How Mother/Hustler Tabia Charles-Collins Went From Laid Off To Launching Her Own Clothing Brand
In xoNecole's new series Mother/Hustler, we sit down with influential mom bosses who open up about the ups and downs of motherhood, as well as how they kill it in their respective industries, all while keeping their sanity and being intentional about self-care.
Tabia Charles-Collins is a former Olympic athlete, a NCAA Champion, a University of Miami Hall of Famer, a mentor, a business owner, and a wife. But 15 months ago, she added the most important title to the list of hats that she wears on a day-to-day basis: mother.
Growing up, Tabia trained extensively to become an athlete and her hard work paid off in the form of a number of scholarships to pursue her career in track and field in college. In 2006, Tabia attended the University of Miami as a student-athlete and received a degree in Psychology after only three years. The following year, she was chosen to compete professionally for Nike and Team Canada in the 2008 summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. But shortly after, she got injured, permanently deferring her dreams of one day becoming a star athlete.
Forced to choose a new path for her life, the former athlete returned to school and received her master's degree but was constantly reminded of a passion that had been previously overshadowed by her athletic career. As a child, the only thing Tabia loved more than track and field was fashion, and she used her newfound time and energy to master her hidden affinity for design.
Inspired by bold colors and prints, Anisah by Tabia Charles was born and lit a fire in the young entrepreneur that would be impossible to extinguish.
Courtesy of Tabia Charles-Collins
After years of committing to the corporate grind, the Toronto born entrepreneur married her childhood sweetheart and assumed the role of bonus mom to a son, but Tabia learned quickly that her life would dramatically shift after giving birth to her first child. While on maternity leave, her ambitions to become a business owner that were mere whispers before became louder and she knew it was time to step out on faith.
She told xoNecole, "I was working as a project manager in the pharma/health department for a company called Cognizant, a consulting and IT firm. I had just came back to work from maternity leave and after four months I was laid off. To be honest, after I was laid off, I laughed to myself and said never again will I give an organization that much power over me. "
Tabia translated the same drive and discipline that she learned in her athletic career to her work ethic as a business owner and developed a thriving full-time business as a clothing designer.
Courtesy of Tabia Charles-Collins
As a wife, entrepreneur and mom to a one-year-old son, every day hasn't been easy, but according to this smooth Mother/Hustler, every moment is worth it. To Tabia, what should have felt like rejection was actually an omen that it was time to finally answer her true calling.
"I knew at that very moment that I wanted to create my own security and freedom and it was time to take a real chance on myself. If I am going to put my all into something, I want it to be for myself and my own goals. This is the first time I have been able to go full force on my business venture. Don't get me wrong, it's not easy by any means but it feels worth it."
Tabia sat down with xoNecole and opened up about how she manages to balance motherhood and entrepreneurship all while remembering to stay up on her self-care:
How do you handle moments when you feel overwhelmed?
When I'm overwhelmed, I do a lot of self-talk. I tell myself everything is going to be OK and this feeling is just temporary. I then start to prioritize what's important.
What’s the hardest part of your day?
The hardest part of my day is balancing the energy and needs of my 15-month-old while trying to get a million and one things done with my fashion business. It's also important for me to have meals prepared for my family, so adding that into the equation while still balancing the work I do for the track club I'm associated with often gets me super overwhelmed. I'm constantly balancing so many duties but I am thankful I have full support from [my] parents during the day.
How (and how often) do you practice self-care?
Self-care is so HUGE for me! I get two massages a month [and] I go on vacations regularly in order to get away from the hustle of everyday life. I take about three to four getaways a year. Self-care is part of my regular routine. Whether it includes downtime with my family and friends, getting away alone, massages and pedicures, I always fit it in.
Courtesy of Tabia Charles-Collins
"Self-care is part of my regular routine. Whether it includes downtime with my family and friends, getting away alone, massages and pedicures, I always fit it in."
When do you feel most productive?
I feel most productive in the mornings and late at night. Once everyone goes to sleep, my phone isn't going off like crazy and it's just me by myself on the couch, I get so much done! There are times I'm up from 9 P.M. to 2 A.M. getting the most amount of work done.
What is your favorite way to spend “me” time?
