Calhoun, a sophomore at Spelman College, established De La Luz as a blog in January 2010. “I started blogging so people could see my thoughts,” Calhoun said. “I eventually found out I was gifted with being visible on the web.” De La Luz–meaning “those of the light” in Spanish–expanded into an apparel brand in February 2010. Calhoun reached out to classmates Kayla Conti and Rachyl Wright for help developing the brand. “I chose to work with people who are closest to me. Every time I see someone who is beautifully unique, I ask them to be a part of De La Luz,” Calhoun said. Wright saw the project as an opportunity to be around artistic creativity. “I always try to surround myself with people with a vision. I appreciate having friends that are creative. I try to get on board and be supportive,” Wright said. “I got involved however I could to support Nia.” Like Wright, Conti assists with the production of the company in any way that she can. “I’m here as a friend to offer my support whenever she needs help with painting, taking orders and folding up T-shirts. I give new ideas that can help boost the company and jump in whenever Nia needs me,” Conti said.
GOD WANTED ME TO START THIS BRAND. HE DID NOT GIVE ME THIS VISION TO SIT ON IT.
Though she is backed with the support of her friends and business partners, Calhoun’s biggest challenge is balancing the brand with her school work. “I have to step back and realize that I am a student as well. God wanted me to start this brand. He didn’t give me this vision to sit on it,” Calhoun said. “Last year I was really involved on campus. I had to gracefully back out of those organizations to devote more time to the brand.” Wright and Conti also help diminish the stress of running the company so Calhoun can stay on top of her school work. “As a team we have to tell Nia to tell us what to do so we can help her with it. She is so creative. She wants to do everything. She has to remember to delegate tasks. That’s what we are here for,” Wright said. “We are a team and a family.”