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​How Mother/Hustler Tabia Charles-Collins Went From Laid Off To Launching Her Own Clothing Brand

​How Mother/Hustler Tabia Charles-Collins Went From Laid Off To Launching Her Own Clothing Brand

Mother/Hustler

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.

Necole Kane Exits xoNecole To Pursue Her Next Venture

Seven years ago, our founder Necole Kane shook up the internet when she abruptly announced that she was shutting down her popular celebrity gossip blog, NecoleBitchie.com, to pursue a more purposeful path. As a result, xoNecole was born. Seven years later, Necole is making yet another bold move by saying goodbye to xoNecole and focusing on her next pursuit: helping women experience better periods.

Today, the media mogul and entrepreneur announced that she is passing the baton here at xoNecole.com, which will live on under its parent company Will Packer Media while Necole grows her period supplement brand, My Happy Flo, full-time. “As a brand, we are truly excited to see Necole flourish in this exciting new chapter of her career,” says Alix Baudin, President and COO of Will Packer Media. “With her product My Happy Flo, Necole has provided relief and education to so many women. Will Packer Media is proud of what Necole has done both at xoNecole and beyond, and we support her endeavors moving forward.”

As a serial entrepreneur, Necole is all too familiar with the grief that comes with saying goodbye to a business. Though this new time comes with a mixed bag of emotions, Necole is embracing change as she always has: with open arms. "I've grown so much as a person through the articles and the writers on xo," she says through our Zoom call. "So I am so thankful for every single contributor, every single person who has been on the team, and the staff that has been a part of the vision. Every single person matters that has gotten the brand where it is seven years later."

She continues: "I'm thankful to Will Packer Media for believing in me, allowing me to live my dreams of seeing my site grow to unimaginable heights while also allowing me to see what stability looked like for five years because I didn't know. I spent my whole career grinding and in survival mode as an entrepreneur. So those five years gave me a taste of what it felt like to at least be comfortable. And now I'm going back to uncertainty and discomfort, but that season is always necessary before the big reward comes."

Necole Kane launched My Happy Flo in 2021 inspired by a number of friends diagnosed with fibroidsJlavii Photography

Necole is known for taking the heart on her sleeve and making it a brand. Her vulnerability, instinct, and passion for helping folks live their best lives have been the secret ingredients in her career and her life. Since launching her first website, Necole Bitchie, in 2007, our girl has made several major life transformations. We've watched her shut down her popular gossip blog and launch a brand new lifestyle site, move cross country several times, and even enter her first-ever body building competition. It's no wonder that she's built a reputation as the queen of career pivots. Keeping with the pattern in Necole's life, her next career move is taken right from a page of her own personal story. "When people ask me what has been my secret to success, I say it's cultivating communities and creating brands that address exactly what I need," says Necole. "I create the void that's in my life. I need a community, I need a safe space, and I need to elevate my health."

To no surprise, My Happy Flo is a labor of love in every sense of the word. When Necole turned 35, she started questioning her legacy and didn’t want to be remembered solely for being a gossip blogger. With her mother passing away at the age of 41 from breast cancer, and Necole getting closer to her '40s herself, she decided to take preventative measures to safeguard her health. The year she decided to retire from celebrity gossip, she moved to Arizona to embark on a wellness journey. During that time, she started seeing a holistic doctor that completely changed the game for her. "I enrolled in holistic nutrition and hormone health certification programs and learned about what causes different forms of cancer and how to heal through foods and vitamins," she continues. " I was able to learn about the different hormonal imbalances and discovered that having an abundance of estrogen in your body, or estrogen dominance, contributes to breast cancer and fibroid growth. I felt like I unlocked this wealth of knowledge concerning our hormones and how it contributes to many reproductive conditions that I didn’t know before."

Starting a holistic supplement brand was an idea Necole had been mulling over while burying herself in research about plant-based remedies and vitamins. But it became urgent when four of her friends had been told by their doctor that a hysterectomy was the only solution for their fibroids - one of which was a newlywed hoping to start a family. "[Through research] I learned that 80% of Black women will be diagnosed with fibroids by the age of 50," Necole says. “Most of the women I’ve talked to feel as though their period concerns were being brushed off by their doctors, or they were being pushed on birth control that came with a long list of side effects and eventually made their conditions worse, so I just knew it was the right time to launch My Happy Flo. I didn't know how I was going to run a period brand while running a media company, but God worked things out. He was like, 'I'm going to give you the vision. And then I'm going to give you the tools to see this vision through.'"

JLavii Photography

My Happy Flo is a plant-based supplement made from a blend of all-natural ingredients including DIM (Diindolylmethane) and Indole-3-Carbinol found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage. It also features essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin D3, B12, Iron and Magnesium. The research-backed ingredients were curated with common nutrient deficiencies in black women in mind, and work together to improve hormonal balance, while helping to alleviate uncomfortable period symptoms like heavy bleeding, cramping, bloating, and mood swings. One customer even came back to report that her 11 fibroids had completely vanished after 6 months of taking My Happy Flo. Though Necole has yet to put advertising dollars behind what some reviewers have pegged as “a miracle in a bottle,” thousands of customers are already singing its praises. "We occasionally poll our customers and they’ve revealed that having a painful period affects their self-confidence, body image, intimacy, relationships, and job performance. So this product is about allowing them to have a better quality of life. And we do that by helping them improve certain aspects of their hormone health because our hormones rule everything."

While speaking with Necole, I noticed she is like an encyclopedia when it comes to vitamins, supplements, and hormonal health, and her face practically lights up as she talks about it. She is even enrolled in a menstrual cycle coach certification so that she can become an educator and empower her following. "I want to take a lot of my experience in media and translate that into My Happy Flo," says Necole. "I want the brand to feel like a girl’s night or happy hour with friends and you're talking about your health. For people to be able to talk about their period and reproductive health openly and honestly with no shame."

Above all, she wants to spread the word that period pain is not normal. "Our menstrual cycle is like the body’s report card and heavy bleeding and PMS symptoms is like our check engine light. It can be the first sign of an underlying condition," she insists. "There's just so many conditions [like] PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, and even thyroid disorders [where] a painful period is the first sign of these underlying health conditions. It is not normal to bleed through tampons by the hour, or have periods lasting more than 7 days, but we have just learned to deal with it. These symptoms serve as a smoke alarm and is letting you know that there's a fire going on somewhere else in the body."

Divine intuition has never steered Necole Kane wrong. And though she's aware many will have questions about her next steps, she assures her followers that she's still here to serve. Moving forward, Necole has her sights set on building My Happy Flo into the megabrand that she believes it can be. On her wishlist is a full-fledged line of products with holistic solutions for PCOS, insulin resistance, hyperthyroidism, and other hormonal imbalances as well as in-person events, video content, and getting government funding to launch menstrual education programs in schools. Until then, she assures xoNecole readers that she's never too far away. "I want my community to know when they read this and see that I'm leaving, that I'm still here, but serving them in a different way."

To learn more about My Happy Flo visit My Happy Flo.co or follow them on Instagram!

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