A cloud of anxiety was over me for about a month, for the first time I was going to be presenting my online thrift boutique DashA’veri Vintage and Thrifted Redesigns in front of all who attended the critical acclaimed Artisan Café event. Being held in City Hall’s Observation Deck, this event was expected to be huge and enjoyable, my only concern was I was putting my babies (both literally and figuratively) on stage for all to see… I speak with total transparency when I say, I was so nervous. Lol. However, the day proved that faith plus work are just like pressure busting pipes, I was beyond bursting with praise.
Saturday morning was drowning in rainy weather, I was looking out the window every thirty minutes, I was definitely about to panic thinking this was the overall day’s forecast. I can remember of all times I have ever been to Artisan Café, I could not remember a day of rain and monsoon. I just knew God wasn’t going to let me go down like that, so I digressed. Hubs was telling me that the weather predicted it would stop eventually and that it’s unproductive to trip about the weather, just “plan your pretty picnic”. Something that he stole from Andre 3000, was definitely not calming me down, but I was soothed by the idea that he tried. After getting haircuts, we finished up packing up our merchandise and displays and opted to get dressed after we finished setting up to save time and energy. Plus no one wanted to get dressed and walk through any potential bad weather before the event started.
By the time we arrived at City Hall the sun was shining bright, the rain had ceased, and the heat was slightly cooking us as we removed out things from the car. Several other vendors were packing up their things and ready to also set up shop on RVA’s City Observation deck. I was anxious and focused, immediately prepared to put the table together as soon as I arrived. I didn’t want to waste a second, in the case I needed to make further adjustments or I came across a bump in the road. I had no idea how much room I was really going to be able to utilize and I had absolutely no room in my living room to do a pre-set up ritual to plan things out. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to see in my head and just started executing that idea immediately. . A special thanks to Ashley of Styledentity (www.etsy.com/shop/Styledentity) for giving me a thumbs up on my table display. As one of the many respected vendors at Artisan Café, I appreciated her feedback so much, she is so awesome and talented.
My husband, oldest son, and sister were my “ride or die” team during what I have been affectionately calling my Super Bowl. I wanted to not only represent the brand positively, I also wanted to sell what I have been passionately working on for months. I was thrilled to have an opportunity to finally meet Daphne Maxwell Reid (http://www.daphnemaxwellreid.com/index.html) of Daphne Maxwell Reid’s “FRESH PRINTSTM“, a collection of limited edition prints, photos, cards and more. Most will know her as “Aunt Viv” of the Fresh Prince Bel Air.
The kids were there for the motivational reinforcement. No matter what happened or didn’t happen for us Saturday, I wanted a constant reminder of why I do what I do and how my actions impact them. Often times I see people get so wrapped up in the hustle and grind of being an entrepreneur/making money that they forget the little things (and people) that make their hard work so significant. My children are that inspiration for me. These little boys give me that inspiration that I crave to be the best at what I do, no matter what it is. I appreciated the hard work that was put in by my entire family, but especially my five year old son, A’veri. A’veri the pint size salesman that he is was not only able to sell the very first piece of the day (a pair of vintage earrings), he was also able to earn some unsolicited tips from clients who were impressed with his customer service skills. I was very proud at the way he socialized with our customers, retrieved bags and receipts, and as well as handing out my business cards to everyone to promote our table. In an effort to teach him responsibility, he ended up teaching me to enjoy the experience like he was apparently doing. I followed suit and just laughed and enjoyed the whole event from beginning to end.
RVA’s stylish and beautiful, entertaining, and all culture and art lovers flooded in at a consistent pace throughout the evening. We started to pick up on orders and it was non-stop from there. I was able to chat with several of my colleagues and peers, as well as make some new friends and meet some fresh faces. People from outside of Richmond were greeting me at the table, in their friendliest tones they expressed their enjoyment and pleasure shopping at our table. Ladies were complimenting the selection and the creativity. I was excited and very blessed to see the positive response from the public. I praised God right then and there, no matter what because it was He that gave me the energy and the gift to do everything. I was blessed to have my family there with me, supporting me and working right beside me. Between my beautiful sister providing her awesome customer service and ringing up orders, and my Super dope husband helping ladies with their selection, taking orders, and playing security, my job was twice as easy that I had expected. I was able to catch up with some awesome personalities and suggest certain items to people myself, thinking the whole time I pray that I can see them wearing this via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever… That’s all I need.
My clothes are quirky, nostalgic, and different when it comes to fashion. I don’t aim to select pieces that always make sense to everyone and their personal style. It takes a certain kind of woman and creative spirit to find use for any of the pieces that I’ve selected for my boutique and eventually their wardrobe, so to see so many women makes purchases was a blessing. I felt that all of those women could see the awesome style potential just like I did. Some women even requested that I do some hunting and specialty fashion shopping for them, some claiming to want to be more adventurous with their style and wardrobe. I was so down for that and gave them more information on how to make that happen.
Overall, I knew that this was going to be an experience to remember, because of my love and support for this event. However, I never imagined that this event would really provide me with a new passion for what I do and the people that I would like to connect to, on top of a very huge return on investment. This was a great opportunity for me to bring my boutique to the forefront and to allow the public to see exactly what I love. Adriane and Melody have done it again, proving that they can provide their vendors with as much information as possible, and it’s up to you to put in the effort to make it a success for you. I didn’t get an opportunity to chat it up with many of the other vendors but I did get a chance to chat with a few friendly faces, such as…
Lisa Johann of Furthermoredesigns.com (http://furthermoredesigns.tumblr.com/)
Julian Greene (https://www.facebook.com/julian.greene.94)
Melanie Modgyrl (http://modgyrlcosmetics.com/)
Nickey McMullen (https://www.facebook.com/NickeyMcMullenSoulJazz)
We worked DashA’veri up until a quarter after 10pm, even having to go back into a tote to pull out a piece that we were packing up. With sore ankles and a huge smile, we gathered our things and headed home to finally have dinner and go to bed. I was excited and exhausted, I received a new appreciation to the amount of work vendors put into each event and promoting their business. It’s no easy task, so to all of those that do it with a smile, a good attitude, and no shade to the organizers and your fellow vendors… A Huge Round of Applause! You deserve it. My 10 month old son, Dash clocked out early, which officially made A’veri employee of the month with DashA’veri Vintage and Thrift and it even earned him his favorite dinner. I spent a good amount of time dancing with A’veri and trying to work out the adrenaline that came from having two lines at one time. I felt God was really working with us, because that was something I never even fathomed before we arrived.
