financing your Business, and Financial Planning for Personal Development. “Sometimes it’s not always about what you know, but who know. You can learn so much by just being open to connect and network with others.”
Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at EmpowermentDinner2015.eventbrite.com
Also feel free to follow Chatoya on IG @alacartegalore
I’ll be covering this event and i hope to see you guys there! I’m excited as i always am to network and meet new people.
Stay Ambitious! Stay Motivated!