Monday, December 22, 2008

"Cutting Corners, when you're sitting in a Circle"

It’s the end of the year, and I for one still don’t really know where I’m going. The economy is a mess, or so they say---for my little family its actually, same old, same old. Well two of my grown children have moved back home, one to make it easier to finish his last year of college, and the other to cut her living expenses after being downsized from her job. It’s not really to bad, our home is large, and everyone just reclaimed their old space. Our eldest is struggling month to keep the home she purchased just three years ago. I get the impression that people are just living from crisis to crisis---which only adds to the stress level of the nation’s people. The Christmas season can escalate these “feelings” of hopelessness, but it really doesn’t have to be so. A depression, whether it’s a nation or its personal, is the outward expression of an inner situation that needs some serious adjustment/attention. We as a people’s collectively and singularly must see the need for change, real hard true change. Values and opinions must change, need’s in relation to wants must change, fantasy must once again become ephemeral reality, and not the foundation for living. Dreams that grow a stable and strong society need to be based on true needs, not manufactured ideas of beauty, perceived wealth, or mock status symbols. Now this is radical thinking, American people being “content” and growing a society on such a premise---sounds a little “utopian”. Well I know that human beings in general are not perfect, I also know that there is nowhere else to go, and its time to see the light of reality.

“But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works. “
Psalm 73:28

Denise Reed of “CASEY”…the Original Loc/Braid Hair Snood and “TOPAZ” a new style shower cap, check out the site at
And now there are prints, check out the site at:
“CASEY Prints:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Losing It and Finding It Again"

It’s being voiced around that times are getting harder. For my family it’s always been pretty tight. My husband and I have just never been great wage earners, we are for the most part moderate spenders, so everything has always balanced out. We made do. Twenty-seven years later we’re empty nester’s with the feeling of what do we do now? I’m working an e-commerce business, but sales are slow, and my husband does odd handyman jobs now and then. I believe we are part of the great support system of our society, we save and spend our money. The difference in our spending habits is what sets us apart from the fictitious American consumer the media has created. We actually buy things we need, based on our idea of need, not created needs that ad campaigns come up with. Now what if we went back to a society that consumed resources on the basis of realistic need, and not imaginary fulfillment. I’ve been thinking about this concept and really would like to know what others think.

Rub-a-dub three men in a tub, a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker…
-Mother Goose-

Denise Reed of “CASEY”…the Original Loc/Braid Hair Snood and “TOPAZ” a new style shower cap, check out the site at
And now there are prints, check out the site at:
“CASEY Prints:

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Cyber Birth


I’ve made some new friends, well what I’m saying is, I joined a couple of online social communities, one for women in business and another for home-based business owners.  I took my time in choosing which groups to join, because I see this social move online as a big step forward in socialization as being outside of my comfort zone. Being sociable has never been one of my good points, since I was always the last one picked for anything. Girls considered me dull, and boys just never saw me, yes, and I never got asked to the prom either. Now this is not to say I’ve never had any friends, it’s to say they were limited. How does one get friends, but by personal social interaction, (this discounts Pen Pals---am I dating myself?) you meet people in the neighborhood---friend; you meet people at school---friend; you meet people at church, work, you get the picture.


Well this is how my acquaintance with friendships has gone---neighborhood, school, church, work, college, marriage, and empty-nest time.  I’ve had friendships with the parents of my children’s friends, and then as they grew (my children), friendships were garnered from people met at parent groups, LSO, PTA, and community service organizations. Anywhere I was needed in my children’s lives or at church, for these were my social outlet places I made or tried to make friends. The children grew up and as they left home, it seems my various friendships went with them.


So I started a business, my new child, and now I have new friends. There is the UPS man, the postal person, the office supply salesperson and of course my vendors. Believe me I know how many children my UPS delivery person has, which child rules the house and their names. But there is still something lacking---so I’ve signed up for online friends. Now it seems with each new day I get invites to be someone’s friend---I don’t know how this is going to pan out. I’ve only accepted a few invites because I don’t want to spread myself to thin; I only want a few friends.  If we really think about it, that’s all one can honestly handle.


Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Ecc. 9:10


Denise Reed of  “CASEY”…the Original Loc/Braid Hair Snood and “TOPAZ” a new style shower cap, check out the site at

And now there are prints, check out the site at:

“CASEY Prints:


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Keeping it Simple and Real, for Real

Simplify, it’s not easy to do.

How many journals can a person have? How many ways do we need today to express our most inner thoughts, the desires of our heart, communicate to the world and our inner self what we want to say. Of course I am speaking of myself---I love to write, to feel the flow of movement and impression as any sort of writing utensil meets imprinting surfaces. When I was younger, my favorite recording surface was “the brown paper bag”, its sublime texture would resonate in gentle scratching rhythms as my pencil moved across the surface. In those days numerous brown bags became scrolls of childhood dreams and created adventures. I documented my Michelangelo styled inventions and designs, in permanence of lead on paper, some neatly chronicled, other’s as random and impromptu doodles. Boy was that ever fun!  But things get lost, and one was my need to record, to document my creativity on paper, it was replaced with “to do” list and notes of urgency for children’s doctor visits, grocery list and dinner menus. It got replaced with being married, becoming a mother, a student, and just trying to make ends meet. Well the children are grown, the husband is older, and I also, and now I blog.