As we drove away, I remembered how grateful I was, thinking about the experience of selling my pieces to people from the DMV area. It was special to me and marked a milestone in my career. I thank Artisan Café for the opportunity and I can’t wait to see what develops from here… Praise God!
Please support them and contact Artisan Café via web www.artisancafeva.com, follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/artisancafeva, like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-ARTisan-Cafe-Richmond-VA/141958772567227
Every Week GaptoothDiva.com wants to feature beautiful, stylish, and marvelous people with awesome personalities. It’s our pleasure to highlight our supporters and just how incredibly unique they are. Check out the following individual and connect with them online. We’re building a community of like-minded people who want to celebrate distinctiveness and diversity. We are the Baddest Creative Motivation!
Today’s awesome style and personality belong to:
This is Nicolette but she also goes by Nikki or Nikki Billie Jean. She got the name Nikki Billie Jean from my first name “Nicolette” and from the well-known song “Billie Jean” by the King of Pop Michael Jackson.
“I decided to call myself Nikki Billie Jean because music is my first love. My dad was a DJ and I always grew up in a house surrounded by music. I also played the piano for 10 years and I also want to become a DJ.”
Music has also had big influence on her life and Michael Jackson is a huge inspiration to music.
Nikki says, “Michael Jackson is also a huge inspiration in general. He was a musical genius, broke world records and gave back to the community. He inspires me to go above and beyond.”
Nikki explains, “I love fashion. I love every aspect of it; from the clothes to photography and from runway to magazines/media. The 80s and 90s era inspires my style; everything from my childhood, to the music, to the bright colors and fashion.”
She always wears vibrant and colorful clothing. Many clothes during the 80s and 90s era had structure and shapes. Many clothes during this time were also very bright and colorful.
“I would also consider myself a fashionista because I embody fashion in and out. I love to dress up especially in vintage clothes. I love to wear clothes people do not usually see in a popular store or mall. I go by this popular quote by Yves Saint Laurent: “Fashions Fade, Style Is Eternal””
I absolutely adore her personality and her style. It all truly shines through magnificently. Anyone in love with vintage pieces is definitely someone I want on my team. Great looks Nikki, so excited to see how your dreams flourish in the future. Awesomeness!
Plain and simple, I was floored. From the beginning to the end, I was captivated and inspired. I know I throw many words out there, but speaking from the heart, Zakia Jameceye made me want to be a better woman… period. It sounds crazy, right? This woman saying that she was inspired to be a better woman by Zakia and a group of professional Female Impersonators, would probably make many of you weary as to what in the world I’m thinking. I don’t care! It’s the truth. The All Red Affair managed to take entertainment to a completely different level and I’ll explain why…
I’ve been to drag shows before, who doesn’t love Godfrey’s brunch on Sundays. Get the mimosa, honey it delicious. However, it’s so much going on during those shows between my plate and the hard-core entertainment; I’m spent just thinking about it. I enjoy it! Nevertheless, last Saturday in a hotel conference room, Zakia and her entertainment family, Nationz Pageantry Systems managed to take me from loving my femininity and myself oh so dearly, to wanting to be straight fierce, ferocious, gracefully elegant, and majestic all at the same time, every second of every day. I know they were performing, but hear me out. These entertainers, Mr. Nationz included managed to take an art form and push the envelope so far, that you have no choice but to be greater than what you are. You have to be there to understand the magnitude of what I’m saying, but allow me to paint a picture I know you’ll get…
If they can be that beautiful, that intriguing, and that spectacular on stage and they weren’t born with all of the amazing things that got them there to that point (you know what I’m saying), then what’s YOUR problem?
I thought about this deeply as I watched them cascade up and down the aisles casting spells on the audience with their glamour and fierceness, I want to be better. I want to feel better; I want to feel free and uninhibited to captivate just as much minds as they did on stage with my words. I too am a DIVA!
Now some of you may have your feelings right or wrong about female impersonators and/or drag queens, that’s your right. I support the LGBT community fully and I won’t apologize for that. This isn’t about that. What’s important is that these amazing men and women took art and inspired in the way they know best. I loved every minute of it, the crowd was drunk off excitement and support, and it was the best entertainment showcase of performances and glamour in a while. I appreciate Nationz Pageantry System for inviting me and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
They are currently looking for qualified promoters to produce official preliminaries. Visit www.nationzpageants.com to get more information.
Support their events and check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NationzPageantrySystem
Check out this preview of the evening events:
Temeka Brown is a 27 years old biracial female from Richmond Virginia. She says, “I have always wanted to model since I was a little girl was always practicing modeling to music in my room pretending like I was on a runway.” It took Temeka years for her to get the strength and the courage to try out for modeling. She admits, “I figured hey it’s never too late to start. I love working as a counselor and modeling on the side. I have no kids and want to pursue graduate school later this year.” Temeka stands “5″7″ and has been modeling for a couple of months but has done several fashion shows and photo shoots such as Ashely Stewart, Ivie Rose Boutique and DashA’veri Vintage & Thrifted Redesigns, to name a few.
