How financial coaching helped an artist keep her business

January 4th, 2021
Daune Smith, founder and owner of Visual Noise. (right) Daune (in front) and two others at the DIA modeling Daune’s designs in 2018. (Photos courtesy of Daune.)

Daune Smith is an artist of many and eclectic talents. She is also an entrepreneur. Her company is called Visual Noise. It offers unique fashion designs that Daune creates herself.

Front, side and back view of a dress made by Daune Smith. “Crochet is my Zen,” Daune said.

“I make clothing for people who don’t mind being different,” Daune said. “My goal is to help them define and embrace their own style.”

To help her get Visual Noise going, Daune had enrolled in the ProsperUS Detroit program, a small business training program especially for entrepreneurs of color. ProsperUS was part of Southwest Solutions until recently becoming its own nonprofit organization. Daune graduated from ProsperUS seven years ago. Through the program, she connected with additional support services that Southwest Solutions provides to help individuals become financially stable and successful.

Daune worked with our financial coaches Brooke Ratliff and Evan Roarty-Collins to work through recent financial challenges that threatened the viability of her business.

“Their counsel saved me,” Daune said. “I was in a harsh financial crunch because of some poor decision-making. Brooke and Evan gave me the tools and information to budget effectively, repair my credit, apply for student-loan forgiveness, and climb out of debt.”

Brooke also referred Daune to grant opportunities to help her grow Visual Noise and add equipment.

Masks designed and made by Daune Smith

When the Covid crisis hit, Daune quickly saw a business opportunity that could also help others dealing with the pandemic. She began to create and market custom-made masks that express a fashion statement. The masks have been selling very well, and Daune is exploring ideas about incorporating masks into articles of clothing.

Visual Noise is located in the Boston-Edison area, where Daune lives. She recently moved the business to a different venue in the same neighborhood. Daune shares showroom space with several African-American fashion artists who are also small business owners. The space is called Modiste and the entrepreneurs have formed an organization called the Detroit Textile Artist Collective (DTAC). DTAC has ambitious plans to design and manufacture apparel that expresses the vibe and vibrancy of the city and its residents.

To inquire about Visual Noise and its products, message Daune through the Visual Noise Facebook page.

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