I will be honest; this is my second blog---lost the first one because I didn’t blog frequently enough. Over the years I’ve learned to mentally write, no paper used, no resources wasted. I design in my head, whole wardrobes, dolls, and holiday decorations from start to finish, every minute detail. Simple, or so I thought it was, until I’ve noticed of late that I have a hard time being creative “au natural”. Everything’s in my head, where is the joy of sharing and/or reworking an idea---I seem to go from incubation to full birth. Because all the ideas sit in my mind, there is no bragging, or brainstorming with others---it’s like creating in a vacuum, and that’s no fun. So each day I’ve been trying to scribble again on PAPER, and believe me its just random drawing, (Matisse’ started his collages in this manner, when he was sick---just random cut-up bits of colored paper, and we know where that lead too). Slow and easy wins the race they say, and I just want to reconnect with my primitive creative side once again. When did being simple become so complicated?


But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.  

1 Peter 5:10 KJV


Denise Reed of  “CASEY”…the Original Loc/Braid Hair Snood and “TOPAZ” a new style shower cap, check out the site at

And now there are prints, check out the site at:

“CASEY Prints:



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"What was at the Market!"

Well I got a response from my blog on “This Little Piggy Went to Market”. Thank you Lynn of, for your comments, and point of view on my opinion on the name “loc soc” becoming a generic term for products in the globally emerging ethnic beauty hair care industry of products by solely owned minority companies. As stated in this blog, a number of companies were highlighted and given proper respect to the products they have designed and marketed, including product name and web address.  Your last statement lets me know you have done and are doing what needs to be done by those of us who have actually pinpointed the needs of our market; you are BRANDING your product name for distinction. That is what I was blogging about, the need to retain our predominance and exclusivity over the marketing of a group of products that “we” (speaking generally about Black hair product designer/manufacturers/marketers) are filling the consumers need for. I think it is a noble task that we as an ethnic group of businessperson have placed in the marketplace a new product identity, a term that is an umbrella for numerous new products and companies. The mannerism of business marketing and consumer habits cause this situation to be, that for consumer’s to identify a product it must and needs a market category. For your products, Deon’s products, my products, Ray’s products, Ms. Adkins’ products it will be “loc soc”. This is not a bad thing, its like any consumer commodity, now that our customers know where to look for us, its up to each one to move forward and show our uniqueness. What I would hate to see happen is we let the market pass from our hand’s to any manufacturer/marketer that would cheapen the product, mass-produce us out of the market and saturate the market, thereby wiping out any realistic price base we have created.


Just think, a dress is a dress, the distinction is, is it a designer original or a ready-to-wear copy, but the classification remains dress. Tires are tires, its up to Goodyear, Firestone, Michelin and other tire producers to present and market their distinctions. Now is the time to continue doing what you and I and others who make the multi-cultural distinctive hair care and hair accessory products, build notable brand identity and leave a business heritage to our heirs.


Denise Reed of  “CASEY”…the Original Loc/Braid Hair Snood and “TOPAZ” a new style shower cap, check out the site at





Monday, August 25, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear

StartUpNation is having a small business competition 100---last year I came in 9th place for the "wackiest" business. This year I shooting for 1st place most "innovative" or "Boomer Back in Business". Yes I am over 50 and loving the world of business. Voting for me can make it happen.
Thanks in advance for those of you who read this and act.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Holes in my Fence"

Boy, its been a crazy week---I always think that way when its time to comment on the business practices I’ve encountered all week long. “Holes in my fence” speaks volumes to the many obstacles that today’s micropreneur comes up against. Back in my college day’s I read an article in Entrepreneur magazine on alternative businessperson’s who manage and create business with the mindset that they will always run the business, the business will never run them. Today while web surfing I found a commentary on MSN Money dealing with the same viewpoint, but updated. This article spoke of the new and frugal millionaires or YAWNS---meaning, young and wealthy but normal. This online article written by Erin Burt for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, enumerated the various ways in which this group of modern millionaires don’t allow their wealth to rule them. There is Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest people in the world and he lives in the same home he purchased 50 years ago.


 So what does this have to do with the “holes in my fence”, a great deal, because new business owners can get weighted down doing fence repair work.  A fence can symbolize the boundary of what a business owner is naturally good at, such as designing products, or selling, or just working within his belief system, stuff like that. Holes are the things we forget to delegate, or to ask for help with, and end up spending a great deal of time trying to “fix”, trying to live up to someone else’s idea of success, which means you get into situations that leave the truly important undone. This makes the image of being in business pretty dismal; the business begins to run the owner, instead of him/her managing the business.  So it’s the same old song and dance, of going overboard until you are floundering, because you have lost your perspective. Whether you are a micropreneur, a YAWN, or going for corporate gold---if you don’t start early with achieving what you specifically want, according to your own set of standards, you will spend a great deal of time “fixing holes”.


Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldeth go.

                                                                        Isaiah 48:17




Sunday, August 10, 2008

"This Little Piggy Went to Market"

I am an avid crafter--my hands are seldom idle, I knit while waiting on the bus. Working a project, seeing something emerge from the bits and pieces of found items is like drinking a Red Bull energy drink, it gives me wings--so to speak. Now managing with intent is my renewed focus in growing the Denise Reed Product Design  empire. Who would have thought it, that five years ago a simple, yet totally useful idea, mainly a” loc’s soc” (defined as: a tubular shaped piece of fabric, that is usually worn over locs, braided hairstyles, Sisterlocks® to protect or maintain the integrity of the hairstyle while sleeping, working in dusty or unsafe environment,ect.) which was created out of my own need to cover my locs at night, all while enjoying a comfortable night’ rest. One thing leads to another and I’m on the web marketing this sweet little necessity of life. Following strict business principles, the clones have arrived---since 2003 the need for a “loc soc” as these beauty essentials are now known as has grown to the emergence of a, site---EEK!!!! There of course are those of us who take great pride in our workmanship, and price our products accordingly.  Ray Smith of Shades of Color (, whom I met at the Locks Conference in Philadelphia, has a wonderful line of  “locs soc’s”, using great fabrics and brilliant color selection. Totally awesome and professional in his product presentation, Ray is doing his part to elevate the image of ethnic product designers/manufacturers. Now there is also Jennipher Adkins, who has been around since 1991, designing and manufacturing head garments and nightwear. I've personally seen her products in local stores, and I love the look of the website ( So what I'm seeing is an emerging market to an old need, ethnic hair maintenance---and a lot of people filling the bill.  There Strickland Products (Hair Bonnet), Deon Leftenant of Locksdown (  all producing-loc soc's-. Deon is even working at getting his product to the NFL---imagine what doors that will open for designer/manufacturers of ethnic hair care products. Looking at the variety of producers for the same type of products makes me think of APPLE(R), PC, DELL(r) and other computer companies---they all have a place in the market. There is nothing new under the sun---except the Olympic opening ceremony, a totally awesome and completely innovative presentation, no one is going to top it.

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun. 
 Ecclesiastes 1:9

Sunday, August 3, 2008

It's Not Over, Until I Say It's Over

 Well it always easy to say that life has been moving at the speed of light when there are great gaps in between blog posting. For me, life has been moving at hyper speed---during the month of May, I received news of the final decision on my trademark application for "L.B. Soc"...for locs, braids & more. Since January of 2005, I have been trying to show that my product name in no way made the purchaser of my "hair snood" for the wearer's of locs, braids and more, think they were buying a product endorsed/sold at/associated with, or in any way affiliated with LANE BRYANT stores. Of course in the end LANE BRYANT won. I had to decide early on just how much money I would put into this fight. So I kept my debate to three official briefs, which I researched and wrote myself. Somewhere in the archives of trademark cases is the judgement with my name on it and a fairly expensive bill paid to LANE BRYANT lawyers that prepared and presented over 8 reams of paper evidence to fight a person they never met, over a product name that they would never have dreamed of creating themselves. Well as my daughter put it "Get over it Mom and move on."

So now I'm trying various new names--but mainly my name---I'm shooting for the title/image of the Martha Stewart of hair care needs, to be known as Denise Reed. Watch out I'm back and fully focused. I've just finished reading Mommy Millionaire, by fellow Michigander, Kim Lavine of Grand Haven. The book is truly full of inspiration and meaningful advice for today's new entrepreneur. Reading Ms. Lavine's story/bootstrap business textbook was an eye-opener and an affirmation that success is available to those who look and work toward it. The insight on developing a good firm handshake has served me well many times over of late. To relate an immediate incident where the handshake insight came into play, was at the recent Wayne State University, School of Business Alumni Association Golf Outing held on July 28, at the prestigious Detroit Golf Club. I've just stepped down as the WSU SBA AA board secretary and golf event gave opportunity to "hob knob" with the best of Michigan's corporate players in manufacturing, finance, services, and the auto industry (LEAR Corporation was our title sponsor), as they came together to assist in funding scholarships for Detroit area young people.  I extended my hand with confidence---Its true "Knowledge is power", and wisdom is how you use it. SIDEBAR: The Golf Outing was a great success, and I enjoyed the entire day, knowing that the proceeds of the event will aid "Emerging Leaders of Tomorrow" (scholarship title).

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth liberally to all men, and upbrideth not, and it shall be given him.   James 1:5