This month we’re featuring Demia Doggette, founder of The Couture Agency, a full-service boutique PR firm geared towards obtaining top-tier press and media opportunities for brands founded by women of color, specializing in the areas of fashion, beauty, lifestyle and wellness.
Learn more about Demia Doggette and The Couture Agency, and how this mission-driven PR firm is driving crucial conversations in U.S. media and business culture.
Promoting and Uplifting Black Women Entrepreneurs
The Couture Agency was founded in 2017 with a mission of helping Black women entrepreneurs and business leaders get the recognition, publicity and wider audiences for their brands and companies that they deserve.
Millions of Black women are starting businesses and pursuing entrepreneurship to create jobs and opportunities for themselves and others. According to a recent survey from American Express, the "State of Women-Owned Businesses Report," as of 2019, there were 2,681,000 businesses owned by Black women, representing 21 percent of all women-owned businesses. Businesses owned by Black women have accounted for the highest rate of growth in number of firms during 2014–2019.
But too often, Black women entrepreneurs have faced additional obstacles to business growth. As of 2019, the average annual revenue for Black women-owned businesses was only $24,000, compared to an average of $142,900 for all women-owned businesses.
Black entrepreneurs sometimes struggle with discrimination and systemic barriers that keep them from getting access to business startup capital, meetings with investors or connections to professional networks and mentoring that can help their companies grow. Black women entrepreneurs and brand founders have also not been featured as prominently in mainstream media and industry publications. This is a problem that Demia Doggette and The Couture Agency are working to solve.
“I created my firm to be a space where I could showcase, glorify and elevate the personalities and brands of Black women,” said Demia. “I want to promote and create valuable partnerships for women of color so we can finally receive the publicity and recognition that we deserve. My ultimate desire is to diversify the imagery and narrative of top publications and media outlets to include the voices and products of women of diverse backgrounds. This is my way of spreading Black Girl Magic one day, one story, one big win at a time.”
Driving Big Results for PR for Black Women Entrepreneurs
Public relations firms like The Couture Agency work with their clients to create a communications and marketing strategy focused on helping promote and publicize the client’s brand. Depending on the company, the goals might be to get media coverage, get a client featured in a corporate partnership or sponsorship, get interviewed on TV news or go viral on social media.
By working with Black women entrepreneurs and their brands, The Couture Agency helps these companies get recognized and boost their prominence in the public conversation. Black women entrepreneurs who might otherwise have been overlooked and left out can now be at the center of the media conversation for their industries and key audiences — building credibility, gaining mindshare and winning new business to generate growth.
“The wins that my clients have received through my agency's efforts are so rewarding,” Demia said. “In just three years, we have obtained press in the majority of the top-tier publications, prepared the path for clients to be featured in major TV outlets such as HBO, overseen popup shops with Macy's, set up proper PR frameworks to help another client secure multiple million-dollar months during the pandemic and so much more. Seeing my clients win is the ultimate win for me!”
One of The Couture Agency’s clients got to appear on television because of Demia’s PR work. That one TV appearance led to more than $16,000 in sales for the client’s business in less than 48 hours. Publicity can be powerful! Putting your company in front of a larger audience and introducing your product to people in a trustworthy and easy-to-understand way can immediately drive big sales results.
“To see my girls go from an idea to multi-million dollar brands in a matter of months is the ultimate blessing,” Demia said. “Our creative genius keeps our clients at the center of the culture.”
Working with Incfile: Taking Extra Work Off Your Plate
Demia had a great experience working with Incfile to start her business. She said she was “hooked from the first time I clicked on the website.”
“Starting a business is a ton of work, but Incfile takes a huge bulk of the work away and makes the filing processes so much easier,” Demia said.
Entrepreneurship: Overcoming the Fear of Flying
As a PR strategist, Demia often has to help her clients get out of their comfort zones, build up their self-confidence and see the beauty and value of their business ideas. She has found these same feelings of empowerment in her journey of being an entrepreneur.
“One of the biggest challenges in starting a business was just dealing with the fear of the unknown,” Demia said. “When I got started, I wanted to succeed so I could help pay the bills for our family, for my husband and our (at the time) six-month-old daughter. I constantly feared failing, but I am so thankful for my faith and support system.”
One of Demia’s favorite poems, by Erin Hanson, helps capture the sense of embracing uncertainty and overcoming fear that is at the heart of entrepreneurship:
There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask, "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?
“I am so happy I decided to go for it,” Demia said, “and I am so happy to let you know I am truly flying!”
Ben Gran is a freelance writer from Des Moines, Iowa. Ben has written for Fortune 500 companies, the Governor of Iowa (who now serves as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture), the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and many corporate clients. He writes about entrepreneurship, technology, food and other areas of great personal interest.