The Universe is Calling
Call it destiny, or call it the product of positive thinking – either way, it’s been a driving force for this serial entrepreneur.
Growing up in DeKalb, Henry McDavid never dreamed of owning his own business, even though he was earning fistfuls of cash selling goods to friends and colleagues. Dozens of jobs and failed ventures later, fate has granted him a taste of success.
“Opportunity usually comes in the form of misfortune,” he says. “So, what you think is a bad thing or a negative thing and you’re like, ‘Why did it happen to me?’ – it’s not why did it happen to you; it’s that it happened for you.”
And so it’s been with his latest venture, Kikifers Beauty Supply, in Rockford. He was out of work and looking for a new direction when McDavid met a couple who were producing black soap.
McDavid saw a chance to create a liquid version that could help people with skin conditions. He had some early interest, but no major breaks until fate came knocking.
“We took our last $20 and jumped on the road to Milwaukee, didn’t even have gas money to get home,” he says. It was a sell-out, and in time, McDavid and his wife/business partner, Keishonda, were opening a store where they could sell more. The couple now make and sell some 60 multiethnic beauty products.
The store’s success brought new opportunities, as the McDavids launched Kikifers Entrepreneurial Academy to fill an empty room in their store.
The private school is aimed at children with achievement gaps, and it’s built around a self-paced curriculum. Between learning the three R’s they also get a hands-on education in business skills. In fact, children can’t apply to the school without pitching a business concept. The school now operates out of the Booker Washington Community Center and has plans to raise $1 million to build a strong foundation. “I try to give people what I didn’t have as a child,” McDavid says.
In between the store and school, McDavid can also be found refereeing at local sports matches, advising on financial and entrepreneurial matters, giving motivational speeches and finding ways to expand Kikifers to other parts of the country.
“Failure is a part of success, so we take the failures,” he says, “and when the successes come, we take those too.”