Follow and Connect with Temeka Brown…
I always loved Temeka’s bubbly spirit and her humility, she is such a beautiful young lady. I can’t wait to see her continue to blossom in her ambitions and do amazing things in the future.
For more of the Baddest Creative Motivation, or to be featured on GaptoothDiva.com connect with me via Twitter @GaptoothDiva
This Thursday March 28th at 8pm, I will have the pleasure of attending a listening party for our girl, the beautiful and very talented Lela Bizz (www.LelaBizz.com) at 2 Beyond Recording Studios (3414 Semmes Ave. Richmond, Virginia 23236 – right next door to the acclaimed Antonz Barbershop & Beauty Salon)
Lela has been working diligently to drop not only an EP of songs that she has written and created herself, but also a mixtape of covers as well. I had the pleasure of asking her a few questions about her style and her music recently and I just couldn’t wait until after the event to share with you what she had to say. If you follow her on Twitter or on Facebook, Lela exemplifies a playful yet seductive style that is as bold as her performances. She always has such a bright and positive spirit every time I see her around RVA. I’m excited for her new projects expected to release, and I believe that you will be also.
I asked Lela how she would describe her personal style. She stated, “I would describe my fashion taste as classy risqué. I like to (think of) it as being daring. I love timeless pieces, I love putting things together.” That’s awesome. From her eclectic choices to her quirky/sexy selections, I can see that she is a risk taker, and we all love a bold and daring style personality.
Lela lists three things as her must haves before ever leaving the house, 1. ModGyrl lippies/ ModGyrl lipstick, 2. Scarf (She ties it as a hair bow), and finally 3. Nerdy glasses or a pair Sunglasses. I’m starting to think this is the universal uniform for all of us these days, because I literally have all that in my purse at this very moment. These are amazing choices for an amazing fashionista, for sure.
Lela doesn’t attribute her style to any favorite designers, but admits that she loves a good thrift shop.
However, when it comes to her favorite cosmetic brand, it’s no surprise that she exclaims, “I’m a ModGyrl all day!”
When asked which trends were currently her favorite now, Lela states, “I love looks from the 90′s., Mom jeans and tied up button ups blouses, and I love polka dots as well”. Lela also explains that she doesn’t necessarily hate any trends, “History repeats itself so I tend to have an open mind with fashion”, she stated.
If you are a supporter of hers on Instagram and Facebook, Lela often post many pictures of her progress through out her insanity workouts and healthy eating. Such an inspiration to young women who want to improve on their bodies and health, she advises, “Beach body workouts are the best! Insanity was the ONLY workout that I have done and seen results. I worked out before, pretty frequently, but it’s something about insanity that pushes you to new heights!” Lela also mentions that she is currently a Beach Body coach and that she goes hard for Insanity. She plans to do Chalean Extreme next. You can check her out at www.beachbodycoach.com/Bizzybfitness
So when it comes to her music, she takes it extremely seriously. I remember seeing her doing covers on Youtube back in 09, and she has only progressed since then. She was even featured on GaptoothDiva Radio back in March 2011, bringing a genuine talent that was respected and adored.
When asked how her new EP and her mixtape differ from past projects that she has worked on, she stated, “The mixtape is all covers. I have never done a mixtape with all covers before. (In addition)The EP is a collection of songs, that I feel represent exactly who Lela Bizz is! If you didn’t know who I was, The Ep would explain all of that in 7 songs.”
When asked which track does she say describes exactly where she is in her life at this moment, Lela explains “If I had to pick one… I would say, “Would’ve Known Betta “. That song speaks to me!” Therefore, who has influenced this artist throughout this whole creation process, Lela attributes Jazmine Sullivan for embodying so much emotion in her music. “I feel I really embodied my emotions in that song. I feel Jazmine does that with every song she does!”
Lela Bizz says that the people who understand her music the most are the individuals that have fell in love and fell out of it! She says that her songs are based on true events, and that what she speaks to.
So, what can we expect from Ms. Lela Bizz after this scheduled listening party March 28th ? She informed us, “I’ll be touring and promoting!” The hard work never quits and that is truly motivating.
Check out the official Lela Bizz website: www.lelabizz.com
This Saturday March 30th, I will be accompanying Zakia Jemaceye (also known as Eye2go on FB) to a few events. She has been crowned Mz. International Supermodel 2011 and 2012 & Miss Gay Richmond 2011-2012. In addition, if you inquire with her about getting your face beat and looking fabulous, she states, “I slay a set of Eye-Brows, Lashes or Faces”. I love it! I met Zakia a few years ago as she performed for an earlier showcase that was hosting back in 2009, her grace and pose makes her a force to be reckoned with and an exemplar among the Richmond LGBT community. I’m certainly excited to spend the day with her. Her amazing personality and her fierce performance skills proves that Saturday may just be more electrifying than I can anticipate.
The first event that we are attending will be all about Empowerment. The Train Yourself to Win Empowerment Seminar for Women is scheduled to go down at the Comfort Inn Midtown Jefferson Conference Room in Richmond, VA. The event is all about building self-esteem and having fun. From 10 am to 12pm, we will enjoy life coaching and making our goals count with Author Suzanne A. Roberts. To get tickets to attend, email email@example.com or call (888) 908-9043. This is an adult only event and light refreshments will be served.
Later on Saturday, we will be celebrating the launch of Nationz Pageantry System. The name derived from the local Richmond club Nations, where Zakia was crowned the last Miss Nations before they closed. She inherited the rights to the name and changed the spelling. Zakia began to market it on a national level and currently travels the county entertaining and competing in pageants on a state and national level. It has always been her dream to bring that to Virginia.
