Zaneesha Harrell

Founders header image

Founder of Brooklyn Lighthouse

I never thought in a million years I would be an entrepreneur. I thought my calling was working with kids. When my oldest son was five, I was pregnant again with my youngest son. My due date was in July and I knew I had to go back to work in September, meaning I only had seven weeks off and there was no paid maternity leave.

All I could think and stress about was how I was going to do this with a newborn, and a five year old. Childcare is extremely expensive in New York City and based on my salary at the time there was no way I could afford to work and have my kids in daycare. 

I’ve always been headstrong. I will go to the lengths of time to prove my point, or to show I can do something. Everyone in my family has that mentality. I remember even when I was young, my grandfather would tell us not to give up on anything and that mentality has been instilled in me. My family is full of women who are just as fiery, if not more fiery than me, and that’s a rare but extremely empowering thing to have when growing up. 

So, fast forward seven months down the line during my pregnancy, I hit the nesting phase and began to clear everything out. I decided to start selling my older sons clothes he had grown out of everywhere I could. Instagram, Poshmark, anywhere I could make a few extra bucks. With the next few months out of work, I was now truly in survival mode. The more I sold, the more I realized I was getting pretty good at this. So I sat myself down and said you know what, let me fully commit to this and make it something big. 

There are so many things I learned along the way and sometimes I think maybe if i knew to run ads sooner, or if I read this book last year things might have been easier but it would have changed my story. Yes, all the long nights and trials I went through were extremely difficult, but in the end the entire process and the why behind building Brooklyn Lighthouse was worth it.