The journey to success has had its trials and tribulations for local business owner Patrice Delevoe, but his end game appears to have a very rewarding purpose.
“My goal is to show people that it is possible. Yes, there are challenges but it is possible,” Delevoe said.
Delevoe grew up in nearby Havana. His mom worked 20-hour shifts to provide for him and his two older brothers.
“I saw my mom work to get us into the middle class, from poverty,” said Delevoe.
“She worked hard to lead by example. She taught us, anything we want we can have, we just have to work for it.”
At a young age, Delevoe set himself up for success.
He was a scholar student throughout elementary, middle and high school. Delevoe graduated from Godby High School with a 4.42 GPA and a full ride to Florida A&M University. He was the only one in the family to graduate high school.
Delevoe went on to study at FAMU’s School of Business and Industry.
Tragedy struck in his first semester. Delevoe’s cousin was the victim of a fatal shooting at the North Florida Fair.
“When my cousin got shot at the fair, I went through this whole depression state where I didn’t want to be around anybody. I didn’t want to talk to anyone,” Delevoe said.
Delevoe ended up missing final exams and failed classes. He was placed on academic probation and his scholarships were revoked.
This was a tough pill to swallow.
“For me coming from high school, always being at the top of my class, with good grades, then go to college and failing out, it was difficult,” said Delevoe.
Delevoe always enjoyed entrepreneurship. He resold clothing and operated a home-based restaurant to generate extra income while in school.
After he left FAMU, Delevoe decided to go full force on his clothing business. While on a business trip out of town, he stumbled upon an even larger opportunity.
Delevoe posted a picture on social media of six chains. Within 30 minutes, they were sold.
“I said bingo, that’s it, jewelry,” Delevoe said.
After conducting business out of his apartment for quite some time, Delevoe decided to take it to the next level and open a shop.
He confided in his mom, Cheryl Delevoe, about his plans.
“He (Delevoe) told me one day he was going to open a shop. Next thing I know, he was showing me a picture of the key and his business cards. That’s a go-getter,” Cheryl said.
“For him to be as young as he is, he’s so business minded. He’s so intelligent for his age and just such a gifted, special child.”
Delevoe traveled to Hawaii for a brief stint to meet with potential business partners and learn the basics to becoming a business owner.
When Delevoe returned to Tallahassee, he conducted business out of a truck for two weeks and saved up enough money to move into the shop. February 2016, he received keys for his first shop, Delevoe’s Lobby on South Adams Street.
“I had dreams of opening a store but I had no idea what level or what magnitude, it was just something I thought about. I knew it was possible but I didn’t know how possible it really was,” Delevoe said.
Delevoe’s Lobby sells custom jewelry and apparel, while also providing clients with business services. Delevoe believes his shop stands out from most because he provides his clients with excellent customer service.
“We pride ourself in just being able to give superior customer service and showing people that we appreciate them choosing us to spend their hard-earned money,” Delevoe said.
While Delevoe’s goal is to become a premium worldwide upscale retail business, stretching across the globe and web, his dream is much bigger than that.
Delevoe’s business ventures are merely a stepping-stone to fulfilling his greater purpose.
“I want to be able to show the young entrepreneurs coming up behind me that regardless of what happens in life, don’t let anything stop you, chase your dreams without doubt and continue to push for what you really want. Let your passion lead you to your purpose,” Delevoe said.
Delevoe has a goal of becoming a millionaire by 25.
“People are going to respect you when you’re a millionaire,” said Delevoe.
“A lot of people haven’t been around millionaires, knowingly. To know that this is a millionaire in front of you talking, I feel kids will want to know what is being said. But not only will you want to hear what I have to say, I actually have an opportunity for you. I will invest in you. I want to be that person willing to invest in somebody and have a pool of resources.”
Khalil Dawson, previous lead sales associate for Delevoe’s Lobby, spoke on behalf of the movement Delevoe has put in place for himself.
“I believe that with all my heart he will be successful. I 100 percent believe in that goal of a million at 25,” Dawson said. “I believe in him because of the struggles he made it out of. He disciplined himself at a very young age by a lot of things that were around him and he had going on. He made it all disperse and had tunnel vision to look down the road he was going.”
Delevoe’s ambition to become a millionaire is much more than just the money.
“I can just imagine once I’m a millionaire, I would love to just take a group of kids who are less fortunate and take them on a trip out of the country. I feel like that would help make an impact on the things they have been exposed to. I realized with me, my drive was so big because I was exposed to entrepreneurship at a young age.”
Delevoe experienced multiple back-to-back break-ins at his shop recently by a group of kids. He spoke about the importance now more than ever on guiding the younger generation in the right direction.
“It was an experience where I realized why I’m really aiming to get into the community and help give guidance to younger adults and kids,” Delevoe said.
He plans on building a curriculum with podcasts, videos and training, on topics such as personal leadership development, passion, losses, dividends and prayer. This will be geared toward young entrepreneurs.
“I feel like a lot of kids are misled. A lot of them don’t have anyone to bring opportunities to make money legally. The streets get ahold of kids at a young age. I can understand that because I come from an environment where, when things happen in the streets, it’s easy to engage if you don’t have the knowledge of right and wrong. But I do know that all it takes is one person to try to lead you in the right direction.” said Delevoe.
“I want to be a starting force for a whole generation behind me.”