Recently, September 30, 2012 Nationz Pageantry System held their Plus division for Plus sized female impersonators and on September 28, 2013 they plan to have Mr. and Mz & Plus National Competitions. The All Red Affair is a Promotional Party to introduce Nationz Pageantry System to the world. It will be a night of Glitz and Glamour, featuring some of the most beautiful Female Impersonators and Lead Male Entertainers from all over the east coast. The Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be Fenniz Baldwyn Zakia has special guest entertainers from Washington DC and New York as well.
Doors open at 8pm with a Meet and Greet for those who have purchased early tickets from 8-8:45 then Showtime is at 9:00pm.
It is Zakia’s hope to bring to Richmond a new and improved outlook on what Female Impersonation is all about. Nationz Pageantry: The Red Affair is the official Kick off for something wonderful here in Richmond. I couldn’t be more excited for her, because I love a good show full of fierce beauty and lots of fun!
Tickets are 20.00 in advance and 25.00 at the door unless you have on Red or Accents of Red. There will be a great Buffet and DJ Robb will be spinning the music and giving the kids the old Scandal’s Pyramid feel of House and Club Music. I really hope to see you there looking beautiful and glamorous.
From Petersburg Virginia, Bernice McKenzie, wasn’t into fashionable shoes and jewelry growing up. However, after graduating from college and coming into her own, Bernice started to have a fiery eye for style, and was inspired to start her own business. She felt that individuals in the Tri-cities’ area, wore the same jewelry and fashions. Bernice noticed that nothing was unique. It appeared as if everyone was shopping at the same stores for accessories. Bernice wanted her clients to look exceptional, and she had to find jewelry that was stylish and different for diverse women.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”(Psalm 37:4)”
Founded in 2009, D’Zirable Shoes & Accessories LLC (D’Zirable) is a business that aims to keep heads turning. The D’Zirable website states that they offer you the convenience of shopping right from your computer. Customer satisfaction is their top priority and they are committed to offering you the best online shopping experience. Bernice has served customers nationally and internationally.
Although currently there are no shoes available on the site, you can still view an array of unique jewelry pieces and accessories. I must say the prices are very reasonable and the accessories look worth more than the cost, which is very convenient for our fashionistas on an extreme budget.
Bernice obviously stands on quality, in her FAQ’s she answers all your questions and/or concerns about your purchase and promises to provide excellent customer service. I think you should definitely check her out regularly, as she ensures to stay on the latest fashion trends to appeal to a large customer base. I personally love the bracelets, purses, and hats and I think you will, too.
*To have your business or brand featured on GaptoothDiva.com, contact me today.
Well, this weekend I’m headed over to Gallery 5 for The Spa Soiree brought to us by Sophi Chic LLC, who is dedicated to promoting health and beauty related businesses to new customers, while providing sophisticated chic experiences to empower and reward women. Collaborating with Sophi Chic is Jovee Co., they are gearing up to be RVA’s premier pampering party.
Spa in the City (SITC), a multi-city event is designed to bring consumers together in support of women-owned small businesses operating within the beauty and arts industries. Spa in the City (SITC) founded by Jhavon Smith assembles aestheticians, manicurists, makeup artist and stylists, as well as community vendors who specialize in a range of beauty and health services like massage therapy and nutrition. “It is an exciting event that brings together retailers and spa services all under one roof!”
Jhavon Smith says, “I have always admired women who have succeeded and failed at owning their own businesses. It is the sharing of information, and ideas/concepts that make us stronger as women and entrepreneurs. That energy is one that cannot be bottled and sold”
Spa in the City (SITC) caters to women by allowing them to indulge in services while providing an outlet to do so in a relaxing eclectic art atmosphere. SITC- Is currently scheduled to visit 5 different cities this year. Next Stop NYC- May 2013. Spa in the City has also featured in Oakland, CA, Washington, D.C, and Baltimore, MD
Here at GaptoothDiva.com, we’re pretty excited to see how amazing this event will be and to share all of the fabulousness that I catch. I hope to see you there!
The exclusive beauty event of 2013 is here! Come out, unwind, and indulge in luxurious spa treatments with your friends in Richmond’s eclectic Arts District.
“The Spa Soiree” will feature:
*FREE Beauty Product Samples
*FREE Beauty Gifts
*Deluxe Spa Treatments
*Boutique Style Shopping
*Complimentary Hors d’oeuvres
*Raffle and Door Prizes
*Fundraising for local RVA charities
*Health & Wellness Consultations and more!
Join us for an evening of relaxation and pampering, while we offer an intricate fusion of art and beauty. Get ready to experience a chic feature of today’s premiere spa and beauty businesses!
Follow me on Twitter to get LIVE updates and Instagram Pics @GaptoothDiva
This time last year I was confined to my queen size bed, legs elevated, hating everything about life. I was pregnant, but I was sick, hurting, and too emotional to be around the public. It was sad. The year before that I was preparing to get wasted out of my mind. Planning a party in my loft for any and everybody who saw the Facebook post, I bought liquor, food, and some other things wanting to give people I barely even knew the time of their life. It’s so funny, how two separate years, showed me two very different people. There was the excessive party girl who would go so hard that she couldn’t keep her eyes open. She was so reckless and so ready to give up most of the time, on one hand. On the other hand, just last year I was forced to sit back and focus on what was truly important, my children, my husband, my life. It’s not until I was FORCED to sit my tail down, did I see… how much my life was really worth. I pray that nobody ever gets to the point of being forced, but if they do, I hope that they take the time not to wish they were somewhere different, but to capture the lesson being put on them at that very moment. Glory! Because most of you don’t even realize, don’t even know… I wasn’t even supposed to be here. Therefore, I’m thanking God everyday that I could see today.
I’m celebrating my birthday and I want you to celebrate with me. This Saturday, I’m having a very chic and fabulous Day Party in Richmond, Virginia’s Shockoe Bottom. We will be at Island Bistro (1726 East Main Street) from 5pm to 9pm. This is a Networking style party dedicated to celebrating all of us making major moves in the New Year and collaborating with each other. Mingle and mix with a diverse crowd of individuals who value, love, life, art, and family. I’m giving my celebration to you. It would be nice not to work an event for a change, but to sit down and talk candidly with the people I’m inspired and motivated by.
