In life our purpose changes. We go through major life changes; from relationship changes to the ever so common one, career changes. And Shalah Collins is no different. Shalah Collins is a full-time parent, author and Managing Director of an online store called ‘Shalah’s Corner’. She is also a native New Yorker. Before becoming an author and small business owner, she worked for the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for 10 years before resigning. From there, she decided to head on a complete different and new path. While she worked for the NYPD, she became passionate about the issues Police Communications Technicians were facing. To better position herself for an union position, she obtained a certificate in Labor Relations with the Cornel Labor Relations program in New York City. She ran two successful campaigns that elected her as a Chapter Chair/Union official under DC37 (District Council 37).
Collins recently chatted with Purposely Awakened and told us what inspired her make the career change. She also talked about how life has been since going into business for herself.
What inspired you to be an entrepreneur and open your own boutique?
I became inspired to be an entrepreneur because my life called for it and I knew that I not want to retire with the NYPD. Applying for work these days, spending hours filling out various applications was draining for me. I did my due diligence in attempting to gain other opportunities, but unfortunately, the universe was unresponsive. So, I had to take matters into my own hands. At the end 2016, I began selling things online. I started out on Ebay and eventually decided I wanted to start my own store, on my own website.
What influenced you to write the children’s book Rascalville?
I decided to write Rascalville for a few reasons. Rascalville is based on true events that occurred in my childhood and it was inspired by a few people. One of those people was my late mother whose dream was to write children’s books when she retired. She never got to reach that dream due to her untimely sudden death in 2013, which devastated my family.
Are you the sole author and illustrator of the book?
I am the sole author of Rascalville. The illustrations were done my publishing company’s illustration team.
Is their a sequel or any other books we should be on the lookout for from you?
There is a sequel to Rascalville currently in the works. It will be a chapter book with less pictures and much more content. I also have a few other projects in the works. You should definitely stay tuned.
Is it an achievement having your book published and for it to be such a hit this early?
I found Rascalville to be an achievement once I made up my mind to complete the project. Rascalville was completed in February of 2016. I was taken away from the project because I had to advocate for my son, then was able to revisit the project and finally got published in July of 2017. It’s a joy share my story with young readers and it feels good to make connections and engage with my audience.
Does it seem harder being an independent, Black female publishing a children’s book in your eyes?
It is not difficult being an Independent Black female publishing a children’s book. The challenge is when you decide to become an independent author. Promotions and everything you do to move your book forward is on you. If you do not move, your book will not move.
Do you do any philanthropy work in your community? If so please share with us we would love to support.
Unfortunately at this time, I do not do any philanthropy work in my community because I am still new to it. I am an advocate and parent advocate for gifted children and a member of the NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children).
What great advice do you have to offer the next great female millennial author?
If I was giving advice to any female author, it would be to be patient. Take your time and do it right. Know what you are getting into before you decide to embark on the journey of becoming an author. Publishing a book can be a lot of hard work. The promotional side can be even more tedious.