Jordyn Weaver is a social impact leader and the Founder of Forefront, a first-of-its-kind marketplace for Black-owned brands and creators to connect for affiliate partnerships. Jordyn’s mission is to economically empower Black and other underserved communities through innovation and entrepreneurship.
Founded in 2020, Forefront’s goal is to bridge the gap between Black brands and emerging creators to be able to earn, thrive, and shine online. The platform also aims to bring Black brands to the forefront, helping them become the world's most recognized household names.
Jordyn is a proud HBCU alumna of North Carolina Central University, where she studied Fashion and Business. In 2021, she received her Masters of Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the University of California, Irvine. She’s participated in leading startup programs such as Techstars, HBCUvc, Zane Access, and Future Founders.
Thanks for sitting down with Confidence Daily! Tell us about what you do.:
I'm an Atlanta-based tech Founder, social impact leader, and the Founder of Forefront, a first-of-its-kind marketplace for Black-owned brands and creators to connect for affiliate partnerships. My mission is to economically empower Black and other underserved communities through innovation and entrepreneurship.
How do you cultivate confidence?
I believe confidence is the most important tool for success and without it, I will never reach my fullest potential. I cultivate confidence by first believing in myself, and my visions and dreams, and by speaking highly of myself and to myself. I make sure I see myself as the person I want to be, not who I am or who I was. I try to get myself out of my comfort zone as much as possible because that allows me to reach new levels of confidence and begin to trust myself. I once learned that confidence is the result of keeping my promises - I work on keeping my word and honoring my promises so that I can go out and do all of the things I said I would do with the utmost trust and confidence in myself.
What does being a woman-owned business mean to you?
Being a woman-owned business means having the ability to birth and nurture a vision from beginning to end. Bringing a business to life is very similar to birthing a baby; it takes time, sacrifice, handling yourself with love and grace and SO much more. Being a woman-owned business means that you make a way out of no way to take care of your baby and ensure it has everything it needs to grow. I love the story of ‘The Pregnant Dog and Elephant.” A dog can give birth to three litters of puppies in the same period it takes an elephant to give birth to one baby elephant. I had to understand that I’m birthing something that was going to shake the earth one day; something big and disruptive and I can’t expect it to happen overnight. This story is a gentle reminder to myself to be gracious and patient because everything for me and my business will come at its intended time.
What was your business origin story?
I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. Growing up my twin sister and I would do lemonade stands, pet sit, and babysit around our neighborhood. Though I didn’t grow up saying I wanted to be an entrepreneur, the bug hit me as I got to college. During my time at North Carolina Central University, an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in Durham, NC, I began to learn more about the economic standpoint of the Black community and the declining wealth trends that were negatively impacting our community.
Ironically, I went to college less than five minutes away from the historic Black Wall Street in Durham, NC, and began to study how much Black Wall Street(s) - in Durham, NC, and Tulsa, OK - impacted Black families, businesses, and ultimately Black wealth in America in the early 1900s. I was inspired by this and began to wonder ‘What happened? Why did it end? How can we recreate BWS now?’ I knew that there was a direct correlation between supporting Black businesses and building generational wealth, so I felt called to build a company that will inspire others to support Black brands.
This was back in 2017 before the “Black Business Boom” as I like to call it. There was no place to find Black brands in the malls, shopping centers, or even online. I founded Forefront to create a platform supporting Black-owned brands. I envisioned bringing Black-owned brands to the forefront, so they can become beloved household names around the world. This is exactly what we’re doing!
Okay, coming up with a great idea and actually taking the steps to become an entrepreneur and launch your company are two very different things. How d:
Building Forefront has been an ongoing self-discovery journey since I have begun the first iteration of the platform in 2017. I instantly knew this was something I was called to do; to change the trajectory of my community. I remember hearing that the Black wealth rate was estimated to reach 0% by the year 2053. I couldn’t even fathom the idea and knew that it was up to me to do my part to change this. I felt so strongly about supporting Black businesses being the #1 way to do this so that is why, since 2017 I never stopped working towards my mission to bring Black brands to the forefront. We’re just getting started, but I know we will make a huge impact on Black businesses and families all across the world. It’s going to take time, but I won’t stop until I turn my vision into reality.
Sometimes entrepreneurship can be a hard and isolating journey. How do you stay confident along the way?
Something I’m currently learning as an entrepreneur is that as the CEO, you set the tone and pace for your business. How you show up and succeed in the market is solely up to you. Nobody is coming to save you. You have to decide if you’re going to commit to your vision. It’s a little scary when you think about it but you can also look at it on the flip side and understand that you can build your vision/dream out exactly how you want it. You make the decisions, you call the shots, and you determine if you will fail or succeed. Nobody else.
Additionally, I’ve learned that you have to take the L’s before the M’s. So often when we think about success, we think about the good stuff and not the bad. You can be denied so much in entrepreneurship, but those L’s are just gearing you up for the next phase of success. There’s so much to learn along the way. If you take every L as a lesson, you’ll start to embrace every L you receive. I’m grateful for all the L’s so far!
What's one myth you'd like to debunk about your line of work?
Brands often think they need to have large budgets to begin working with influencers, but that’s not always the case. Brands can spend tens of thousands of dollars on traditional influencer marketing for just a few posts, especially targeting established macro-influencers with large audiences. Brands can now be very successful with gifted collaborations and affiliate partnerships if they are strategic in picking the right influencers who have a unique interest or relationship with their product/brand. Influencer marketing does not have to be expensive if brands work with aligned creators.
What advice would you give to burgeoning entrepreneurs?
My biggest advice would be to never get tired of learning about your market and talking to customers. If you’re building a business you have to be solving a problem for a certain type of customer, and the best way to solve it for them is to learn as much about their problem as possible. Most people get an idea and want to act on it right away; that can be a setup for failure in most cases… or it can cost you a lot of time and money to build something that nobody wants. Find ways to always get feedback from your customers, and don’t be afraid to pivot if you need to!
What words do you live by?
My favorite words to live by are “When life gives you lemons, sell lemonade.” I love this quote because it speaks to the entrepreneur in me and my ability to seize any opportunity given to me. Most people would just ‘make lemonade’, however, you can take your passions, build a company doing something you love, and make a lot of money doing it. The world is your oyster and I love finding opportunities to solve problems in unique ways that also have the potential to make a lot of money.
Any final words of wisdom?
To all the innovators and disruptors like me, keep your eyes on your “big vision.” No matter how big it is, never lose sight of it. People may not believe in you in the beginning, you may get a lot of ‘no’s’ but keep going! When you’re building something the world has never seen before it’s going to take some time for the world to catch up. No matter how long it takes, never take your eyes off your vision. A vision is supposed to be seen, not heard. If they don’t believe you now, make them!