Black Business Owner Breaking Barriers
by Jacobi White, Chemistry ‘21
I live in a divided world. But this is not the world you are thinking about. This world is not made up of ghettos, privileged suburbs, name-brands or generic-brands, but a world made up of personal conflicts. This world is my life and my experience as a Black business owner. I am the CEO and founder of an up and coming clothing brand called TrulyLmtless. I built this brand to empower individuals through our innovations in activewear for everyday lifestyles. I want them to understand and feel like royalty. Royalty has had a long generational status of wealth and power. Due to this, there is a need for change, and that is why I created my company.
TrulyLmtless was built to provide insight that royalty is not defined by race, gender, and social class, but, rather, is limitless and deserved by all — everyone deserves to feel like royalty. Growing up, there weren’t any well-known brands in my closet, such as Nike or Under Armour, but brands that higher classes considered knockoffs. These not only were affordable, but matched in quality. I live in a world where big activewear brands charge $70 for a pair of shorts, making them inaccessible to many. That is what fueled my vision: owning a brand that could match quality to affordability. With a world divided by racism, this is where my world of personal conflicts grew. I have built relationships with people of all colors, but with the world divided, that has made my company struggle.
Living in the small town of Crete, Nebraska, African Americans are the minority and there is no way around it. I believe in diversity and inclusion, but that strikes anger among not all, but some Black supporters. Recently, I joined a Black owned business group on social media that was created to give support to Black business owners. When I shared my company for support, I received hatred and racial slurs due to the fact that one of my models was a young Caucasian woman. I felt conflicted and confused to know that the same people who were attacking me, were the same ones that shared my skin color.
Martin Luther King, Jr once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” I have found challenge and controversy through this process. I have learned that life will not always come with positives. And as a Black business owner, I have learned success is not in who supports you, but who was influenced by you. I will continue to feel conflicted at times as my brand will always welcome all, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. A world that will one day understand my vision and why I must not engage nor accept the negativity that comes from historical arrogance. I write this to say that I, Jacobi White, the Founder of TrulyLmtless, will continue to break the barriers and provide a way for all to feel included and welcomed. I will create a new royalty.
The blog posts in Forward. Together. are intended to foster an inclusive community of empathy and curiosity at Doane University by providing a glimpse into various individual identities and worldviews. These are community members’ unique stories and should not be presumed to be the experience of all who share the same identity.