Deep Rooted Enterprise LLC
(Published Originally 12.23.16 on ARTISCEND.COM)
Written By J. Randolph
Arguably the most famous architect of all time, Frank Lloyd Wright would often implement shapes and symbols in designing homes and commercial properties throughout the city of Chicago, IL. He understood the importance of merging form and function.
Today, a Chicago native is following in the tradition by using her passion for art to bridge gaps and change her community
Monique Atkins—founder of Deep Rooted Enterprises LLC, is a graphic design artist by trade. Atkins earned her degree in graphic design from Jackson State University in Mississippi. Initially she wanted to be a chef but she had a natural gift for sketching designs. Coupled with an inherent talent for entrepreneurship, she began developing the idea for her company Deeply Rooted in 2007 and in 2013, she actualized that vision by forming her first LLC.
Deeply Rooted 07 (which would later become a part Deep Rooted Enterprises LLC) was born out of Atkins imagination, commitment, and sheer will. However, her start (like that of many entrepreneurs) was uneasy and uncertain. In 2008, she left Tuskegee University after her first year of study. She admitted lack of focus was her vice. “I had to learn to prioritize my time”, said Atkins. With some counseling from her mother, she cut back on social outings, refocused and left Tuskegee for the more affordable Jackson State which also offered her major in Graphic Design.
Even after graduating, Atkins wasn’t quite on the road to business ownership just yet. She worked a string of odd jobs to support herself through school and post graduation she worked her way up to the role of Assistant Principal at Orion High School in Chicago. The work was enjoyable but Atkins felt constrained and confined. She wanted to interact more with the students and teach them more about art and culture. Atkins said “I came to the point where I [was] getting up every morning and giving 100% but not to myself”.
On faith and the sound advice of her mother who had always been by her side to provide guidance, Atkins left her position and in her words, “just prayed for clientele”. She continued advertising online and although it was slow at first, she picked up her first two major clients in the fall of 2010 and never looked back.
As business picked up, she enlisted the help of her family and friends. Atkins’ three siblings (including her older sister, twin sister, and younger brother) assisted with everything from administrative organization to design suggestions and color schemes. Longtime friend, William Franklin also did work for Atkins as a graphic designer.
Atkins’ team was assembled, clientele was steady and she had climbed from the depths of business chaos and uncertainty to self sufficiency and reassurance. Still she maintained focus on her larger goal of assisting and engaging her community. She hired interns throughout the city to provide opportunities in everything from business to design.
In 2010, Atkins faced one of her toughest struggles as her mother (whom had been so instrumental in her success) passed away following a massive heart attack. Although she admits it was tough for her personally, Atkins found strength in the family and friends that surrounded her.
In November 2016, Atkins opened her first brick and mortar location—Kollabz, in partnership with a client for whom she had designed logos. True to her ideals of paying it forward and giving back, Atkins and her team designed Kollabz to benefit upcoming designers who didn’t have access to giant department stores. Displaying the work of upcoming designers provides them an opportunity to showcase their talent and grow their consumer base.
“I remember feeling like man if someone would just give me a chance to show my skill set, I could [achieve]; now I’m able to give that to someone else and that feels good”. Atkins’ passion for art helped her excel her but her passion for people is worthy of celebration as well as praise.
The guiding principles of Deeply Rooted Enterprise as a brand are “bearing, struggle, and pain”. Atkins said, “That’s what [we are] about; overcoming the challenges and struggles you face by being rooted in your culture and who you are”. Deeply Rooted Enterprise LLC is setting an example for businesses who understand that people and perseverance are just as important as payroll and profit.