Alumna and her family create outdoor camping experience company for African American individuals
Alumna Shequeita Orr Frazier (’04 management and marketing) recently launched her own entrepreneurial outdoor adventure initiative with her husband. As the primary marketer for the initiative, Frazier is well-equipped for this new role after close to two decades of buying, planning and business development for top brands, including Target, Nike, Vera Bradley and Saks Off 5th.
Focusing on outdoor adventures, Shequeita, her husband, Rashad, and her brother-in-law, Ron, created Camp Yoshi in 2020. Shequeita and Rashad Frazier are parents of two small children, Ellis, 6, and Zora, 2. During the pandemic and in the wake of everything happening with racial injustice in the U.S., they decided to go camping as a family in Glacier National Park in Montana. Rashad’s brother and children joined the fun, and we were all able to peacefully unplug.
The camping trip “was everything I didn’t know I needed,” she said. “I truly understood on day one what my husband and his brother had tapped into — a true sense of healing and peace in such a time of unrest and chaos all around us.”
When the families later shared their photos from their camping adventures, their family and friends on social media voiced concerns about safety, especially for African Americans in the outdoors.
“We knew what our family and friends were referring to… the generations of trauma and fear associated with the ‘woods’ in the Black community, the chaos happening in real time all around us with the police killings of Black people,” Frazier said. “However, we found our rhythm, our healing, our place of release, and we wanted to help others discover theirs. So, Camp Yoshi was born.”
Camp Yoshi is an adventure tour company focused on getting African American people and their allies outside. Their multi-day adventures pair gourmet cooking with wilderness experiences and excursions. Frazier’s husband is a gourmet chef and prepares all the meals during the trips with elaborate camp stoves.
“Our goal is to encourage Black people to get outside, off the grid and feel a sense of belonging and comfort with getting out to remote places,” she said. “We want to equip them with the tools to make this a lifelong endeavor for themselves and their families.”
The Fraziers took in 2020 one test run for Camp Yoshi, which she described as “wildly successful.” Despite the uncertainty of the continued pandemic in 2021, they offered five wilderness excursions when they officially launched their brand in November 2020. She said they sold out all the spots within eight weeks.
Looking ahead to 2022, they are planning to offer 22 Camp Yoshi trips, including their current adventures to Moab, Utah, Telluride, Colorado, and central Oregon. The new routes include the California desert and northern Arizona.
While Frazier is a co-founder of Camp Yoshi with her husband and brother-in-law, she says her primary focus is on Camp Yoshi marketing, branding and partnerships; soon, they’ll also launch a commemorative capsule collection of apparel items to honor Camp Yoshi’s inaugural year.
She balances Camp Yoshi with her family and a demanding career of her own. Frazier is currently the senior director of enterprise space for Target Corporation and a part-time instructor for the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising’s merchandising and marketing department. Previously, she has held director-level positions with Nike, Vera Bradley and Saks Off 5th.
Her current team with Target uses data and analytics to define program and assortment space decisions, which drive multi-billion dollars of incremental growth for the company.
“In leading the enterprise space team at Target, the main objective is to build an industry-leading store experience for our guests, leveraging data and insights to bring Target’s products to life,” Frazier said.
Frazier credits the Moore School with teaching her how to do “the art of storytelling with data.” In one of her marketing classes her junior year, she had to create and present a marketing proposal for an existing product or service to her class.
Working at a makeup counter for a department store at the time, Frazier was passionate about makeup and skin care, so she decided to focus her presentation on Clinique’s three-step skincare system.
Noting that many of her peers in her residence halls had the popular “unforgettable bottle of yellow face lotion,” Frazier said the project “helped me appreciate how to use data to tell compelling, persuasive stories…It was one of the most exciting classes during my time at the Moore School, and unanimously, the class voted my presentation as the most compelling…In the days following the project, a few classmates stopped by the makeup counter asking for Clinique products!”
As a team leader for multiple brands, Frazier also points to learning leadership skills and how to successfully work in teams as major skills she acquired at the Moore School during group projects.
“I learned the value of motivating, leading and influencing a team. I learned invaluable skills within time management and being able to quickly identify people’s passions and skills so that I could delegate in an effective manner,” she said.
“I cannot think of one time in my career where I haven’t had to lead a team through a project or strategy. Gaining the experience to do this at the Moore School really helped me establish some fundamental knowledge about the roles we play within teams and how those roles play a part in establishing our leadership voice.”
While Frazier is a force in her professional roles, she also has her young family and Camp Yoshi to keep her busy. Like the lessons she’s learned in teamwork, she said she also has come to understand that finding time “to balance it all” is a myth.
“The times in which I tried to incorporate a balanced professional and personal life left me feeling overwhelmed and honestly unaccomplished,” she admits. “I remember coming across a quote many years ago that serves as a reminder for me to schedule my priorities, rather than prioritizing my schedule. I quickly aligned myself to focus on my priorities. My priorities look different daily, weekly, monthly.”
Her sense of harmony in making time for the things that matter illustrate how she is able to continue building momentum in her career while also caring for her family and promoting the burgeoning Camp Yoshi vision.