Photo by Tiffany Joy Photography
Whitney Prather, the founder and CEO of Yokefellow Creative, is creating success for herself as an entrepreneur by helping others do the same.
“At Yokefellow, we help solo entrepreneurs and small-to-mid-sized businesses,” she explained. “We work with most entrepreneurs and solo entrepreneurs (those who have no team) with their branding. Yokefellow Creative will work with them to build their brand promise and their
assets. They may have the message, the service, the product but no vehicle or methodology for communicating it.”
Prather, who called Yokefellow Creative, “a boutique design agency that was started as a side hustle in 2018,” once found herself in similar circumstances as her current clients.
There were years early in her career, she said, that people “validated” her dream of operating a marketing and branding consultant firm “before I was ready.”
“People just kept talking to me about marketing, asking for help, even though I wasn’t soliciting myself as an expert,” said Prather, who is all about “makeup, motivation and marketing,” according to a witty “Get To Know Me” bio at her website. “I had several people ask me to freelance, and I had no container to do this work in, so I’d often turn them down.”
It was in 2015 that Prather “began seriously thinking about entrepreneurship,” admitting that she was “scared to take the leap” because there were “so many things that I didn’t know.” Still, new entrepreneurs continued seeking out her advice for communicating their company’s message.
“Many times, people would inquire about marketing ideas, and when those ideas started becoming fruitful, I would get this natural high—and it’s when I felt most proud of myself,” she recalled. “I realized that I was my best self when I was helping people in this arena.”
So, with the website goal of specializing in “branding, social media marketing and events,” Yokefellow Creative was born.
“We work with small businesses and nonprofit organizations on a variety of services, including websites, virtual events and general business branding and design,” Prather said. “An exciting client for Yokefellow is a California-based nonprofit that is building modular steel homes to address the housing crisis there.”
Prather, who can be reached by visiting YokefellowCreative.com or by emailing hello@YokefellowCreative.com, said she is surrounded by a “multi-ethnic, age diverse” network of family and friends.
“I’ve never chalked up my lack of opportunity to the fact that I’m African-American,” she said. “I’m proud of my background, race, but I’ve never allowed it to make me a victim. I grew up with prolific Black role models—women in this community who inspire me. My grandmother was one of the first African-American teachers to be hired at McKinley High School. Through her, I met so many people who were organizing and making a difference.”
She said that even when she felt “the sting of ‘being other’ ” during a work experience in which she felt “marginalized,” that job situation served as a source of encouragement, pushing her toward finding her voice in business through entrepreneurship. It led her to founding Yokefellow Creative.
Recent challenges due to the pandemic have caused her to creatively modify her business model and adapt to the continually changing corporate climate in which companies find themselves operating.
“I think the pandemic has made a lot of people think crucially about what they want from life. So I get a lot of inquiries from people who are considering their side hustles or taking the step from the corporate world to full-time entrepreneurship,” said Prather. “But a barrier for some of them are finances, so I’m trying my best to work with them where I can.”
“In addition to providing signature branding services, I’m excited to offer virtual event strategy and consulting,” continued Prather. “So much has happened, and businesses need someone who can assist them with all of the moving parts.”
Prather knows that her personal entrepreneurial goals are tied tightly to those who entrust their business ownership dreams to her.
“I’m really working to grow it (Yokefellow Creative),” she said, well aware that her success depends much upon the success of those clients she is assisting. “There’s a lot to do when you’re working for your clients and also trying to grow your own brand.”