Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in advertising services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Juan Carlos Dueweke-Pérez, Owner of Featherstone, located in Detroit, MI, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I’m a part of a marketing agency in Detroit that is currently shifting to being the first co-op of its kind here in Michigan! I work with an incredible team to deliver creative services to B2C businesses in hospitality and retail and economic development in Southeast Michigan. You’ll recognize some of our clients for sure! And the work we do is always centered around thoughtful collaboration, intentional strategy, building cultural, wealth, and storytelling. We’re able to accomplish this through mediums of strategy, public relations, video, photography, copywriting, graphic design, and website development.

Tell us about yourself

Featherstone filled a need I found within multiple communities. A lot of agency work is costly or oftentimes focuses on large businesses. This means it’s inaccessible to many small businesses and individual entrepreneurs or ones just getting started. I’m a photographer by profession, but I wanted to extend key services to those entrepreneurs I knew needed them. I started the work of creating a business with ProsperUs Detroit in 2015. From that relationship, my network expanded, and I worked with so many people who inspired and pushed me to be better, both as an entrepreneur and thinking about business strategy, and even thinking about my own self and how I exist as a human in the world. It’s those people, those connections, that gives me a deeper understanding of who I am and how my work plays a role in that and inspires me to show up for myself and my team each day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Our team at Featherstone has grown to include eleven team members currently. And we’re moving to worker-ownership. That’s a goal I set for myself years ago, to build a business that would be owned and operated by its employees, and we’re in the final stages of that!

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Letting go of control. As we move into a new business model, I’m shifting to a space where every decision doesn’t come from me and my experience alone. It’s in collaboration with the rest of our team, who is equally invested in the growth and success of our business. It’s the opposite of everything you learn when you’re building a business, and releasing some of that responsibility sounds easy enough, but being comfortable with that release is such a challenge. One I’m so grateful for.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Being an entrepreneur is something to strive for. Though one thing that isn’t talked about enough is the struggle and journey. You’re not just thinking about what you want to do, but what will be the best decision for your team, financially, and for the community that your work is impacting. It’s tough stuff. So, here’s some advice I wish I had received earlier in my career:

  1. Get therapy as soon as you can. Your business is a reflection of your essence, values, and well-being.
  2. Get out of your own way. Ask for help from your employees, your family, and the people that will be honest with you, despite how painful it may be.
  3. Accept that you’re going to be faced with parts of yourself you never thought you’d experience. The good and the bad. It’s a never-ending journey that pushes you each and every day.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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