Samii Benson: Reaping What She Sews
Starting a business is not an easy feat, especially as a single mother in an unfamiliar city. In spite of the perceived obstacles, Samii Benson didn't let anything stop her from pursuing her childhood dreams of teaching and fashion design. In just a few short years after taking a leap of faith, Samii has received her Master’s degree, enrolled in a PhD program and launched her very own sewing studio, That’s Sew Samii. The studio is a hub for budding sewists, which offers classes, workshops, as well as sip and sews where experienced sewists can partake in wine and refreshments while they get their creative juices flowing. We recently had a chance to chat with Samii to follow her pattern of success, and find out how she balances everything on her plate.
What is the boldest thing you've ever done?
The boldest thing I've done was to leave Atlanta with my daughter and move to Charlotte, NC. It scared me to move with a baby, and I didn't know anyone here. A lot of people would let being a single mother stop them from doing what they want, but my daughter encourages me and inspires me to do different things. If it wasn't for her, I never would have gotten my Master’s degree, started on my PhD or had the balls to start my own business. Being a single mother and still making it work is pretty bold!
What inspired you to boldly move into your career?
It was something I've been thinking about for a long time, and it seemed like all the stars aligned. Something told me to go ahead and do it, and not to waste any more time. I figured that if I don’t do it now then I’m going to regret it later.
What was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome to make your bold career move?
I’m more of an introvert so putting myself out there and networking is really hard for me. But my motivation is that I’ll never have a business if I don’t do this. Sometimes you have to do things that are uncomfortable, but if you have an opportunity to do something then you should take it.
What motivates you?
My daughter is my motivation and the desire to be successful pushes me as well. I want my family to be proud of me, that’s a big thing for me. I have two younger cousins that look up to me, and I know that some of the things that they do is because of my influence. Since they saw me do it, they know that they can do it, too.
What’s your productivity secret?
Lately, I've been making to do lists. Every day in the morning I make a list of all things I need to do for my teaching job, graduate school and the sewing studio. Then I try to accomplish as much as I can on the list.
What is your power tip?
Don’t let anything stop you! Don’t let the fact that you’re a single mother stop you. Don’t let the fact that you don’t have any money stop you. Don’t let anyone telling you that you can’t do it stop you. If you have an idea then just go for it, make it work!
What constitutes success?
Success for me is when I’m completely happy or satisfied with the work that I’m doing.
What’s your favorite book or fashion publication?
Lucky Magazine, I have every single issue. In addition to the latest fashions, they feature business women in the fashion industry.
What song do you listen to when you need inspiration?
Mary J. Blige – Be Happy