Founder Spotlight: Darsha' Carter

Darsha Ham

Meet Darsha’ Carter, co- founder of Melanoid Exchange, and DivInc alumnus featured in this month’s Founder Spotlight series.

Origin Story:  My journey to becoming an entrepreneur is quite unorthodox. I actually never intended on being an entrepreneur. It was just something I grew up around and always knew about. I was raised by entrepreneurs and majority of my family are entrepreneurs. Although we grew up not having much, I still admired them and was always proud of them.

Throughout life, I’ve always been a leader and a trendsetter. Even during college I would start my own programs and started small businesses here and there that were actually really popular. When I graduated college as a registered nurse, I felt deep within my heart that although I love people— I will not be here for long. I had a deep desire to impact the lives of others on another level. When my husband came to me with the idea about Melanoid Exchange, I was hands down. I started off just helping with social media and slowly but surely made my way up to being a Co-Founder. I brought to the team what my Husband needed and that was an innovator and a confident speaker who is fearless— at least to the public.

 Biggest Obstacle I’ve Faced:  Overcoming imposter syndrome!!! Wow, there’s never been a more harder task for me as an entrepreneur whose Black and female in an industry that favors males and Caucasian people than overcoming the imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud" In every instance when I’ve met with investors, Accelerators etc. I’ve always felt as if I was not good enough to be in their presence and that even though everything is true I felt like I was telling a lie. You know my actual degree is in nursing— I don’t have their experience or expertise to sit in half the rooms I’ve been in or to win the awards that I’ve won. Therefore, I played myself down until I joined Divinc and the Houston startup ecosystem. It was in this surrounding that I began to finally believe in myself and my capabilities. Being able to be around other female founders and founders who are Black gave me confidence like never before. I remembered that I have always been a light in this world and just because I am among others who seem smarter does not dim my light, it’s just another opportunity for me to shine.

Advice I’d give someone thinking of starting their own business: You’ll never know the entire picture or how everything will play out. You’ll never be perfect. You’ll never have it all together. Still do it! Do it uncomfortable, do it incomplete, do it scared. In those moments you will either fly or fall but in both situations you’ll learn. I’ve had the opportunity of understanding the logic that no matter what, I learn for everything and get better. Meaning there is no such thing as failure when you are always in it for the lessons and to get better. The more you show up the more the opportunities will come, just continue to show up and learn and the rest will follow.

Learn more about Melanoid Exchange Here