I really enjoy spending "me" time in my home, drinking a glass of my favorite wine, watching movies or my favorite series. During that time I also have time to reflect and be with my thoughts.
What is your advice for dealing with mom guilt?
To be very honest, I don't typically suffer from mom guilt. However, the days that I'm literally working all day and my son is at my parent's house or home with my husband, I remind myself that he is going to realize what a hustler his mom was and he will aspire to be the same. He is going to benefit from my hustle and the results that come from it. More than anything I want my son to have an abundance of opportunities. The work I'm putting in now, the long hours, the risks, the time away from him, the long adventures I sometimes take him on when I need to get things done... are all going to be worth it, especially for him.
Courtesy of Tabia Charles-Collins
"I remind myself that he is going to realize what a hustler his mom was and he will aspire to be the same. He is going to benefit from my hustle and the results that come from it. More than anything I want my son to have an abundance of opportunities."
What is the most important lesson you want your kid(s) to learn from you?
I want them to learn that they create their own destiny. ANYTHING they want out of life they can get it, as long as they are willing to put the work in. I want to be living proof that whatever I went after I was able to achieve.
Why was it important to you to be an entrepreneur even though some people may think that a 9 to 5 offers more stability?
A 9 to 5 does offer stability to a certain extent, but the idea of working hard to fulfill someone else's goals doesn't sit well with me. If I'm going to pull all-nighters to get work done and complete deadlines, I want it to be for my own businesses goals. The happiness I get from working on my own brand is something I can't get from working for someone else. I want to create a business model for myself that I can have flexibility and freedom to spend time with family, [and] continue traveling the world while still achieving my business goals.
How has being a mother helped you become a better entrepreneur, or vice versa?
Being a mother definitely makes things slightly more challenging especially during the infancy stage of my business, but it's all taught me patience as well as time management which are two very important things in becoming a successful entrepreneur.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a mom who runs a business?
The biggest challenge is not being able to just get up and go get things done. I can't just jump on my laptop and send emails or run out of the house to meet up with people. I've gotta get my son ready, make sure he's fed, bags are packed, and then I can be on my way. I'm learning better time management so that I'm not losing too much time in getting things done.
What advice do you have for moms who are looking to start their business but haven’t taken a step out on faith yet?
Just do it! There's never a better time because if you keep on waiting you're going to keep finding excuses as to why you need to keep putting it off. More than anything, you owe it to your children to go after your goals and dreams. How do you tell your kids to go after their dreams if you didn't?
Courtesy of Tabia Charles-Collins
"More than anything, you owe it to your children to go after your goals and dreams. How do you tell your kids to go after their dreams if you didn't?"
Do you think it’s important to keep your personal and professional life separate? Why or why not?
Well, to be honest, I guess it depends on your line of business. There's a lot of crossover in my business and personal life and it works for me. I want to be as authentic as I can in my personal life so that people can truly know the person behind the brand.
What advice do you have when it comes to time management as a mogul mommy?
Time management is key! Get a scheduler and a notebook to write EVERYTHING down. As moms, we are so busy balancing the daily tasks necessary to raise our children, that we often forget about the other priorities we have (i.e. meetings, appointments, deadlines). I often times post up sticky notes with important information that I need to remember. Another important thing I will advise is not to take on too much. I'm learning now it's OK to say, "No, not right now." We can't spread ourselves too thin. We need to leave some time aside for ourselves.
What tips do you have for financial planning, both professionally and for your family?
Financial planning is something I'm getting much better at. It is so important to ensure that my children have a savings account, education plan, and life insurance. Also, it's important that my husband and I have funds that we can dip into if anything important comes up. It's not always easy putting money aside when you're investing into your business while still paying mortgage, bills etc, but we gotta have funds for emergencies and enough funds to be able to put our children in extracurricular activities. Even if you can only put away $10 a week, do it! You gotta start somewhere.
You can keep up with Tabia on Instagram and check out all of the dope pieces from Anisah by Tabia Charleshere!
Featured image courtesy of Tabia Charles-Collins.
