The Confidence of Glam: Shanequa Johnson

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On a cold winter day in early December, Shanequa Johnson, founder of Barcode Glam, had her business displayed in a shoe- and accessory-packed pop-up boutique in College Hill. When I walked in, hip hop music was playing in the background, and I immediately felt surrounded by glam.

Interview by Katie Gravely. Photography by Stacy Wegley.

What’s Barcode Glam?

One day, I was just like, I need to find a way to make extra money. Why don’t I just start selling shoes? I thought something small like selling shoes online wouldn’t be so much money to invest in, but actually, it’s a lot of money. I like things to look pretty and cute, so I like my brand to stand out. Everything that I have is branded, so that when people see me, they see Barcode Glam. Even if they don’t know what it is, I like people to know that Barcode Glam is here. Barcode Glam is an online women’s shoe and accessory boutique. We launched June 2015 online successfully.

I have been in love with my brand ever since.

I love learning every day about marketing. I do everything behind the scenes, from email marketing to sending notifications about what’s new or what’s to come.


How do you want women to feel when they wear Barcode Glam clothes and accessories?

I want them to have confidence. I have confidence in myself, so I want them to put on a piece and feel good in it. I want women to feel sexy, good, confident, strong; I want women to be who they are. I want them to exude confidence in what they wear. Every piece I have exudes confidence. I just want women to feel like Superwoman. We do a lot every day as women. I want Barcode Glam to be your strength, your power.

What do you see for the future of Barcode Glam?

What I see for the future for Barcode Glam is a lot more inventory. I actually want to eventually, when Barcode Glam gets to a certain point in a year or two, I want to open up a nonprofit organization to mentor little girls from middle school to high school. We have a lot of girls who aren’t confident in themselves; their self-esteem is really low. Our suicide risk is going higher and higher and it’s going younger and younger and that scares me the most. I definitely want to open that up, so people know who I am, and I want to be a mentor to these little girls and say, “I can do that, too.” I want little girls to have confidence. I see Barcode Glam all over the United States. I see women taking pictures in their items. I see us becoming a multimillion dollar company. I see a team behind me.


What have you learned about yourself through this process?

 I have learned that I can’t be Superwoman all the time. I have to take off my cape sometimes and just relax. Trying to wear all these hats as a woman and Barcode Glam owner... I feel like I can’t wear all the hats all the time.

You have to take time to yourself, because if you don’t, you’re going to crash and fall.

Also, every other month I take on a class to enhance my knowledge of the online business, boutique world, and of the fashion world, so I’ve learned that I’ve become more passionate in what I’ve started, as well.

What drives you to keep going with this business?

What drives me, basically, is when I get customer reviews and customer reactions. When I see them post something and they say, “This is from Barcode Glam.” That drives me. People want what other people have on or what I have on. You don’t have to have $400 shoes to look amazing. My shoes are reasonable. My highest price shoe is $120. I try not to be overpriced. I want people to love who they are in whatever they wear, especially with Barcode Glam. When I see that, it pumps me up more! It encourages me to buy for customers.


Do you have a woman in your life that inspires you?

The woman in my life that inspires me is my mother. She is the epitome of a superwoman. Raymie L. Hooks always wanted to be a nurse, but life happened, and she had me at a very young age.

She did what she knew how to do, which was work and hustle to make sure we had what we needed growing up. She never showed her children her weakness but always showed her motivation. She never stopped going after her dreams.

After me and my little brother were adults, Raymie went back to school and finally graduated with her nursing degree. She has taught me what it means to be a strong woman and to never stop going after your dreams.