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 Charles here!
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 article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images