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
When it comes to healthy hair care, there are a few things that will help you achieve healthy strands: a healthy hair care regime, hydration, consistent treatments, and scalp care. While scalp care is one of the most neglected practices, it is also one of the most important. Why? Because it helps promote healthy hair growth, clear hair follicles, and remove build-up.
When it comes to creating a healthy scalp routine, it helps to know exactly what you’re up against so you know how to specifically treat it. Two of the most common concerns are dandruff and dry scalp. It can be tough to decipher which is which, but here’s a quick breakdown: dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, while dandruff is caused by an excess of oil and yeast buildup on the scalp. Knowing that both of these are big concerns, SheaMoisture released two separate product lines to address both issues: the Scalp Moisture collection and the Anti-Dandruff collection.
Needless to say, if you tend to experience dandruff then I’d recommend you try the Anti-Dandruff collection. However, my biggest concern has always been dry scalp. A lack of moisture on the scalp can be caused by several factors like weather, age, and hair products to name a few. I’ve noticed that when I use certain gels or skip out on a deep scalp cleanse, my roots feel itchy and dry nonstop, which is uncomfortable.
The only way to relieve the discomfort is to properly wash and moisturize my roots, so I tried the Scalp Moisture collection and this is what I thought.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
First, What’s In The Collection?
The Scalp Moisture collection is a four-product line that includes a pre-wash masque, a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a moisturizing scalp cream. Each product uses moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like aloe butter and vitamin B3 as active ingredients to provide eight times the moisture. Together, aloe butter and vitamin B3 work to restore dry and brittle hair, as well as add relief to the scalp.
Now, let’s break down each product…
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque may actually be the all-star of the collection. Using this deep conditioning masque is one of the best ways to target your dry scalp, restore hydration, and nourish your strands before shampooing.
I started by completely saturating my hair and scalp with water, then making small sections to apply the masque directly to the root. For my girls who have experience with relaxers and perms, it helps to apply the masque to your roots just like you would do with a relaxer. This way you can make sure you’ve covered as much of your scalp as possible while minimizing any breakage.
Pro tip: you can also use a color application brush to make this step easier.
After I completely covered my scalp, I massaged the product into my roots, used any excess on my strands, then left the masque in for 30 minutes. I was shocked by how moisturizing and clarifying my scalp and hair felt. One of the things that I love about the masque is the slip and how much softer it made my hair. While this is marketed as a scalp care product, it can completely transform your hair from dry and parched to completely hydrated.
In my opinion, the downside of this masque is that the quantity is too small for my liking. Truth be told, naturals go through deep conditioners faster than any other product (especially when it’s this good.) So SheaMoisture, if you’re reading this, we’d love a bigger jar.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Shampoo
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Shampoo is a gentle cleanser packed with the same moisture as the masque. The pearl-colored shampoo is lightweight with a serum-like consistency and a light and clean scent. The smell is pleasant, subtle, and not overbearing. When I applied the shampoo, I noticed immediately that it foams and lathers up very quickly, so less is more.
After applying the shampoo, I parted my hair and started at the roots to target as much of my scalp as possible. I recommend really taking the time to work the product and massage your scalp as much as possible.
Pro tip: using a scalp massager makes it easier and it feels amazing.
Once you start to massage your hair you’ll feel the product start to work. There’s a tingling sensation that might catch you off guard if you’re not used to it, but it’s not nearly as strong as other scalp products I’ve tried. I know some may not appreciate the sensation, but I loved it! My scalp felt clean, light, and breathable.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Conditioner
Like the shampoo, the SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Conditioner shares that pearly color and serum-like feel. It applies very easily while softening and moisturizing your hair. When I applied it to my hand, it gave my hands a lotion-like feel, which speaks volumes about its hydration capabilities. I also loved that the conditioner comes with a pump, instead of having to squeeze the product out – to me, it makes application easier.
I typically apply my conditioner to the ends first but because this is a scalp care product I started at the root and worked my way down to my ends. I did leave the conditioner in for ten minutes, although the bottle recommends leaving it in for three. The conditioner also provides that same breathable feel to your scalp. I honestly loved the relief.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Cream
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Cream is more of a daily relief product for your roots rather than your overall hair. It’s great for providing moisture and immediate relief to a dry and itchy scalp. Just like most of the collection, it gives a light and breathable feel – without the tingle. The applicator bottle targets specific parts of your scalp and makes applying easier.
