If you want unique decor accents for your home, Reflektion Design offers just that. Founded by Anitra Terrell, the products and designs were initially inspired by a trip to Ghana, West Africa. She went to Ghana as a Fulbright Scholar studying marketing. When she returned, she turned her visual inspirations into a Los-Angeles-based brand. Reflektion Design sells pillows, curtains, and bedding made with globally sourced Ankara fabric (also known as African Dutch Wax fabric).
Anitra Terrell tells TNJ.com how she turned her idea into a business.
TNJ.com: When did you open your business?
Anitra Terrell: I started Reflektion Design in late 2013 after being laid off for the second time in a two-year time frame.
TNJ.com: What made you want to go into business for yourself?
Anitra Terrell: I’ve always dabbled in various forms of entrepreneurship since I was a teenager. My mother taught me how to sew and we would make pillows and sell them at school fairs, etc. In college, a friend and I founded URBAN S.A.F.A.R.I (Sound Adventures For All Righteous Individuals) a bi-weekly poetry and performance showcase. Meanwhile, I also pursued “more traditional” career paths so I was never fully in. Being laid off made me take inventory of my life and what I wanted it to look like which led me to entrepreneurship where it all began.
TNJ.com: Are you doing this full time, if not what else do you do?
Anitra Terrell: I run Reflektion Design 75 percent of the time. I also work part-time as a product manager for a textiles and interiors firm. It’s kind of the best of both worlds! But the goal is to eventually run my company full-time.
TNJ.com: What inspires your designs?
Anitra Terrell: African culture specifically, African fabrics in all their splendor and tradition! Mid-century modern patterns and colors also inspire my designs.
TNJ.com: What has been the major challenge of being an entrepreneur?
Anitra Terrell: One challenge of being an entrepreneur is balancing what needs to be done now and what can wait. In the beginning, I wanted to offer everything (bedding, lamp shades, draperies, pillows, wall art etc.) but quickly realized I’d burn myself out (and burn through a lot of money) if I didn’t pace myself, establish my brand first and connect with customers whose feedback would guide next steps. Pacing myself also helped me learn that I don’t have to make everything focus on the products that resonate with customers; I can also make products that make me happy.
TNJ.com: What has been the most important business lesson you have learned in the process?
Anitra Terrell: The grass is not always greener on the other side. Become great at what you do and what makes you special; don’t focus on what others are doing. The journey will be so much better if you do.