Young Black entrepreneur’s perseverance pays off with launch of Keyala’s Pralines

For Keyala Marshall, launching her now famous praline candy has not always been easy. Whether it was the passing of her sister Latasha Marshall in 2018, or a bank’s decision to deny her loan application for funds, Marshall has steadfastly continued in her pursuit for business success through perseverance.

Marshall’s love for making pralines started as a simple ‘sweet tooth’ and grew into a passion of one day owning a company distributing pralines. The process of actually making pralines took a considerable amount of time in the beginning mixing all of the ingredients together and knowing when the process was finished. “I love pralines.” Marshall explained. “I would always buy them (pralines) and one day I had an idea of wanting to learn how to make pralines myself. My sister and I bought sugar and milk to make pralines but it (making pralines) did not work out at all. We tried two days straight trying to get it together and just could not do it. Eventually, we finally made pralines and figured out how we want them (pralines) to taste”

When Marshall’s sister passed away in 2018 of cystic fibrosis, she was unsure if the desire to continue building what had been started was still within.

“My sister is who helped me develop my recipe. When she passed in 2018, it was that moment I went into hiatus and just stayed inside. My business was stagnant. I did not deliver (anymore) and just felt like why am I doing this.” Marshall explained. Yet, Marshall’s prior remembrance of her sister’s encouraging words is what pushed her (Keyala) over the top with continuing the vision of Keyala’s Pralines. Marshall explained her sister would say, “Keyala you’re going to be great and have your own store.”

Marshall, who has a degree in business, would later apply for bank financing to expand the vision for her business, only to find another barrier blocking her path. “I went to the bank to expand my location and provided financial details to our income but they (bank) responded by saying my debt-to-income ratios were not sufficient due to my student loan debt.” Marshall said. “In order to up (increase) production, you have to have your own spot.”

Though Marshall faced some financial setbacks with the bank , her perseverance has brought a new faith perspective on how to wait for your time to come. “Although I had those setbacks, I still believe everything works for you in due time.” Marshall said. “You are trying to rush things but you must realize when it is your time, it (what it is you are seeking) will be for you.”

After all of the hard work Marshall put in, when it was finally her time she knew it. Marshall, who worked for Rouses’ in various roles over the past eight years received an opportunity to begin placing her pralines in-store for everyone to see. Though the process of placing her pralines in Rouses was not easy at first, Marshall has embraced the process and would not have done it any other way.

“With them (Rouses) placing my products in stores, it wasn’t just that I had a good product, it’s that they (Rouses) knew my reputation backed up my product. They (Rouses) knew I had been here for x-amount of years. They (Rouses) know I am always smiling. They (Rouses) knew I was always talking to everyone.” Marshall explained. ”So it wasn’t just about having a good product too, but who you are as a person to back up your product and stand behind your brand.”

Now that Keyala Marshall has experienced success through continued perseverance, do not look for the momentum she has created to slow down anytime soon.

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