Pro tip: I typically just squeeze the bottle to wherever I need the relief and use the tip to massage it into my scalp so it doesn’t mess up the hairstyle.
Overall, SheaMoisture’s scalp care line lives up to its claims – it moisturizes, strengthens, and provides immediate scalp relief. I definitely recommend trying the Scalp Moisture collection for an affordable way to treat itchy and dry scalp.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
I believe I’ve shared before that whenever someone tells me that they’re getting married, the first thing that I will say isn’t “congrats.” Nah, the counselor in me automatically goes to “Why?” And why is that? Basically, it’s because you’d be amazed how many people haven’t thought about it beyond they love someone and/or they’re tired of being alone and/or he asked, and/or their clock is ticking. And I mean that literally.
Listen, I don’t want to spend a ton of time in the intro addressing the fact that “knowing your why” is the one-millionth reason why you should get yourself into some pretty thorough premarital counseling prior to jumping anybody’s broom. That said, if you’re engaged, let me do you a solid by providing a link (here) to 200 random questions that you and your fiancé should ask each other beforehand.
Because as you’re about to see, thanks to the insightfulness and candidness of the 12 Black wives, no matter how much you love a person, in order to keep a marriage going long, strong, and healthy as possible, it requires a lot — and I do mean A LOT — more than emotional sentiments. And the more that you’re prepared on the front end? Sis, the far better. I can guarantee you that.
That said, here is what some wives (middle or maiden names were used) told me they wished they either knew or took more seriously before saying, “I do.”
1. Naima. 27. Married Two Years.
“I wish I knew how much I would grieve my single life. Don’t get me wrong, I truly love my husband, and marriage has some strong perks, but there are certain things about being single that are incomparable: sleeping on your entire bed, doing whatever whenever without running it by someone else, not having to compromise holidays due to extended family members, making purchases whenever I feel like it, talking to my girls all hours of the night, changing my mind on a whim without worrying if I’m going to piss somebody off — yeah, those were the days. If you are single, don’t let anyone tell you that marriage is better. Nah, marriage is just…different.”
2. Rowan. 33. Married Five Years.
“Don’t make light of differing spiritual views. I do data research for a living, so I know that interfaith marriages are on the rise, but I’m here to tell you that it can make your life complicated in ways that you wouldn’t expect — even when you and your husband are the same religion but a different denomination. It can cause issues when it comes to ‘simple’ things like where to go to church to bigger things like how you interpret Scripture, your approach to certain holidays, and definitely child-rearing. I’m not saying don’t do it; all I’m saying is don’t make light of it. It’s bigger than you probably think.”
3. Wilson (Maiden Name). 40. Married 12 Years.
“I wish I realized how much how you live your life was such a big deal. Something as simple as how he loads the dishwasher vs. how you do it can cause you to want to divorce a ninja after about six months, and I’m not exaggerating."
"Marriage isn’t just about loving someone; it’s about doing life with another person for a really long time. Hell, even if you stay together for only 10 years, 10 years of the bed not being made a certain way or the tub not being cleaned in the way that you like, it is low-key Chinese water torture. Definitely discuss daily life things and your approach to them. If more did, they would probably stay out of divorce court.”
4. Rayhel. 25. Married Six Months.
“Sex changes after marriage. I’ve only been married for a few months, and I’ve noticed this. When you live with someone, and you learn more than you ever have, it can take a while to adjust, so that sex can stay sexy. The intimacy level gets better, it's just that…s-it gets real after saying ‘I do.’ Just doing his laundry and him adjusting to your period alone. Whew."
5. Anderson (Maiden Name). 30. Married Four Years.
“Mood swings. Look, they always talk about how we have them, and we do, but men can be moody as hell too. And it’s really bad when both of you are ‘feeling some type of way’ at the same time. When we’ve got an attitude, we will want to talk. When men do, they will give you the silent treatment. All that does is trigger us — and now everybody is BIG mad. You know how they say that the first few months of dating, you are dating the representative? It’s more like it’s not until you come home from your honeymoon that you both ‘loosen your belt’ and let it all hang out — nastiness and all. Be prepared for that.”
