Don’t put off on others what you can do yourself.
During her divorce, Vick Breedy decided to take all of the emotions that she was feeling to pen and paper. She was a new mom dealing with the challenges that a failed marriage brings. Writing became therapeutic. Breedy created characters out of the strongest emotions she felt during this difficult period of her life. It was at this time that she self-published her first novel “Bitter”.
Breedy understands that often times we have to be our strongest, when we feel our weakest. While dealing with divorce and becoming a single parent, Breedy worked seven days a week for five years straight to survive financially. She is no stranger to adversity.
Vick Breedy grew up in Massachusetts. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Massachusetts and her Master’s Degree from Anna Maria College. She also holds her LSWA. Helping others during their most vulnerable and challenging times sums up Breedy’s entire work history.
Breedy created the “Bitter Movement” as a means to get the word out about her books. She established a group of supporters that she refers to as “Team Bitter” to help create awareness and develop a marketing strategy. The word “Bitter” has a negative connotation. The “Bitter Movement” isn’t about being bitter. It is about creating something positive from something negative. Breedy’s books are a positive response to a negative situation. They have been described as relatable, unpredictable, juicy and page-turners. In 2016, she self-published “Still Bitter”, the sequel to Bitter.
Vick Breedy completed the final book of the Bitter Series, “Bitter Family Secrets” in February 2017. She also launched Genetically Resilient apparel. GR apparel honors those that have gone through adversity and bounced back from it. According to Breedy, “Genetically Resilient” means that you have #BounceBackMagic. Her apparel is an affirmation that you can proudly wear. She believes that resilience is in your genes. You just have to tap into it. Find GR apparel on www.geneticallyresilient.com.
Breedy knows the importance of self-care and how easy it is to lose sight of it. She created Selfish Women’s Group to provide a space for women to address the issues that threaten their ability to practice self-care. This women’s group meets quarterly for group sessions. Groups are led by SWG facilitators that help women understand the importance of self care, explore ways to practice it and identify behaviors that make it difficult for women to lighten the load they carry. Breedy believes that we all have #BounceBackMagic! If we don’t take care of ourselves (self-care), we can’t tap into it. We can’t heal. We can’t recover. We can’t be RESILIENT.
Vick Breedy completed her fourth novel Stereotyped – a story about Black men and the challenges they face as a grossly stereotyped group. This is Breedy’s first novel with all male characters written in first person narrative. Stereotyped was released in July 2018. You can find information on all of Vick Breedy’s books, groups and apparel on www.vickbreedy.com.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
On March 27th 2017 I found my seventy-eight year old maternal grandmother in her apartment on the floor and unconscious. I called 911. The ambulance arrived and rushed her to Massachusetts General Hospital. When I arrived at the hospital, I was told that there had been brain involvement. Her brain shifted to the other side, there was swelling and brain bleeding. I was told that she would need brain surgery. It was on that day that I learned that I was her heath care proxy.
My Nana Frances was not expected to survive or recover due to her age and the severity of her brain injury. After the first surgery, she got a little better and then she declined. This happened five times After each decline, I made the decision to open her back up and have additional brain surgeries. After the fifth surgery, my mom, Nana Frances’ daughter said “I don’t know if I’m going to allow you to put my mother through this anymore.” It was at that moment that I realized why my nana made me her health care proxy. She knew that I wouldn’t be bullied, she knew that I’d make rational decisions and that I’d do everything in my power to improve her quality of life.
Frances Vick lived independently in elderly housing. She still drove, did her own grocery shopping, cooked her own meals and played the lottery religiously. Today she is wheelchair bound and totally dependent on the care of the nurses within the nursing home she now resides at. Frances is also developing symptoms of dementia. Despite the loss of her independence, Frances’ recovery is remarkable. The odds were against her, but she bounced back from this traumatic event. Frances is now eighty years old. Her hair has grown back after having to have it shaved off with each surgery. On a good day, her memory is sharp and conversations with Frances are light hearted and comical. On a bad day, her long-term memory is sharp; and she’ll cuss you out for something that happened in the past. I consider all days, good days, because she’s still here. She’s the most resilient woman I know.
