Interview conducted by Koya Perez, and written by Blaise Dandridge
India Williams, better known as India Sage, is a senior Mass Communications major at Delaware State University, and is the CEO of India Sage The Brand. A business mogul on the rise, she is working towards becoming a dominant force within the fashion and media industry. India Sage’s personal life story of surviving being homeless, and at a point not having shoes of her own to walk in has motivated her to create this company in August 2016.
The Hornet had the opportunity to interview India Sage, and get a behind the scenes view of what her business is all about.
The Hornet: What exactly is India Sage The Brand?
India Sage The Brand: India Sage The Brand is a luxury brand that creates quality apparel that encourages the go-getter lifestyle of women between the ages of 25-40. The brand focuses on the experience for our consumers versus just the products, and attracts anyone who is ready to walk into their purpose and work towards success. Our focus is to create an environment or world that challenges you to step into success and drives you to figure out what is your purpose in your life. When you wear this brand, you become your own walking brand. You are a billboard presentation of greatness. You define what your brand is by identifying what your passion is. And even if you can’t figure out what your purpose is in life, India Sage The Brand encourages you to question that everyday.
TH: What is the purpose and overall goal of India Sage The Brand?
ISTB: The purpose of the brand on campus is to continue pushing students, faculty, and the world to continue to work towards their dreams no matter what it is. We are working to influence others to consistently put their best foot forward while stepping into success. Those that embody the brand are successful people that are consistently applying the steps to fulfill their dreams. The ultimate goal is to have India Sage The Brand become her own franchise and have other companies in different industries.
TH: Is India Sage The Brand a one-woman job? Or does it take multiple creative minds?
ISTB: Our India Sage The Brand, LLC team consists of three prominent branding managers: Lackeeria Lewis, ISTB Chief Operating Officer, Taniah English, ISTB PR/Brand Specialist, and Blaise Dandridge, the Administrative Assistant of ISTB who helps with the Administrative work and also the PR work behind the brand. These ladies all work diligently to create ideas and market the brand effectively through Instagram and in the press. We are still working to create more platforms for the marketing of the brand to make our efforts more effective in the world.
TH: What is the presence of India Sage The Brand on DSU’s campus?
ISTB: India Sage The Brand, LLC has gained recognition [on campus] but it is still growing. Most people recognize India Sage The Brand as only the individual. Now that we are expanding the vision, they [students] will be able to be apart of the brand and will recognize it as the growing franchise that it will become.
TH: What is the biggest challenge India Sage The Brand has faced so far in creating this brand?
ISTB: The biggest challenge faced was in the beginning; creating the brand. I had to decide whether to brand myself based off of my vision of what I wanted to represent and stand for. At the time, I did not have a team nor did I have a clear-cut vision of what I wanted brand to be. All I had was myself and my talents. Originally, India Sage The Brand was the representation of my work in the entertainment industry as an on-camera host, and I was more focused on my profession in the media industry. But, I wanted to create something more and began to think bigger and share ideas of turning ISTB into a franchise. Great people began to surround me and help me work towards identifying that goal and the overall mission, aesthetic and future of the brand. Another challenge I faced was having to teach myself business as a Mass Communications major. I had to learn how to write a business plan, conduct market research, understand the economy, trends, finance, and funding as an ongoing lesson. Sometimes I believe we think reaching out for help makes us weak, but a wise person asks for help. If you don’t know the answer to something, ask questions and that’s how you continue to grow and get better at your craft.
TH: Where do you see India Sage The Brand in the next 5 years?
ISTB: India Sage The Brand in the next 5 years will be an upcoming Fortune 500 company that specializes in the success of growth of individuals that are on the path to greatness. Everyone has to walk into their purpose. Our main product is apparel and shoes. We understand that everyone has to walk in their purpose with great foundation. What better way to do that other than wearing India Sage The Brand apparel and shoes. If you look good, you feel good, you do good. The only difference is with India Sage The Brand, you will do GREAT things!
TH: What advice can you give DSU students looking to start their own business, or pursue the same field you are pursuing?
ISTB: My advice to DSU students looking to start their own business, or even looking to pursue the industry of fashion (i.e. apparel, shoes , jewelry), is to write out your thoughts and visions so that they can materialize on paper. An idea is just an idea until you put it into action. Once you have put your ideas on paper, develop the skill-set to execute the steps to formulating it into a business then continue to do your research on your industry. Google how to write a business plan and just START! If you are like me and not privy to these fields or not sure where to start, reach out to people who already have a business doing what you want to do or something remotely close. Talk to them about how they got started and find out how they think you should go about your plan. Everyone’s road to success is different and for some people it may take 2 years to thrive while for other people it may take 10 years. You have to identify if you are willing to put in the time, patience, and sleepless nights. There is nothing glamorous or easy about running your own business. You have to be hungry and a savage. Never let anyone tell you an idea won’t work unless you have tried to succeed at it full throttle. Who knows, India Sage The Brand franchise has the potential to flop on its face but will that determine if I give up or not? I may try again 100 more times using new ideas. Don’t be afraid to innovate or step out of your comfort zone. It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur and even better time to be an authentic individual. Stay true to who you are, your dreams, your faith, and start working!” – India Sage
India also added that she appreciates her team for being a reflection of her work and helping her to reach the goal that she is striving for. “They [the ISTB team] really are the people who are bringing India Sage The Brand franchise to life. There is no way I could do this on my own.”