Island Bistro (Shockoe Bottom)
1726 East Main Street Richmond, VA 23219
February 23rd, 2013 5pm -9pm
Network, Mingle, Party, and Chat w/ I’esha GaptoothDiva
Brought to you by the Queen of Marketing, Mareesa Dawn @1marketingqueen
DashA’veri Vintage and Thrifted Redesigns is having a sale! I’m giving all my supporters and friends 35% off on all items until Saturday. Despite the fact that everything is already low priced, because who doesn’t want style for practically nothing, I’m giving you a b-day gift from me. So get your daughter something, your cousin, your friend, or yourself, it’s all on sale. DashA’veri also offers delivery and pickup for those of you located in the Richmond Virginia area, so don’t worry. We will get it to you! Check out the site and buy whatever you want. New stuff every month, but this sale only last for a limited time.
I’m so excited to be 25 years old for the 3rd time. Don’t worry about the math on that, just celebrate with me. I hope to see you this weekend, but if not we have all year long to shake things up. It’s our time!
I take pride in what I do. I’m not perfect by any means, but I know I go hard and I get it in. I started this process with the intention of it being a business, so with all do respect to the hobby bloggers out there, I’m working. I enjoy going to events and mingling like the next person. Nevertheless, when I get home, a mission is in front of me that must be completed. I set my deadlines, I make my contacts, I take my photos, I edit my videos, I travel, I network, I run the GaptoothDiva show. I am not made out of a team of besties that love the limelight. I am one woman, one camera, and a plethora of words thoughts and ideas. I put sweat into this. I grind until carpel tunnel seems close to arriving in my wrist and I’ll walk five miles in heels, if it meant an inspiring story. Team no sleep, was my life years before twitter. I do this!
Therefore, when basic women attempt to make assumptions about me, as if I’m thirsty for their attention… it’s a little more than disrespectful. I’m polite, I’m courteous, and I’m considerate. I never put people on blast, despite many of you needing it. I never acknowledge nor promote negativity or scandal, although I’ve been provoked a time or two. I’m altering my lifestyle to accept more positive in my life for my family, and myself but right now, I feel the need to explain that. So why would people assume that I’m anything but that type of person, is beyond me. The tattoos, the hair color, and the outfits are all extensions of my personality but they do not define the type of woman or entrepreneur I am. I will not allow someone to tell me what my brand is to him or her, when his or her brand is just a carbon copy of someone else’s. I’m original and my works speaks for itself. Period.
Now, the truth is I love natural hair. I appreciate the styles, the beauty, and the confidence held by so many women who wear it. I relish in the intricate details it possesses and the cultural significance behind it. I think all types of hair are beautiful, not just curly large afros on women with light complexions. I think nappy TWA are gorgeous, I love a kinky Mohawk or a barely there fade or baldy. I love natural hair! Because of its extreme popularity as of late, it’s easier for me to express that and myself, to say I don’t want a weave anymore. It’s not a trend for me; it was a certified lifestyle change. Therefore, when a woman asked me on Saturday, how I got this curl pattern, I said bluntly, “God gave it to me!” I’m no product junkie. If my hair does a weird kinky curl, that’s what I consider natural hair. I’m not going crazy for the latest Miss Jackie, Miss Jessie, and Curly gel/mouse/pomade, whatever. I wash and go. That’s who I am.
I understand the need to venture on a business that is hot right now. I get making money on the latest trends and promoting the popular thing. What I don’t agree with is making something positive, into a clique. I won’t stand behind someone who will literally ostracize people that they can’t profit off of or make into a minion who is thirsty to be included.
My kids can’t eat your natural hair product samples. I can’t feed my family your FREE swag bags. I can’t pay my electric, gas, or rent with free tickets to your events. My work should be compensated. Unless, I indicated otherwise.
If you charge X amount of dollars for an event, then enlist ten people to market and promote your event (bloggers) to their audience of, let’s say one hundred people. That is ten times one hundred people (1,000 people) that you are marketing to with little to no effort, on a regular basis. Now let’s say that you charge $15 to get into your event. Now because of your bloggers (online marketers), 1,000 people show up to your event. That’s a total of $15, 000 made at the door. That doesn’t include the free stuff from sponsors, the rate you charge for vendors to sell at your event, which ranges from $100 to $500 a table. That also doesn’t include advertisers’ on your programs, etc. So out of $15, 000 made off of your online marketers, you only offer a swag bag (which everyone gets by paying the admission fee and attending anyway) and a discount on tickets to your bloggers/vloggers? Can somebody help me make sense of this? How can these individuals write a thorough review, without attending the event? Are you suggesting that your media, SEO, and marketing providers pay to go to work? I’m not suggesting that they all are paid, some people may be doing it as a hobby and just enjoy being among the people. Nevertheless, there are people who are doing it as a business. Therefore, cannot be compensated for their time energy, videos, blogs, articles, pictures, etc. in the form of shampoo and olive oil.
Now let’s pretend that you offered your bloggers/vloggers a stipend of $25. That’s 10 people being paid, which a mere $250 is coming out of $15, 000. Where I come from, that’s not a dent at all in your profits. It just goes to show that people will pay you in free stuff before they pay you for real. The free tickets and the swag bag are necessary for an adequate review, but the gas spent to get there, the batteries on your laptop, camera, and cell phone, the software used to edit, blog, and market, they are all business expenses that isn’t covered by free curly soufflé and Shea butter. I’m just being honest. Therefore, although it’s cool to be among the community of natural hair enthusiast and people who want to support and promote natural beauty, if it comes down to me being hustled. I rather not, thank you very much.
