Meet Erica "E" Bradshaw, Owner of Bradshaw Creative Services
Erica Bradshaw (they/them), or "E" as they prefer to be called, is a remarkable entrepreneur and proud New Jerseyan originally from Newark who now resides in Union County, New Jersey.
With a background in classical acting and a degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Drama Department, E brings over 27 years of experience in performing arts. Their entrepreneurial journey embodies courage, self-discovery, and success. E's passion for acting and public speaking led them to establish Bradshaw Creative Services, a fine, creative, and performing arts studio in the heart of Union County that offers one-on-one coaching for acting, public speaking, and small group classes. The studio also serves as an affordable event rental space.
As a valued UCEDC Virtual Incubator client, E's story is one of resilience, authenticity, and community support. Bradshaw Creative Services has created a haven for marginalized communities, driven by E’s passion for acting, public speaking, and education. When asked about their experience with UCEDC, Bradshaw said that their journey through the Virtual Incubator Program has been instrumental and has provided guidance, training, and a nurturing community.
In the face of potential challenges due to Bradshaw's queer identity, E credits their extroverted nature and exceptional social skills, which have helped them connect with their township and mayor. E believes this has helped foster an environment where they have never felt “othered.” They also cite a strong work ethic and wealth of experience, which has helped them navigate the business landscape, keeping the focus on what they bring to their business rather than how they identify. When encountering instances of being misgendered in professional settings, E never assumes ill intentions and avoids shaming individuals who may have unintentionally misgendered them. Instead, Bradshaw politely corrects them and assertively voices their gender identity, fostering an environment of respect and inclusivity.
E also expressed that effectively conveying the goals and needs of the collective of small black businesses, particularly those owned by black queer individuals, has been difficult. They often encountered misunderstandings in this regard. However, E also mentioned that one of the positive aspects of their journey was the support they received from UCEDC and their dedicated VIP counselor, Mary Adelman, who E said “is just the greatest business mentor.”
E's journey offers valuable advice for aspiring queer entrepreneurs. They encourage embracing one's true self and seeking out queer mentors. Building meaningful connections, honing communication skills, and having the courage to face the highs and lows of entrepreneurship are essential. E's passion for mentoring others ensures no one takes on this journey alone.
UCEDC is currently accepting applications for the next session of the Virtual Incubator Program, sponsored by Northfield Bank, the deadline to apply is July 7th. For more information and to apply now visit: https://ucedc.com/ucedcs-virtual-incubator-program/