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Meet Saria Hawkins-Banda of Manifest Your Purpose

Today we’d like to introduce you to Saria Hawkins-Banda.

Saria, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My story is not a typical one. I never planned to start this company, which is hilarious because I am a planner by nature. I had a vision for my life that did not include Manifest Your Purpose. However, in late December 2019, when I was on Christmas break, God spoke so clearly to me. He directed me to host an event that would bring women together to discuss how to manifest their purpose in life. Hence the name. I honestly didn’t want to do it, but I obeyed His directions. I sold out in less than a week and had to add several seats to accommodate more women who wanted to attend. I planned on doing more events in 2020, but then Corona happened and made that impossible. I was so distraught and asked God what I should do. He answered swiftly! I couldn’t sleep for three nights in a row because I kept having dreams about office accessories and planners. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. And the rest is history. In three months, I went from a dream to reality and it has been the most rewarding experience ever!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been a smooth road at all. One of the main struggles I’ve experienced is the very reason why I believe my company is so essential. I wear many hats. I’m a full-time professional, a Ph.D. student, a wife and a mother. Sometimes it is extremely difficult to balance all of those roles simultaneously. However, I believe my knack for planning and organization has helped me tremendously to be present and try my best in all areas of my life. I know it was God’s will for me to start this business because I have the privilege of showing other women how intentional living can help them to plan with purpose and reduce some of the stress they encounter on a daily basis.

Another challenge has been funding. Like many Black female entrepreneurs, I self-financed my company. I do not like debt, so I refused to get a loan. However, it would be nice to have more financial resources to expand my product offerings. I have so many ideas of products that I want to offer. However, for now, I have to release them incrementally while I work on increasing my cash flow. I’ve applied for several grants, so hopefully, I receive one of them!

Please tell us about Manifest Your Purpose.
Manifest your purpose is a chic collection of office accessories, decor and planning tools for purpose-driven women. I believe planning is a form of self-care. The more we emphasize goal-setting and productivity in our daily lives, the more our future selves will thank us. True growth and transformation begin with our small, seemingly insignificant daily actions. Writing in a journal, praying more, practicing mindfulness, creating a daily routine, purifying the atmosphere of our home or workspace. When we combine these minute actions with consistency over a steady amount of time, real change occurs. We take control over our environment rather than our environment controlling us. That’s how we manifest our purpose in life.

I am most proud of the fact that my company values representation. I became increasingly frustrated with the lack of representation in office accessories and stationery. It’s next to impossible to walk into a retail store such as Target, Hobby Lobby or Michaels and find products that reflect the experiences, personalities and world-views of Black women. I didn’t like the products that were available, so I created my own! Representation matters. And we deserve to see ourselves reflected in the products we use every day.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Honestly, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. Sometimes we allow ourselves to get in our own way. The spontaneity of it all and not questioning God’s will is what has allowed me to be successful. I didn’t have time to second guess myself or doubt God. I just went for it! And I’m so glad I did.

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