I will continue to promote positive things in the community and support beauty, fashion and culture in my own way. However, what you will see more of will be me advocating for the rights of people that may not fully understand that no matter where you are in the process, get all the facts. You may want to make a name for yourself and build up your credibility. You may just want to go to events and support on your own dime, I still do every now and then. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t just accept everything that is told to you and you should always value your time and efforts. People will claim to build you up and give you opportunities, but just like they are reading this post right now (thinking of ways to counteract the truth), do your own research. Don’t get paid in hair products. You’re worth more than that.
Love and awesomeness,
I’esha GaptoothDiva Hornes
I love thrifting, I love vintage, and I love DIY and collecting unique items. I love it so much that the Hubs had to ask me to scale back on the haul videos, because he didn’t want me to look like a hoarder with a shopping disorder, his exact words. Lol. Despite having a passion for something, I’m not going to front and pretend I wasn’t scared just a little. Now, don’t trip, because my faith is strong. Nevertheless, like anything you love and appreciate, you want to see it succeed.
Therefore, I’ve created DashA’veri, named after my two boys (and my motivations) which is a Vintage and Thrift Shop online, for the bold, creative, quirky, and fierce. I understand that I’m putting it out there and that you’ll either love it or you won’t, I just hope that the creative side in you, finds something that you want. If you don’t… we do customize and bring YOUR old items back to life as well. So regardless, you can utilize DashA’veri for all your thrifting, vintage, and creative styling needs. It doesn’t just stop with clothing, we are venturing in accessories, and home décor as well. So you can understand why I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off. So while I’m still blogging, writing, doing interviews, reviews and more, I will now have an online vintage and thrift shop for you to shop for creative and quirky pieces.
I love this, though. I can’t deny that this rush of venturing into online retail is making me feel some kind of good. It’s something about being fearless and presenting your secret love to the world to see, to judge, to critique, and/or admire that makes me feel stronger. Whether I want it or not I know some people will hate, but I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to the people who supported me, that understand that I’m trying to promote the way WE think. That everything beautiful is NOT trendy, name brand, or perfect. That fashion is a lifestyle of creativity and individuality, to be beautiful to those that can receive and understand your purpose, not the majority. DashA’veri will represent that. My online store is for those that like wearing something different. The people who enjoy feeling creatively inspired and love color, prints, funky embellishments, etc. My store is for the girl who saw that weird sweater and wanted it, just because. Moreover, the great thing is I keep it cost-effective as well, because we all are trying to make something amazing with little to no way of doing it. By making broke look chic, we throw caution to the wind and dress how we want.
Check out the video from my very first model call/shoot with photographer Amor Jay. It was awesome!
I can’t wait to debut the store to you all and I look forward to sharing new creations and items with you here, on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and everywhere else. I want you to know that your style isn’t constructed out of a bunch of rules and regulations; it’s as limitless as your creativity. DashA’veri is here to support that.
Tune in for the link and more information to come
For more of the Baddest Creative motivation, follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
Immediately upon walking into this salon, right off of Brook Rd. you get the vibe of positive energy. While the stylists work diligently to make their clientele as fabulous as possible, you can sense that these woman love creating change, in many ways. When most businesses are just trying to be accepted by the majority, very few appreciate diversity and individuality like that of The Beauty Bar, LLC. I wanted to take the time to show my appreciation of these women and their style expertise. Many people don’t give props when props are due, however after talking to the stylist at this salon, it’s apparent that is exactly what they want to do. They aim to give love and support throughout the beauty industry. Through the work that they do in the salon and with their magazine Headliners, we will see some great things coming from Beauty Bar, LLC. Their twitter is chock full of natural hair and beauty tips that their following finds beneficial, such as:
Dropping gems like these are why these women are an asset to the community, whether you’re natural or not.
I had a chance to talk to Ingrid, Tabatha, Nicole, Candace, and Kesha and the rest of the staff about their experience and what each of them brought to the table. When I asked about each of their specialties, each woman admitted that they could pretty much do it all. From Naturals, coloring, keratin treatment, short styles, curls, sew-ins, and braids, these stylist take it to another level creating styles and looks that their clients have come to appreciate. One client sitting in Nicole’s chair described her appreciation of the services that Nicole and the other staff provide, stating,
“I’m committed to coming the The Beauty Bar. I’ve followed them from their former location (The Hair Cuttery) to here and I have no plans of going anywhere. They do great work and I love it!”
Even the interns appreciate the atmosphere, one intern by the name of Jacobi who started in September, says she likes the camaraderie amongst the staff, the assistance and education that she is receiving, and the flexibility that her position offers her within the salon. Jacobi stated that her goals are to work fashion shows and photo shoots and to one day open her own salon, and because of the Beauty Bar, Jacobi is well on her way. Ingrid, Nicole, and Tabatha discussed collaborating to bring this dream into culmination. The women described having faith and stepping out into their dream to watch it grow. With all of their supporters giving them the go ahead because they saw the talent between them, it was just a matter of them believing in themselves. The advice Ingrid gives is,
“Pray, take the step. If your dreams are of God’s will and you stay focused, you can birth something amazing…. Very similar to child birth.”
They are definitely providing a service with professional products for healthy hair, that many women would love, but what touches us the most is that they want people to EXPERIENCE something much more than a hair style/beauty service. They want people to love what they do and feel like every visit is like “happy hour” with the girls. I definitely got that vibe inside the salon. Sweatpants with no makeup on, they made your girl feel like she was at home.
Now currently they are promoting their second issue of Headliners Hair Magazine (Vol. 2), where they are looking to feature some fabulous and driven hair stylist, MUA’s (Makeup Artist) and Nail Technicians. If you have the skills that pay the bills, I would strongly suggest that you check them out. They have a shoot scheduled for April 2013, so don’t procrastinate! Email for more information about Headliners Magazine at Headlinershairmag@gmail.com
Make your appointment today and get beautified and styled by any one of their amazing stylist.
