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Inspiring Conversations with Jennifer & David Mercer of Div9ne Fitness

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer & David Mercer. 

Hi Jennifer & David, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
March 2020 was a turning point for me and my family. I lost my job where I had been working for 3 years suddenly due to the pandemic. The loss of income for my family, like many others, brought about new stressors of uncertainty for our future. Although I was nervous about our financial stability I was confident that I would find a new job soon and that we would bounce back in no time. Unfortunately, after months of failed hiring attempts, I realized our short-term problem may be longer than we anticipated.

I have always been involved in sports and fitness in my personal and professional life so quite naturally I used the new found time in quarantine to reconnect with my health goals. I started out by doing home workouts, riding my bike, practicing sports with my children, and eventually obtained my certification as a personal trainer and nutritionist. My fitness journey inspired my wife to pursue her own physical and mental wellness journey and soon became a new part of our self-care routine. By August I was convinced that I would not find a job and would have to create my own. I shared with my wife an idea to start a fitness apparel business and she immediately fell in love with the idea and we got to work. Together we became business owners. Despite the many challenges and costly mistakes we made early on we continued to lean on our faith and invested our personal savings to fund our business. We were determined to succeed. In March 2021, a full year after I lost my job, my wife and I launched our business Div9ne Fitness and we have been thankful and blessed to grow and learn so much since then.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road to entrepreneurship is never a smooth one, especially when you are married to your business partner. We were challenged on many different levels financially over the last year, however, the greatest obstacle has been managing our relationship as business partners while maintaining a healthy and loving married life.

We have been married for 5 years and the best of friends for over 10 years, however, friendship and love did not quite prepare us for the journey of being business partners. At first we struggled to differentiate our roles in the business and balance our personal and professional responsibilities. Business-related problems became pillow-talk battles. We had to unlearn and relearn our communication styles as it related to partnering as business owners and we had to extend grace to one another throughout our time of transforming into entrepreneurs. It has taken time, prayer, and lots of patience BUT we have finally found our rhythm and have been able to maintain our unique roles and duties in our business that complements our strengths.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Div9ne Fitness?
Div9ne Fitness is our passion project. We have the opportunity to explore our creativity while also delving into the entrepreneurial lifestyle. As members of divine nine organizations (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.) we were excited to create a business that combined our love for health, fitness, fashion, and Black Greek Lettered Organizations. We are currently licensed vendors for three divine nine organizations and have plans to expand our business in the next year to include many more .

Div9ne Fitness is a unique brand that focuses specifically on quality active and athleisure wear. We chose to serve our community in order to promote healthy lifestyle choices for African Americans, who experience significant health disparities in comparison to other racial groups. We know and understand that physical fitness starts with a healthy mind and many times people are motivated to treat their body well when they look and feel good about themselves. Our fitness apparel brand was created with that purpose. We want people to feel comfortable and confident in our clothes while also celebrating black greek culture.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
The most important lesson we have learned is to appreciate our own journey. Oftentimes you can beat yourself up as a business owner trying to keep up with everyone else or chase fast money but we have learned to appreciate our steps and story. We are making meaningful business relationships and taking our time with growing our business in a way that meets the standards we have set. We are making a lot of changes to how we operate our business from home but we are doing everything our way and it works for us. We have learned to document our journey while celebrating both our victories and learning pains. Our story is a beautiful one and one that we are delighted to continue so stay tuned!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Courtiney Jacobs
Keon’ta Powell
Takera Boston

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