Her-Story: Shanell Stevens shares her path to creating generational wealth, one vending machine at a time. 

In 2024, Vision Street Research is continuing its mission and commitment to supporting and elevating Black Women Owned Businesses. With our lens of economic mobility and generational wealth, we are excited to share our recent interview with CEO Shanell Stevens. Read on to learn more about her path to creating generational wealth one vending machine at a time. 

1. What led you to start your business? 

“I was about 4 months pregnant. My relationship with the father wasn’t in the greatest position and I simultaneously was at the point where I had really started to not enjoy dedicating so much time to a business that I couldn’t leave to anyone let alone request anything from for myself. I decided then and there that I would purchase an LLC. I had no idea what it would be for, no idea when I would employ it, no idea if I was even genuinely serious about being an owner of anything. But, I knew that it would be something that if I grew I would be able to pass it down to my child. That was the birth of “Homebody NY LLC”. 

2. How did you come up with the business name? 

“I love this question and despise it at the same time.. lol. The reason is that there really was no deep thought like many people put into their business names. I knew I was pregnant, so I was often tired. I knew I enjoyed being in the comfort of my own home. I knew I enjoyed the option of connecting with people while being right in my dining room. So, I ran with it and named my LLC “ Homebody NY”, and today we DBA, Homebody Ny Vending.”

3. Why vending machines? 

“I decided to pursue the route of vending machines because it was something that I believe my child could start early on in his teen years. I want him to learn the importance of the hustle and the different elements of the field. I thought vending machine operations would be a great route to do that. I strongly believe that if you train a child in which they should go they will not part from it. Building that work ethic and that understanding that if I don’t move strategically and effectively this LLC won’t grow. Whether he decides down the line to continue it or not, I know that instilling this in him will light a fire that I wish my parents and many other parents would effectively teach our youth.”

4. What has been the most challenging part of your business? 

“The most challenging part of vending machine operations I would say is remaining a salesperson. I think that I got really lucky with the locations, machines and mentor I ended up with and I didn’t really continue the push. I would say that my locations aren’t the most lucrative and that is something I am working on. In this field you have to remain a salesperson because you want either many locations or locations that will continually exceed expenses to really see the profitable side of vending operations. That requires a salespersons’ mindset of constantly talking about your business, constantly going out and connecting with potential locations and so on. I am working on that.”

5. What has been the most rewarding part of your business? 

“The most rewarding aspect of this is that at the end of the day you own something and you took a leap of faith. You need to be ready to invest in yourself when starting a business and really birthing your vision. For me, that’s the most rewarding part, that when I do see it at the capacity that’s been placed in my head as a self sustained corporation, it will be something that I can say I took the leap to get done. I want other potential business owners to consider that when they are second guessing themselves.”

6. What comes to mind when I say generational wealth? 

“When I think of generational wealth, I associate it with freedom. I think that we all in some ways have experienced a rat race lifestyle where we’re striving but never really thriving. I think generational wealth is actually where that rat race ends. It provides a door to freedom to choose how to effectively use your limited time on earth. Generational wealth has been the key to many dynasty-like families and I am very hopeful that I too will award that to my children one day.”

7. What is a quote you live by?

“To whom much is given much is required. We can ask and ask and ask for things but when it all boils down to it, do we really have an understanding of what it will require of us? I think that many people want to be millionaires and billionaires. Or many in my generation want to be celebrities or influencers, but those platforms require more than the glitz and glam the surface shows us as outsiders looking in. I may be getting too deep, but no matter what it is; buying a house, starting business, or moving into a new career direction, it all requires another level of you than the previous.”

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