From College Student to Award-Winning Entrepreneur
Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, VaLanDria Smith-Lash started her business because she loves her mother.
At the age of fourteen, VaLanDria's mother was diagnosed with lupus, a long-term autoimmune disease that left her hair and skin brittle and irritated. VaLanDria was determined to do something to ease her mother's discomfort and went to work asking doctors for recommendations and researching ingredients until Smith-Lash decided to make her own product- whipped shea butter with all-natural ingredients that provided comfort without aggravating sensitivities.
After seeing the positive impact VaLanDria's homemade products had on her local community, she knew that she needed to expand and provide the same love and care she has for her mother to others by officially offer Coarse Culture products to the public.
As a full-time college student, VaLanDria re-branded and launched Coarse Culture in her height of her junior year. She worked hard to land her business a position in Amazon's Black Business Accelerator Program and now offers Coarse Culture products nationally on their platform. Durning her colligate career, VaLanDria made history as the first student to headquarter a business at Miami University’s new Lee and Rosemary Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship. Her story of pursuing her company has been featured in WKRC’s Local 12 news, The Citizen’s Newspaper Group, The Miami Student Newspaper ,WRA Alumni Magazine and recognized nationally in EBONY Magazine.
As a recent Forbes 30 Under 30 lister for the city of Chicago, Smith-Lash is recognized as an esteemed entrepreneur focused on growing her company and inspiring the next generation of change-makers along her journey.
"Trust the journey...always."
Motivator, Trailblazer, Educator
Miami University Alumni Association and D. Ellis Rates '14, Associate Director, Intercultural Initiatives, as he chats VaLanDria about running a successful business, while also going to school full-time. We will talk about the birth of Coarse Culture and how it has grown to now be a product sold on Amazon.
An innovative program at Miami University is helping one young woman achieve her dream, by helping others who have a challenging disease that impacts the immune system: http://bit.ly/3ZDuVEj
VaLanDria Smith-Lash is a dynamic student entrepreneur who has emerged as a compelling voice on college campuses, inspiring her peers to embrace their purpose. As a passionate advocate for purpose-driven living, VaLanDria has not only founded her own ventures but has also taken the stage at various events to share her insights and experiences. Through her engaging talks, she encourages fellow college students to lean into their purpose, emphasizing the importance of aligning personal values with entrepreneurial endeavors. VaLanDria's journey as a speaker reflects her commitment to empowering others to discover and pursue their passions, fostering a community of driven individuals eager to make a positive impact on the world. Her words resonate with authenticity and resonate with those navigating the challenges and opportunities of both academia and entrepreneurship.
VaLanDria talks about her business in front of Miami University, government officials and entrepreneurship leaders.
VaLanDria poses with Liz Bonis and discusses Coarse Culture in WKRC's Local 12 news.