I was inspired by my Nana Frances to create Genetically Resilient apparel to honor those that have gone through adversity and bounced back from it. It also serves as encouragement for those going through something. It’s an affirmation that you can say and wear. Resilience is in our genes. You just have to tap into it. Nana Frances wears Genetically Resilient apparel at the nursing home to flaunt her #bouncebackmagic!
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My days tend to be busy. I’m a single, divorced mom that still holds a full time job working with patients that have rare diseases. I use social media to build my brand and expand my audience. Therefore, that requires me to take lots of pictures of people in my apparel and post it to my social media pages and my website. I’m always searching for new opportunities to promote my brand. That’s a typical day for me. If I find new leads, sell some apparel or conquer my introverted disability and attempt to network, while maintaining my home and work life, that makes it a productive day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life by doing it myself. I don’t wait on anyone to do things for me. If I don’t know how to do something, I find someone that does and pay for them to do it for me. I never say that I can’t do something. I am also never afraid to put something out there that I believe in. If you wait on others your ideas will be just that…ideas. They won’t ever come to life until you put in the work and take the steps to birth it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
A trend that excites me is that you no longer have to have a brick and mortar address to be an entrepreneur. You can create things online and be just as successful, if not more! Your reach is limitless online.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit that makes me more productive as an entrepreneur is I am uncomfortable with not completing a task, assignment or goal. I will work until I am done despite how I feel. I push myself past my comfort zone in order to succeed.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I’d tell my younger self to save your money. You need money in order to bring your ideas to life and to live a comfortable life. Not having enough money makes you vulnerable to not having access to the things that will make your life comfortable.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Paper is king! Paperback books are better than e-books. Hand written letters are better than texts and emails. A card made out of paper is better than an e-card or an e-invite.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As an entrepreneur I get contact information from those that are interested in my brand. There’s nothing like having a direct link to those that you already know are interested in your brand.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Vending at pop up shops has helped me grow my business. Being able to sell things hand to hand amongst other vendors as brought exposure to my brand. A customer may come in to a pop-up shop specifically for another vendors product, but by you being in the same space, that customer now becomes aware of your products.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure I had as an entrepreneur is not doing the math. At some point as an entrepreneur you want to make money. I took an opportunity at an out of state event thinking that it would be good for my brand. The amount of money it takes to do that has you in the red before you even get out there. I now do the math before I vend anywhere that I can’t drive to and come back home the same day.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A great business idea that I have for readers is to open a resource center for those starting over in their careers, changing their careers or needing a side hustle. There are so many people that want to start a business but don’t know where to start and don’t know what it takes to start. Your business could be their first point of contact.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I ever spent in my personal life was sending it to a friend for her birthday and telling her to use it for self-care. It made me feel good that I was able to give her something that she probably would not have done for herself because she couldn’t rationalize putting her money towards the things she wants versus the things she needs. I was able to give her a “want” on her birthday.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I don’t use any fancy software or web service. I do use apps like Paypal, Venmo, Cash App and Square. Most people don’t pay with cash anymore. When I vend the only way to secure a sale is to be able to take the form of payment that they have. Most of the time I can get away with just connecting the Square device to my phone via Bluetooth and ring up sales just like you would if you were shopping at a store
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend that you read Stereotyped by me, Vick Breedy. It is a book that challenges you to look at people differently. People are feared because they are stereotyped. This book shows you that it is dangerous to stereotype. As an entrepreneur, you need to know how to deal with all types of people. You limit yourself and your customer base when you stereotype.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is from my dad. “No money No Honey! -Roger Pitcher
• Do the math- make sure that your spending your money in the right places.
• Don’t wait-don’t put off on others what you can do yourself
• Don’t stereotype Read Stereotyped- you have to know how to work with all types of people in order to have a successful business
• No money No Honey-not having enough money can make life uncomfortable. Save! Save! Save!
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.