Balancing Art And Business As A Creative Entrepreneur

hadiya williams


Jun. 25 2020, Published 2:30 a.m. ET

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Being an entrepreneur is a difficult task on its own, so adding creativity to the mix makes things a bit more interesting. Recently, we had an opportunity to speak with Hadiya Williams, Founder of Black Pepper Paperie Co. about balancing the two.

As a designer & artist with over 15 years of experience in graphic design, Hadiya founded her business in 2017. She uses her background in design to create globally-inspired, one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces including wearable ceramic objects, home decor and accessories. The D.C. based artist has been featured on digital platforms and in print publications like OkayAfrica, The Cut, 93.9 WKYS, Decorating Dissidence, Washingtonian, AphroChic,Fast Company, Shoppe Black, Harper’s Bazaar, Dwell and Travel + Leisure.

Her work is amazing, and we wanted to chat about how she remains inspired; and how she makes it all come together as a business owner. In our conversation, we also touched on current events and the impact police brutality and systemic racism have had on the creative industry for Black creatives. 

Keep reading to check out a few excerpts from the conversation.

On where Hadiya  currently is in her entrepreneurial journey:

That is the ultimate question. I am still working that part out. I am definitely heavy on the creative side so the balance has been a challenge. I also still work as a freelance graphic designer so I am juggling two different creative spaces and trying to make sure that I keep up with the business side.

On how she currently manages her business:

At the moment, I rely on online platforms like Shopify, Square, Freshbooks, Paypal, etc. to keep my financial records but as you can see that already sounds like a lot to manage. My goal by the end of 2020 is to streamline the business side so I can focus on the creative work a bit more. I also plan to bring in someone to help manage the business side so that it is more sustainable. It has been a little over 2 years so I have learned what my strengths are and where I need to delegate. Feels likes it has been more like 10 years.

Hadiya on finding inspiration for her art:

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I live in D.C. so prior to COVID-19, I loved to visit my favorite Smithsonian museums. I live walking distance from the national Mall so I am fortunate to be able to do so. Pinterest is definitely a fun and accessible place to get inspired. Listen to music. I LOVE podcasts and have found myself listening to them a lot more these days. They can be inspiring. Especially creative and small-business podcasts. But they can also be daunting so I have to remind myself that I need music. It always helps.

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Hadiya on the impact of amplifying Black creatives’ voices during 2020:

It is one of the beautiful results. I have a friend who was living solely off of her

craft and has been having a rough time since the quarantine. She sold her

products at a weekly craft market and the market has been shut down like many

other similar retail spaces. Just by my sharing her work on IG she was able

come out of her deficit. I have no words. We do what we can.

To access the full chat, become a HER AGENDA INSIDER. You can find her business at or find her on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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