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HB recently had the opportunity to sit down with JONES magazine editor-in-chief and founder, Tracey Ferguson. The quarterly publication serves as an authority on the very best in fashion, beauty, hair, parties and travel. Ferguson is also the star of reality show ‘Keeping Up With the Joneses,’ on Centric, BET’s newest network.

1) What are some challenges that come with starting your own business?

Like most small businesses, funding was a monstrous headache. I was on my own there, at first.

No one believes anything until they can see, touch and feel it and its’ impact; So my thought was to direct efforts toward building the brand’s sleek and fresh-feeling look, so that advertisers would see Jones as an admirable home for their brands and eventually pay to be before this audience.

2) How does JONES magazine set itself apart from the other magazines on the racks?

Since 2005, JONES magazine has served as the premier luxury shopping and lifestyle resource for African-American and multicultural women. What distinguishes JONES from other glossies is that we have successfully honed in on the lifestyle and shopping needs of today’s contemporary women of color. This group of womenshares a penchant for what’s new, now and next. When they pick up JONES they see women who look like them living a similar fashion-forward lifestyle. JONES is much more than a magazine; it’s an experience that bonds a very diverse group of women together.

3) As a single mom trying to raise two teenage children, how do you balance work and family?

Truthfully, it isn’t always so balanced. I do my best to give both of my teenagers quality time, but the 3 of us have equally hectic schedules, so I mandate Sundays for church and family only, vacations away  and snatch time doing basic things like movies, and their activities in music and theatre. I also rope the kids into my work by giving them things to research online, personal assistant responsibilities and taking them along with me to work functions when I can. It’s important to me that they understand my hard work so they value the effort rather than resent it.  I freely admit, though, it is NOT easy. We have a No Blackberry zone at the kitchen table. It helps.

4) What advice can you offer someone who is interested in looking to become an entrepreneur?

Sooo many things: I would take some time (maybe a year)  to really study your business area interest and ask yourself how what you want to execute is relevant today or 10 years from now. What is the void in the market place and why does it exist?

Identify who the winners are in your field and befriend them, SOMEhow.

Attend trade shows and ingest every hill and valley of your field of interest. Read EVERYthing on the subject. Know what could go wrong and work toward your strategy for avoiding it. Stay flexible and frugal. Don’t let other people mandate your expenditures. Outperform under-budget.

Seek knowledge but ask God for wisdom and clarity. I sometimes pray that He make my next decision OBVIOUS to me, so I can’t possibly miss it. Yes, I say those words!

5) What’s your favorite trend of the moment?

I’m enjoying wedges again…

Take a look at Tracey on “The Mo’Nique Show”:

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