Monday, July 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 1:41 PM
Brian Lipstein, founder and CEO of Henry A. Davidsen Master Tailors and Image Consultants, is well aware of the power of image and style.

Our society is bombarded with so much noise from social networking, marketers and the day-to-day grind, that sometimes the best way to be heard is to let your image speak for you. 

Brian Lipstein, founder and CEO of Henry A. Davidsen Master Tailors and Image Consultants, is well aware of the power of image and style.  He launched his company in 2006 and grew it from $46,000 in revenue to over $500K in revenue last year. He has perfected his craft along the way to become the only AICI-certified consultants in Pennsylvania.

In the interview below, Brian talks about how he grew Henry A. Davidsen through the recession and how you can create a brand image that speaks loud and clear.

POSTED: Monday, April 28, 2014, 11:22 AM
The people who achieve the status of greatness are able to reach the top and get comfortable for a while. Ironically, the reason for this is because they never get comfortable. Boxing and cultural icon, Muhammad Ali, fits this category quite nicely and artist Ivben Taqiy is following suit.

We all define greatness in many different ways.  However, two of the most recurring attributes involve, overcoming adversity and consistency. The more important of these two qualities would have to be consistency.  Despite providing us with one of the greatest upsets in sports history against then champion, Mike Tyson, Buster Douglas will not go down as one of the all time greats.

The people who achieve the status of greatness are able to reach the top and get comfortable for a while.  Ironically, the reason for this is because they never get comfortable.  Boxing and cultural icon, Muhammad Ali, fits this category quite nicely and artist Ivben Taqiy is following suit.

On April 26th the artist looks to follow up his previous great acts with a new show dedicated to honoring the greatness of Muhammad Ali.  But the task won’t be easy.  Taqiy’s previous shows have all been amazing displays of art, music, and culture, treating each guest to a unique and memorable experience.  The stakes are high yet Taqiy is a student of history and understands that his legacy is on the line with each show.  He’s not motivated by the money or the fame.  He’s motivated by the opportunity to be great. 

POSTED: Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 4:30 PM
(Left to right) Volunteers Sharmain Matlock-Turner, Pres of Urban Affairs Coalition, Senator Harris Wofford and Phila. Councilman at Large David Oh fill bags with school supplies in fast assembly line fashion during the Martin Luther King Day event and celebration at Girard College in Philadelphia on January 20, 2014. ( ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer )

There’s absolutely NO difference between running a for-profit business and a nonprofit business.  None.  The only actual difference is that a nonprofit organization must show a zero-balance sheet by circulating funds back through services.  However, the actual management requirements mirror that of a successful for-profit company.  Unfortunately, there are several nonprofits that fall short on the business end because they are primarily focused on service, similar to the way an artist is primarily focused on art.  And that’s how it should be, which is why the Urban Affairs Coalition exists. 

The Philadelphia based organization, run by Sharmain Matlock-Turner and its board of advisors, has become the nonprofit that serves other nonprofits by providing back-end business support.  By doing so, nonprofits can focus on their “craft” and realize the organization’s mission. 

This year Sharmain is celebrating her 15th anniversary with the UAC and through her leadership, the organization has been able to effectively coordinate the efforts of nonprofits, government and corporate sponsors for the good of the community.  In the interview below, we discuss how she got involved with the UAC, how she’s able to lead effectively and her proudest moments with the UAC.  Enjoy.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 2:47 PM
Seun Olubodun, founder of Philadelphia clothing line Duke and Winston.

The fashion retail industry is crowded, and rightfully so.  If you look at Michael Porter’s economic framework, “The Five Forces That Shape Industry Competition” you’ll see exactly why.  For street wear specifically, it costs very little money to start up, which leads to a high number of competitors. To boot, customers have too many clothing options, which leads to low competitive advantage.  In this type of industry, it’s very hard to make a lot of money, let alone dominate the industry.

But somebody’s doing it.

For every twenty or so independent clothing brands, there’s one or two that create a sustainable operation.  Who are these brands that are beating the odds?  And more importantly, how are they beating the odds?

