I began as a young entrepreneur. Some of my earliest businesses were started around the age of 9, I’d say. Every Saturday I would beg my mom to take me to the library and I’d leave with at least ten books on how to start a business, writing business plans and anything relating to business. I remember watching Nickelodeon and hearing them say, “We are coming right back with so and so and she’s going to tell us how she began her brand.” I would run to fill my bowl of cereal during the quick break and make a mad dash back to the television with my notepad in hand. I planned to jot down each step. It never happened that way though. They’d always end up saying things that my pre-teen mind couldn’t quite comprehend at the time. “Believe in yourself, ” or, “Follow your dreams.” Very underwhelming.
As I approached my teenage years, I became a bit more advanced in how I would pursue growth and advance my brand. I would pitch ideas to the Board of Directors and wait patiently to hear back from them. I had to be about 14.
I became a young mom at 16. I remember wanting the world for my daughter and intending to give it to her. “The world” was anything I didn’t have. It was anything I ever wanted and couldn’t have growing up. Having Jasmyn inspired and motivated me more than anything I pursued on my own and before her. Looking at her knowing that she could barely sit up yet, let alone, help me through understanding single teenage parenting. It was tough, but I distinctly recall telling myself one day that I didn’t have time to be sad or complain. I made my bed and I would surely sleep in it, but I would not stay in it forever. I would find a way to give us a great life. I signed up for food stamps, rent, and utility assistance and worked as much as I could while taking courses to complete high school and begin college.
During my early 20s, I was just wrapping up my LPN pursuits and remembered that I once enjoyed the arts and business. I was exhausted with all of my other business pursuits and really wanted to focus only on what was for me. I decided I’d better pray about it. Thinking to myself, “it would be a travesty to go all the way through this life and miss my purpose.” I wanted to know what assignment God had for me and I wanted to execute with precision on it. I wanted to complete the mission at the highest honor. There was only one problem. I wasn’t happy. I wanted to be truthful with who I was inside and what could be spilling over on the outside. It took me some time but I realized I was angry about being a teen mother, about having to do everything for both of us to have very little. I was angry that mothers are expected to raise children yet we spend all of our time at an office. Letting all of that go was me acknowledging that in order to clean up the outside, I had to do something about the inside.
The journey began there. Fast forward to today. If you were to ask me what it means to be ‘better, not bitter’. I’d respond with how much your success depends on the light you have within you and very little to do with anyone else. The ‘Sweetlife’ is a beautiful trifecta of all of my loves: giving back, arts/business and of course, pastries. I could keep you here for days walking you through the battles that ensued as I journeyed through my womanhood, battled breast cancer and more, but the treasure beneath the ruins is this. It is that Beauty Bakerie is a piece of my peace that I want to share with the world.
A near-death experience taught me that nothing is more important in this life than the moments that are gone too fast. Having long-lasting, smudge-free makeup may seem like a simple novelty to one person, but to me, the 8-15 times I would have spent touching up my makeup today are now the 8-15 opportunities I have to be in the moment. There is no more conflict about kissing my loved one or protecting the 55 minutes of makeup I worked on. I don’t have to choose any longer between my looks and the precious moments that pass us by.
I can have my cake and eat it too.