Apr 25, 2016

Kharismatic Karavan: How I Put My #KharismaInMotion

For the past year, I have been working toward the goal of opening a mobile boutique, and on Sunday, April 24th the Kharismatic Karavan launched at Over Accessorized, the biggest girls night out event in the DMV.

The Kharismatic Karavan is a labor of love and true test of faith.  When I first started looking at potential buses and vans, I remember my father saying to me, "I don't know where you're going to get all of this money?"  And my response was, "I don't know either."  But I didn't let the unknown stop me.  I had been thinking of opening a mobile boutique for at least two years and since I put it out in the atmosphere sometime in May 2015, I was not going to take it back.  I started a crowdfunding campaign and raised some funds from close family members, and I increased my exposure and efforts by participating in more vendor and community events - slowly putting a few dollars away here and there.  So when it was time to actually purchase the bus, I had a few dollars tucked away.

After seeing an ad on Craigslist, my parents and I went out to take a look at a bus in Severn, Maryland that used to be a mobile massage parlor.  The fact that the bus was already gutted and all of the seats were removed and there was flooring in place made the bus appealing.  And when the current owner brought the price down to just $1,500 I was sold.  On January 16, 2016 I took a leap of faith and purchased the bus that I would turn into the Kharismatic Karavan.  I called Katie Marie, owner of Over Accessorized a week later and asked if I could launch at her amazing event which was originally scheduled for April 30th.  I did not even consider the amount of work or time it would take to literally get #KharismaInMotion, but I knew from previous experience that this event would be a great launching pad.  Katie was more than willing to share her platform - just one of the many qualities I admire most about her.  Confirming with her also gave me a date to strive for, which was eventually moved up a week.  And then there was the blizzard that crippled the Baltimore metro area.  The city and production on the Kharismatic Karavan was at a stand still for at least two weeks and April seemed as if it was right around the corner.

The bus needed a lot of TLC, all mechanical stuff that was like a foreign language to me.  Spark plugs, carburetor, oil change, and some other things I can 't remember let alone spell.   I'm blessed with a loving and devoted father who knows a thing or two about cars.  He ordered parts and worked on the truck and contacted mechanics to outsource some of the things he couldn't find or handle.  He also laid down new flooring in the bus.  There were quite a few breakdowns and set backs in between purchasing the bus and launching.  My father would call me and say, "You need this..." and "It cost this..."  And I would just say, "Ok."  I was not going to back out.  God had brought me too far to walk away from it all and I was trusting Him while I worked my full time job and took on more shirt orders, putting my earnings toward the Karavan.  

A close friend of the family put me in contact with Brian, owner of Eclipse Tinting. Brian does auto, commercial, and residential tinting, as well as car graphics and decals.  I gave Brian a sketch of how I envisioned the Kharismatic Karavan and just two weeks before Over Accessorized, he was able to replicate my sketch.

Now with it's new look and new floors, the Kharismatic Karavan needed merchandise.  Kharismatic Kreations specializes in printed apparel so of course it would be featured in the Kharismatic Karavan.  Additionally, one of the goals of the Kharismatic Karavan is to use the gift of creativity to inspire and provide a platform for others - just as Katie provided a platform for me.  In addition to printed apparel from Kharismatic Kreations, the Kharismatic Karavan will feature the work of another small businesses, artist or crafter.  Bay's Buttons and Bows was featured for our launch event.  Keaira Cooke is the owner.  She creates cute button earrings, bow ties and head pieces.  She's also a blooming photographer.  We did a quick promo photoshoot in a parking lot just 24 hours before Over Accessorized.  We literally pulled everything together down to the wire!
Over Accessorized and the launch of the Kharismatic Karavan was a huge success.  So many lessons were learned during this faith walk.

  1. Loose control and trust God - I'm a bit of a control freak.  Oftentimes I have to remind myself that God is ultimately in control and not me.  There were so many moments where I didn't know the who, what, when, and how.  And every time I tried to figure it out myself it seemed to get worse.  But those moments when I let it go and left it up to God to work out, the pieces of the puzzle eventually were put into place.
  2. Patience - I had to work around the schedule of everyone who was on board and helping me.  I just knew I wanted something done and I wanted it done now!  But it doesn't work like that.  
  3. Faith over Fear - Fear is the enemy's greatest weapon.  It's a battle of the mind.  One of my fears is not being able to provide for my daughter.  That fear could have stopped me from investing money into the Kharismatic Karavan.  Every time my father would call to inform me that I had to purchase something else I had to battle the fear.  It all goes back to lesson #1:  God is in control.  

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