The Beauty Bar
6036 Brook Rd
Richmond, VA 23227
Beauty Bar website: http://thebeautybarllc.com/
For more reviews, inspiration and motivation – follow me on twitter @GaptoothDiva
I had the awe-inspiring pleasure of meeting the co-owner of Mama J’s Kitchen, the actress and model, and the acclaimed creator of the “It’s Only (a) Natural” Documentary”, Yolanda Lee. In her beauty, classic demeanor and affirmative spirit, we discussed her choice to shave her head. We also touch on how the controversial opinions behind her decision led to a must-see documentary that will be screened here in Richmond.
Sitting with Yolanda, who has had a wonderful career in modeling and acting, now working in one of Richmond’s favorite family oriented soul food restaurants with her husband, you immediately realize it’s more than beauty. Her captivating conversation about rebelling against the norm and doing what made her happy is a revelation within itself. She expressed that she too experiences those “ugly days”, days where she doesn’t feel at her best physically and succumbs to the same insecurities that any woman would endure on a regular basis. However, it is her strength and her ability to fight through that stigma that helps her. She also jokes that despite having virtually no hair (due to her having it shaved on a frequent basis), she still experiences bad hair days. We laughed at the concept, but the reality is at least for her… it’s only natural.
I wanted to talk to her because so many women want to take that leap in the world of less stress, the world of natural hair, but that are stopped by fear. The fear isn’t from the technique of maintenance or care, but by the acceptance of the public, their peers, and ultimately men. I loathe the idea that we can’t be ourselves because of what the people who claim to love us, might think. Yolanda extinguishes that negative thinking, with her bold mane that highlights her fierceness inside and out. She faced adversity and rejection from those closest to her, but like with anything… they eventually came around. Often times people place their own insecurities, limitations, and fears upon us, when in reality they are saying “I could never be that brave or courageous.” Yolanda understood that, and it appears that her choice survived the test of time.
In the previews to her documentary, you see Yolanda having candid conversations with both men and women about hair and how hair is attached to a woman’s femininity. People have their opinions about her decision to shave her head, and she faces some obstacles in her modeling career as well. All the while going through what most average women would break from, she perseveres and vows to learn how to swim. If you are a black woman, you may understand the challenge behind swimming, water, and how we fret messing up our hairdo’s and weaves. Nevertheless, Yolanda marches on and to the beat of her own drum as she faces some rejection and some support in her plight to highlight are we are indeed attached to our tresses. Even within the natural community, some stigma is still attached to length, curl pattern, and thickness, somehow placing people further into a box in some way. Yolanda sheds light on how no matter what it’s always more important to be yourself in order to reach true happiness.
It was truly an exciting experience to sit down and talk with her. She expressed that although her title pretty much says it all, she recently learned that there are some people that honestly have no choice to be natural or not. Some people are plagued with illnesses and disease that make it difficult to grow their hair or alter it in any way. I think we both agreed that this documentary and her conversation could also be an encouragement to them as well. No matter what you decide to do with your hair, if it something that the majority isn’t doing or accepting of, you will get stares, questions, comments, and unsolicited opinions. The overall purpose isn’t to have a ready-made explanation of who, what, and why you look the way you do. The purpose is to be so confident and secure within yourself that you can handle it, regardless of where it’s coming from.
I say that an average woman couldn’t handle some of the opinions spewed at Yolanda, because it’s true. However, I always applaud women who strive for extraordinary everyday, and she definitely fits that mold. I can’t wait for the Richmond screening of “Its’ Only (a) Natural”, because I believe we all can take something positive from watching her journey unfold. Whether you are in the midst of the big chop, considering transitioning, or you’re just dealing with natural insecurities that touch us all, you should especially make it your business to check out this awesome project directed and produced by Yolanda Lee and Richard Lewis. You probably have had a chance to check out the restaurant and love their soul food, now it’s an opportunity to get a glimpse into her perspective and learn to love the soul that is… only a natural.
It’s Only (a) Natural Preview:
It’s Only (a) Natural Preview Part 2:
Support Yolanda Documentary: http://igg.me/p/295568/x/1895918
Like the FB fan page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Its-Only-a-Natural/212932615384968
I’m so happy to announce that I have been selected to be a Badged Blogger for RVA Fashion Week. My love for Richmond Virginia, fashion, and creativity are all blossoming into opportunities that I can’t wait to dive into immediately. I appreciate all of the support and accolades that I’ve received, because without certain individuals recognizing my talent and my goal for this movement, it wouldn’t have been possible. GaptoothDiva.com had been an ever-changing concept, with lessons and obstacles that I never regret. I’m learning as I go along, and my intention is to be a service to those people who felt like I did a few years ago, “Where can I find people like myself?”
When your style is so different, when you neglect the safe route and choose to do what makes you feel “normal”, then it becomes difficult for you to put yourself out there. I get that and I hope that from here on out, you feel welcomed enough to join me on my journey as I tap into my own style and that of some of the phenomenal people I meet everyday.
With this blogging collaboration, I plan to convey a message that is parallel to RVA Fashion Week. I also want to shed light on an eccentric and nontraditional territory of fashion and culture in our city and around. “The mission of Richmond Fashion Week is to:
- RVA Fashion Week website (www.rvafashionweek.com)
I look forward to giving you more of what I love and I can’t wait to report on the events, styles, and amazing people I plan to connect with because of this new opportunity. I want to thank all of you again for your support. Let’s Work!
Check out the RVA Fashion Week website and connect with them on twitter.
