After 15 years of working in technology fields related to web design, management, internet marketing and social media, Arsha Jones decided to take the leap as an entrepreneur in 2011. As a Washington D.C. native who moved to the Maryland suburbs, she could no longer find her favorite condiment – mumbo sauce – to share with her children. So she began to make it in her home, then subsequently offer it for sale commercially online. Mumbo sauce has been a cultural staple in the nation’s capital since the 1950s.
Like her product, Arsha Jones is the true flavor of D.C. Capital City is her expression of a people often ignored and rarely heard. She is a champion for and an inspiration to “mompreneurs” around the world. Her ability to develop, brand, market and operate a business based on a cultural icon makes Capital City the only locally owned company to bottle and sell the flavor of mumbo sauce with national commercial success. Capital City also supports the community by donating to local non-profits who fund research and provide social services, and by raising awareness of other minority-owned brands.
How did you launch your career and get to where you are today?
Capital City started as a way to make some extra money while my husband and I were expecting our fourth child. Instinctively, I knew that other displaced Washingtonians must miss their beloved mumbo sauce and decided, along with my husband and co-founder Charles, to bottle it and sell it online. Within months of launching, we were featured on the front page of the Washington Post, on FOX 5 DC, in various publications and on other media outlets. Capital City is still growing and now can be purchased in 20 brick and mortar shops, including a regional chain, and is a featured menu item on five restaurants.
What have you had to sacrifice along the way, if anything?
Sleep, time with family and occasionally my sanity! As an entrepreneur who doubles as a wife and mother, it can be hard to get everything done. At any point in time, a child can get sick or have a big event and my entire schedule has been to be shifted to accommodate these events. But somehow, I find time every day to get something done in order to move my business forward.
How do you define success?
Success for me is a combination of living comfortably, providing for my children, exploring life, giving back and being content. I tend to enjoy the simpler things in life – time with family and friends, traveling and sharing my experiences with the world.
How do you balance work and life?
I don’t. I can’t pretend that I have it all figured out, because I don’t. Like many mothers and wives, I tend to give much more than I take for myself. Being a giver is my nature, it’s who I am. So finding time for myself isn’t always a priority, even though it should be. Quiet “me” time is hard to come by with a full house, so I try to take moments when I can. My favorite place to find solitude is in the car when I opt to ride with the music off in order to focus on a complete thought.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Continuing to grow Capital City into an innovative nationally recognized brand, which not only brings attention to a city that I love, but employs people from our local community. I’m also hoping to use the success of my company to help encourage others to follow their dreams of entrepreneurship through speaking, mentorship and teaching.
Who is your role model or mentor?
Outside of my parents, my role models are honestly regular people who have done extraordinary things – but no one specific. I often research and find people and/or businesses online that are similar to mine and follow them. Inspiration can be found anywhere, but I definitely gravitate toward people who started out in business with little more than a few dollars, plus an idea and a passion to succeed – like myself.
What advice do you give your fellow entrepreneurs?
Use the internet as your guide. The internet has leveled the playing field. It gives anyone access to be anything, do anything and learn everything. With just a few clicks, you can start a business, build a website, write a business plan, cultivate a product, create a campaign, make connections and generate sales right from the comfort of your own home. So when you look at other people who are successful, just know that could be you, too!