DETROIT — About a year ago, Angel Reeves was forced to resign from her job at Medilodge of Farmington, Michigan, where she worked as a licensed practical nurse for four years, after COVID-19 ripped through the state, claiming the lives and livelihoods of many.
The novel coronavirus pandemic had shut down the school of Reeves' 5-year-old son, Cameron Sy, meaning he would have to be homeschooled full time and Angel was his only option because his dad worked days. The loss of income was devastating, she recalled. And she had no idea how she was going to provide for her son.
But "someone had to stay home with him," the 30-year-old mom said.
Reeves said it was a struggle at first to figure out a way to generate income while not being able to work outside her Westland home. Nursing was all she knew to pay the bills, and that was something she wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to go back to. So she had to come up with a plan, something she could rely on to provide for her family in the event nursing was no longer an option.
That is when Haus of Sy was born. And business has been good.
Haus of Sy — the name inspired by Reeves' son — is an online handbag store that she created, carrying two different styles of purses: a signature logo bag that is available in colors like black, brown, red, hunter green, lilac, hot pink, orange, yellow and navy and baby blue, and retails for $150; and the mini tote that comes in black, gray, lime green, aqua and two cow printed designs: black and white and brown and white, and retails for $110.
Each purse, designed by Reaves and manufactured in China, is made of 100% vegan leather, Reaves said, and since her first live sale in November, she has sold over 800 purses. But it wasn’t until her most recent sale earlier this month, when the site sold out of all its inventory in 19 minutes, that Reeves said she realized she was really onto something.
“I made just under $50,000 in that one drop,” she said, still in amazement. “I had 250 orders and sold all 265 bags. I couldn’t believe it.”
Reeves credits the content that she pushes out on her social media platforms — Instagram, Clubhouse, Twitter and Facebook — and the people who follow her, as being key to her success. While she has had some local celebs buy her handbags, the bulk of her support is from everyday folks who just want to see her succeed.
Reeves' online success is a bright spot in what has been a generally gloomy year for many businesses, especially small and minority-owned businesses. The coronavirus relief loans that the federal government made available for businesses were troublesome for many Black business owners during the application process, with many more reported denials than non-minority-owned businesses , according to a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife. Two in three minority-owned, small businesses have said they are concerned about having to close their doors permanently, the report said.