Kemah N. Duopo

Kemah began her journey when she moved from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Los Angeles, California. She felt she could not reach her full potential in her hometown and aimed to gain more opportunities. Instead, the big change led to new challenges and in 2018, she got laid off. However, that would soon turn into a blessing.

Even though Kemah was struggling, she still had the opportunity to get her nails done, which had been a passion of hers since she got her first manicure at 16 years old. “I hit rock bottom, but I told myself, ‘If I have enough money to get my nails done, things are not that bad.’ With that kind of mantra, I was able to turn my life around,” she says.

Instead of going back home, she decided to turn the obstacle into an opportunity. Kemah wanted to be able to sustain herself and be self-employed. Therefore, with her passion for nail polish and these goals in mind, she moved with her young son to Houston and created her own business: Harmon Nail Polish. “I wanted to create a product that embodies those things like affirmations, something geared towards underdogs, people who overcome,” she said.

At the start of her entrepreneur journey, Kemah struggled to succeed with no business knowledge or connections. As a first-time business owner, she often had to discover or research things on her own and learn through trial and error. Building capital was also a difficult challenge for Kemah.

With LiftFund’s assistance and funding Kemah was able to go to New York to join the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, a business accelerator designed to teach her skills for growth. Kemah was also able to buy more inventory. “[The funding] helped me scale, grow my business, “she recalls.