Friday, April 12, 2024

How Sophia Stallworth & Sharice Barnes Created An Indestructible Brand

The Mother of Necessity


Sophia Stallworth and Sharice Barnes were already successful. In the years since the two longtime friends graduated from the University of Florida, Sophia was a pharmacist and cheerleading coach while Sharice made her living in the insurance business. It wasn’t until a ski trip out west that the two chronic overpackers found the path for the next chapter in their lives in the same way numerous entrepreneurs and inventors have throughout history: necessity. On that trip, DELYX, LTD was born. “We wanted to solve the age-old problem of packing less yet not sacrificing great styling options,” the pair explains. “We’re pursuing our passion of creating premium products with versatile styling capability.” 


Getting Started


With the lightbulb glowing, the two professionals set out to build their brand properly, but found that pre-launch research was difficult given the nature of the product. Additionally, they faced a combination of traditional obstacles (finding a market, being discovered, manufacturing and partnerships) and unprecedented hurdles (COVID-19). Despite these uncertainties in forecasting, they persevered. “In the pursuit of your passion, there will be many obstacles and challenges, requiring focus and determination,” they explain. “Commit 110% of yourself and seek advice from mentors in areas of your deficiency.” 


Big Beginnings


Through hard work, a willingness to learn, and some impressive fashion instincts, DELYX found an immediate audience. Within the first year, the brand was featured at DC Swim Week and New York Fashion Week and advanced to the final round (out of more than 8,300 applicants) of the FedEx Small Business Grant contest. The buzz led to DELYX being featured in a variety of print publications and media channels across the country. Sharice and Sophia clearly weren’t the only overpackers in America. 


What’s Next


After a surging start amidst a global pandemic, the duo is eyeing a future in a world that returns to normalcy. “During the downtime of COVID, focus was placed on enhancing our business foundation, updating the website and social media presence, and seeking financial grants,” they recall. “As the business evolves, its needs and requirements change. Through personal education, determination, and a lot of trial and error, we continue to streamline and perfect the overall business.” The pair expects to grow DELYX into a lifestyle brand, providing versatile luxury travel items that free up the rest of a person’s luggage in the way they’ve already given you the freedom of self- expression.

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