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FunTimes Magazine

Charita Powell

Longtime entrepreneur Charita Powell started Amazulu Collections in 1985, best known for its retail operation in Philadelphia’s historic Reading Terminal Market. Today, Powell travels the world and collaborates with artists on the one-of-akind offerings that fashion-forward Philadelphians know they can only acquire at Amazulu, including its latest outlet, The Amazulu Living Room in South Philadelphia.

Best and worst decision?
“The best decision that I made in my personal life was to travel. The worst was not doing it earlier, like in my 20s.”

Dream job as a child?
“I started my business, at age nine, with my team of two, going on the other side of Broad Street, washing Italian peoples’ marble steps. When I slipped by saying I’d gone in somebody’s house to do their floors, my Mom shut down my business. Being an entrepreneur allowed me to buy my first hoodie and a pair of Lee jeans. You couldn’t tell me nothing…I bought it with my own money!”

Barriers to female leadership?
“I try to look without the barriers, but I think I am scrutinized more before I can get a business loan, so financial gains through loans, and corporate opportunities in some areas. They tend to look at women a little harder in some of our endeavors.”

Who inspires you?
“My first mentor was my grandmother. She bought properties in South Philadelphia. Today, my mentors are (media mogul) Oprah Winfrey, (inspirational speaker) Iyanla Vanzant, (multi-media journalist) Bobbi Booker, (master hair braider) Yvette Smalls, and (poet/playwright) Ntozake Shange – they have watched me grow and have pushed Then there are my friends, my family, and some of my client-base worldwide. I must say worldwide because my clientbase is beyond Philly and if I don’t say that, they will feel left out. It’s like they are the Amazulu Tribe… and still ‘I rise!’ This is my 16th year going global to produce and create.”

Challenges for next Generation?
“To work together and come together. There has to be more networking, and there has to be more sharing of ideas for all of that generation to be successful. We are just learning how to do that.”