Award-winning entrepreneur and TheBlackShoppingNetworks.com founder, radio host, journalist, and author, Janice McLean DeLoatch, recalls how a hole in her Nylon stockings led to one of her first companies, Pantyhose Vending Machines. DeLoatch, who had a full-time job in addition to her fashion shows and event-planning businesses, was on her way to a job interview when the material of her pantyhose deteriorated. At that point, she had to decide if she wanted to be punctual with the “huge” hole that one “could see from Seattle” or replace the pantyhose and risk tardiness.
“I’m pretty professional,” the serial entrepreneur tells So Booking Cool. “My parents were always pretty good about making sure we went out the house looking decent, so I knew I just couldn’t go out the house any kind of way.” She ended up purchasing a new pair of pantyhose. However, because she says she was unfamiliar with her surroundings and didn’t have time to figure out where she could change, she went to the interview, half-holey wardrobe and all.
Her interviewer was a man who didn’t seem to care about her dread. “I think he gave me the job because he felt ‘if she came looking like this, she probably really needs the money,’” DeLoatch says laughingly. “So I ended up getting the job, but I remember just constantly thinking ‘man, if I had somewhere where I could have gone to the bathroom and put those pantyhose on, went to my interview, I would have felt more prepared.”
Pantyhose Vending Machines was met with great success. DeLoatch had two office buildings and a lucrative partnership with the NFL Baltimore Ravens. Churches were also her clientele. Naturally, she wanted to have more machines and expand into airports and train stations. Having self-funded her business, she knew she needed additional funding to further support her ambitions.
“I went to Score and the SBA (Small Business Administration) and tried to get money,” she shares. “I couldn’t. Everywhere I went, they wouldn’t give me any money. I ‘didn’t have good credit’; I ‘didn’t have enough credit’; I ‘didn’t have any assets’; I ‘didn’t have a husband.’ I said ‘what?!’”
Watch Part 1 of our conversation with DeLoatch to learn more about her foray into entrepreneurship; her nostalgia of the days when neighbors were neighborly and communities were more supportive; how being kindhearted and supportive have been imperative along her professional journey, though some people can misconstrue the former; the time her business identity was stolen for her original series, Entrepreneur’s Edge TV; her book, Autobiography of an Entrepreneur, and more! For more information, visit DeLoatch’s official website and Black Shopping Networks.