Stacey A. Walker is an entrepreneur slaying small business challenges every single day. She’s also a full-time mom using flexibility and ingenuity to keep both her business and family thriving.
Walker founded Alamode Apps Agency and Tech Solutions, in September 2020, just a few months after being furloughed from an IT developer career in the middle of the pandemic. She saw the furlough as a silver-lining opportunity for change. “I thought, this is my time, my moment to add value to our society,” she says.
Walker’s business idea sparked when she first approached a few companies about app development. Every place had steep pricing and limited services. “No one was offering the complete package at an affordable price. I thought, I have the tech background. I can do this myself.”
Her determination paid off. In less than half a year, Alamode--a french word for the most modern style or fashion--has flourished into a full service app business. Clients bring their app idea, and Alamode creates the complete mobile application, provides hosting, maintenance, support, security, and even helps with marketing and branding roll out. Walker taps her connections in the tech arena to give clients the whole package. “It’s why I included Tech Solutions in the business name. We have partnered with tech experts and have the resources at our hands to execute any tech project.”
Alamode’s official website went live in February, after an intense development sprint that included Walker acquiring a business partner. They met through Clubhouse, a social network site that helped Walker access the tech-startup and VC world. This new partnership brought the collaborative power of two like-minded brains along with the benefits of outside support. “Combining resources and leveraging new connections has helped us launch quicker,” Walker says.
Building a business at such a fast pace has been a challenge, especially while overseeing remote-learning for her youngest son, 7 year-old RJ. But Walker sees this pandemic constraint as yet another positive. “It’s been a struggle, but it’s also allowed for a little more flexibility.” Not bound to school drop-off and pick-up times, she’s been able to juggle RJ’s studies with her work schedule. Walker also delegates when necessary; her older son and daughter, Justin and Jasmine, help out with RJ and even assist with Alamode’s social media and communications.
Being a mom entrepreneur has given Walker insights and skills to run a better business. Raising three kids with distinct personalities has taught her how to work with a diverse range of people. “I have a whole lot of patience and I give the benefit of the doubt. You can’t treat every business partner or client the same. You have to learn who that person is and how they think. I work with them based on this, not on preset expectations.”
Walker’s open mindset also comes from years of working in the male-dominated tech realm, where she had to navigate prejudices against her gender. “I’ve been treated unfairly at times,” she says and guesses the reason could be threefold: she’s Black, she’s a woman, and she’s young. She recalls meetings where it was assumed she didn’t have the tech knowledge required to solve a critical problem. “I’ve had to say, ‘I know what you’re talking about. Don’t hold back what you share with me.’ I keep it professional and have built up a thick skin when I’m looked at differently.”
Since launching Alamode, Walker has discovered a growing network of women tech entrepreneurs looking to support each other. From connections made on Clubhouse, to invitations to join all-women groups and participate in women-in-tech conferences, Walker knows the importance of these female entrepreneur relationships. “I’m excited about teaming up, collaborating, and adding value to one another.”
She’s finding a place in her local Detroit entrepreneur community as well. Born, raised, and educated there, Walker believes in giving back to the place that gave her so many opportunities. “Being a part of the Detroit community means a lot. I’ve come full circle from being served to giving service.” Her hope is that Alamode will help local small businesses navigate the forever-progressing age of technology.
The pandemic has only accelerated the need for tech, especially for the mom-and-pop businesses in her hometown. “We all have to be more agile now and in a better position technologically.” Walker predicts that every small business will shift away from websites and towards mobile apps in the near future. “Functionality wise, you can drive all your business transactions in one place and increase profitability. Push notifications allow small business owners to interact directly with customers. Mobile apps will be the new-age business card.”
We’ll be checking back in with Stacey A. Walker this summer to see how Alamode Apps Agency and Tech Solutions is progressing during its first year in business.
Follow Walker on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about her mobile app company.