Follow them on Twitter: @rvafashionweek
- I’esha “GaptoothDiva” Hornes
I share my journey with my natural hair for a little over a year, where I used my hair as an accessory. I share this video because so many women that I talk to expressed that their beauty and their worth is in their length and style. I wanted to highlight that hair grows back, it falls out, and sometimes it can get damaged. Therefore, we must find our beauty and our worth from within.
Thanks for watching!
Please Rate and Subscribe
Follow me on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/GaptoothDiva
My personal style blog: FYourStyle – http://www.fyourstyle.tumblr.com
I’m back it again giving love and appreciate to all our artisans, crafters, and designers out there aiming to make the world a more beautiful place. Thanks to connections, I had the pleasure of meeting Rayann Young of Youngs Crochet and Fashion Boutique. YCAF brand was founded in June of 2009, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. After watching her grind for a while, I can easily see that she is a natural talent. Teaming up with her mother, they make some funky and beautiful fashions that convey power and appreciation for oneself. From crochet pieces, graphic tees and accessories, there is something for everyone looking for a distinctive item to call their own.
Their slogan is “You name it, we crochet it!” which also adds to their repertoire of exclusiveness, as it suggests that you can contact them for customized creations as well.
I had the opportunity to ask Rayann some questions about her experience and the YCAF brand. With her answers, I know that you’ll be motivated and inspired.
I asked her, who or what would attribute her passion for creating and crafting? She stated, “My mom has been a huge influence on my crafting. As a child, our family bonding (time) consisted of crafting, cooking, braiding hair, etc. She is a huge DIY mom, and we loved spending time with one another. Most of the paintings in our home were hand-painted, all the way down to our picture frames and tablecloths. Also, the support I receive from my clients keeps me going. Keeping my clients happy and satisfied is my greatest motivation.”
So at what point did she realize this was a business? Rayann says, “Approximately 3 days after opening our online Etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop/YCAF) we received our 1st sale. A custom order for a beanie and scarf set. At a time when most crafters were struggling to make their first sale, our shop was thriving, receiving tons of positive feedback, and custom orders. Looking back, I’m a little embarrassed by our first sale. Our client wanted a mixture of green and yellow in her scarf & hat set with a bit of glitter. I don’t think we had business cards made or pretty packaging to package her order at the time, as it was just a hobby. Nevertheless, long behold she was beyond satisfied, and let just say she is a frequent client now” It goes to show that all it takes is that first time, whether good or bad to know if what you’re doing is going to grow and prosper. That must have been exciting.
No matter what we decide to do in life, there will always be some bridges to cross and hurdles to overcome. I inquired, were there any obstacles (external and internal) that YCAF had to face? Rayann replied, “Internally, starting a business at age 15 is an obstacle in itself. Adults find it hard to take you seriously. I was turned down by a few bloggers and reviewers because of my age. It was very frustrating and discouraged me. At a time in which I needed the most encouragement and constructive criticism people were turning me down left and right. I didn’t fully understand why at the time, but I have learned the importance of professionalism with bloggers and reviewers. I appreciate the “no’s” now more than ever because I doubt that I would have been able to handle/balance out both the positive and negative criticism at such a young age.” Age is nothing but a number, and this girl’s hustle proves that. So while, many of you think you may be too young, too old, too ghetto, or whatever… stop! You’ll only hinder yourself in the end.
Rayann also mentioned, “Externally, we participated in a fashion show featuring our crocheted garments, I quickly realized how strenuous crocheting can be on the body in the long run. I had about 2 months to come up with 12 designs and an outfit for my CEO-mom and me. It was very time consuming and took a toll on my wrists. However, I had deadlines to meet and I love my craft. Recently I have launched our natural boss lady collection which consists of crewnecks, t-shirts, snapbacks and iphone cases. This allows me to not only express my artistic abilities with drawing/graphics and such but also make time for marketing and promotion.”
So with all the work that Rayann puts into her designs, what were the biggest lesson that she learned so far that have either hindered or helped YCAF? Rayann answered, “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is the importance of patience and determination. When we launched YCAF I had so many goals and dreams for our brand. I wanted to participate in every opportunity that was offered to me. I was a “champ” at determination! But…. I lacked patience. Things would all work out in its own timing. I had to learn that not every offer is an “opportunity”, sometimes you just have to say no, as there will always be many more opportunities to come in the future. After the failure of our first craft show, we received a lot of encouragement and success with our second show “Fall Fro Fashion Week in Atlanta, GA., Everything came together with patience, timing and determination”. I can definitely appreciate that type of honesty. Things do not always work out in the beginning. However, realizing when you have failed and getting up to start again, is what sets successful people apart from everyone else.
So Rayann, what sort of advice would you give to a up and coming artisan, such as yourself? Rayann humbly explains, “Running a handmade business is a lot of work, you are dealing with clients directly, crafting each item, packaging each item, booking shows, booking models and much more. However, if you are truly passionate in your craft you will be willing to put forth the extra hours & hard work. At the end of the day, you are your own boss, which can definitely be the greatest gift!”
“Set goals for yourself and keep track of your progress, whether it is via Youtube videos, or blogging. Write things down. You will experience some days, maybe even months where there will be little to no business at all, but when you are able to look back at where you started, it’s the most rewarding feeling ever. Last but not least. Step out of your comfort zone, know who you are as a person and be willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.”
Rayann says that one of her favorite quotes from motivational speaker, Eric Thomas is as follows: “At some point in life you have to face your fears, head on, even though you can’t be sure of the outcome. A great deal of people will never reach their dreams and it won’t have anything to do with their ability or skill set. They won’t reach their dreams because they were too afraid to try.”
At Youngs Crochet & Fashion, they believe in high quality, material and satisfaction of their customers. That is exactly what we want to hear from our artisans.
To support Rayann and YCAF, check out their Etsy shop and get your fashion pieces now at http://www.etsy.com/shop/YCAF
Also, follow and support Rayann Young on Twitter and Youtube,
and Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/Rayann410