6. Kolette. 35. Married Five Years.
“Discuss priorities. As many as possible. When does he want to have kids vs. when you do? How much does he like to have sex vs. how much you do? Which holiday is a bigger deal to him than you? Who prefers to decorate the house vs. who prefers to travel this year? It’s unrealistic to think that just because someone loves you that they’re going to automatically think that what you think is important is important. My husband and I communicate ‘order of importance’ about things on a weekly basis. It has made things a lot easier because our first year was something else.”
7. Vella. 46. Married 17 Years.
“Dr. Myles Munroe used to talk often about how men don’t just want sex, they need it. When you’re married to a Black man, don’t underestimate that because it’s hard enough for them out here. When they come home and want to be with you — the affection, the vulnerability, the acceptance and feeling desired, the intimacy, the stress release…all of these things are paramount for them. Singles are so recreational about sex that when they get married, they can become really self-centered and almost rude with their partner in the bedroom. If you don’t want to prioritize sex on a consistent basis, stay single, where all you have to concern yourself with is yourself.”
8. Aria. 42. Married One Year.
“It might sound weird, but how you define ‘Blackness’ is a big one. It affects how you see things politically, religiously, and even down when it comes to things like what you watch on television or how you approach style and fashion."
"For instance, my man hates reality television because he thinks that a lot of it is anti-Black while I just think it’s entertaining, and he definitely prefers when I wear my natural hair as opposed to wigs. It’s not that big of a deal, but for some women, it could be. Just don’t assume that because the both of you say that you’re ‘pro-Black’ that you’re exactly on the same page about it.”
9. Tabitha. 29. Married Three Years.
“Marriage requires you to grow TF up! Your husband is someone who holds you accountable to your s-it on a daily basis, and honestly, that can get annoying as hell. When you’re single, you can deal with people when you feel like it, and when you know that you’re showing out, being ridiculous, or acting immature, you can just go home and shut your phone off. Hmph. Lucky you because, when I come home, if I’m acting crazy, someone is calling me out on it with the quickness. My husband and I talk about the fact that nothing will mature you like marriage does because it’s like you’ve got a hall monitor who you sleep with living with you 24/7. Someone shoulda prepared me for that damn s-it. S-it.”
10. Davis (Maiden Name). 30. Married Eight Months.
“I wish I had known how much my boundaries were going to have to change after marriage. In just a short amount of time, I’ve realized that if I want my relationship to go the distance, I’ve gotta watch who I say what to. Some single women are jealous. Some family members are bitter. Some church ladies don’t have a clue. Just make sure that you get the right opinions because you don’t want so many voices in your head that you can’t hear your own or the one who you’re actually married to.”
11. Haven. 35. Married Nine Years.
“I wish I knew about how much our purposes needed to be aligned — not that we needed to be in the same fields but that they needed to complement each other. I am a visual artist, and everything from my working random hours, sometimes touring, and income being very ‘feast or famine’ tends to, it can butt heads with my accountant husband, who has a pretty regimented and predictable schedule and payday. Over the years, we’ve figured out how to make it work, but it’s required A LOT of compromise and flexibility on both of your parts. Just make sure that the two of you talk about your purpose and your plans and goals surrounding each of them. You need to be with someone who can support it, or life is going to be very difficult — no matter how much you love them.”
12. Irys. 50. Married 27 Years.
“You better marry your friend because you need to be with someone you like. Someone who makes you laugh. Someone who you trust more than anyone else. Someone who you can have a good time with under any conditions. Y’all are out here looking for a rich man who can turn you out and I’m telling you that after a while, both of those things can get old if you’re not with your bestie. I love my husband, he’s a great provider and the sex is amazing but us being friends is what’s gotten us through and he’ll say the same thing.”
See…I told you. This is great marital insight for days, and hopefully, it’s also a gentle nudge to speak to some healthy (healthy is key!) married folks you know — especially if you are considering getting married in the near future. Because as basically all of these women stated: marriage is a beautiful thing; it’s also no joke and something to be as prepared for as possible. Please take that heed very seriously — for your, your partner, and your marriage’s sake. Amen? Awesome.
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