POSTED: Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 5:18 PM
Artwork by Chuck Styles. Previously on display at The Urban Art Gallery.

Millions of inner-city kids go to sleep at night and dream about “making it big” and giving back to the community that raised them.  Ironically that same community is responsible for swallowing up so many of those kids’ friends and relatives.  However, there’s still a level of pride that comes from making it through adversity and giving those coming up after you a better chance of doing the same. 

Regardless of which professional path you choose, there’s enough need in these communities to give everyone who “makes it” something to do.  This is especially true along 52nd street in West Philadelphia, where the ugly seems to outweigh the beautiful on every corner.  Fortunately, this scene hasn’t gone unnoticed by Kalphonse Morris, owner of the Urban Art Gallery at the corner of 52nd and Irving Street. 

Kalphonse, affectionately known as Karl, has turned his love for art and real estate into a beautiful refuge for Philadelphia’s creatives.  Since it’s opening in the fall of 2013, the Urban Art Gallery has quickly grown into a highly sought-after venue while continuing to grow its influence in the Philadelphia art community.  One important thing to note is that Karl is not that different from the average man in West Philadelphia.  He simply made the best out of a few opportunities and made a series of good choices that put him in the position to own an art gallery (along with several other residential properties).

POSTED: Monday, January 6, 2014, 4:36 PM
Elizabeth Convery is the young entrepreneur responsible for VERY Real Estate, a boutique brokerage firm based in Center City Philadelphia.

In business, the phrase, “the bigger, the better” doesn’t always apply. Sometimes a company’s competitive advantage lies in its ability to be small so it can be big to its customers. Being small usually means the owner of the company is close to the customers, so there will naturally be a higher propensity for great customer service. And great customer service leads to a VERY high success rate in business.

Elizabeth Convery is the young entrepreneur responsible for VERY Real Estate, a boutique brokerage firm based in Center City Philadelphia. Ms. Convery has taken full advantage of her education and “big” corporate experience in positioning her new company to be an alternative to big company coldness. In the article below, Elizabeth Convery talks about her background and how she’s created a very “small” yet very disruptive business with VERY Real Estate.

CC: Can you please introduce yourself for those who don’t know?

POSTED: Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 11:07 AM
Keith Leaphart is the owner of Replica Creative, a design and print firm based in Philadelphia. Photo by Garron Gibbs/Concrete Cakes.

Keith Leaphart is the owner of Replica Creative, a design and print firm based in Philadelphia.  As simple as that statement was, the story behind the company and its owner is far from simple.  First, Keith Leaphart is a practicing physician at Bryn Mawr Hospital.  Secondly, the business is growing in a society that seems to use paper a lot less than it used to.  Third, Keith Leaphart is a doctor and a business owner who also happens to be a husband and father.  It’s difficult enough running a successful business without other “distractions” and industry hindrances, so one can assume that it takes a special kind of person to do what Keith is doing.

In the interview below, Dr. Leaphart discusses how he began with Replica Creative, his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and what he’s doing now that’s never been done before.  Enjoy.

CC: Can you please introduce yourself for those who don’t know?

POSTED: Monday, November 18, 2013, 11:16 AM
Lenny Bazemore is just as much an artist as he is a businessman.

Lenny Bazemore is just as much an artist as he is a businessman. Lenny has an immense knowledge of fine art, spatial aesthetics and the Chinese art of Qi [pronounced ‘chee’].  That same level of dedication to the arts has been duplicated in business as the owner of the Bazemore Gallery in Manayunk.  In the interview below, Lenny discusses how his career in art began and how he came to own his own gallery.  Read closely as there are many valuable points throughout the article. Enjoy.

CC: Can you please introduce yourself for those who don’t know?

LB: My name is Leonard Bazemore—everyone calls me Lenny.  I’m the gallery director and designer here at the Bazemore Gallery.

About this blog
Garron Gibbs is the owner and editor of ConcreteCakes.com, a publication that promotes entrepreneurship and professional artistry among urban youth. Reach Garron at ConcreteCakes@gmail.com.

Garron Gibbs for Philly.com
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