by Maria Lloyd
When I saw Mrs. Tevya Donelson’s t-shirt apparel named Lil Cuties Natural Beauty, I was instantly intrigued by its design and wanted to dig deeper into the brand. Fortunately, Mrs. Donelson accepted my invitation for an interview without hesitation, and from it, I learned a wealth of information about being a wife, a mother, and an entrepreneur. As a wife and mother of two, it was clear to me that Mrs. Donelson has exceptional strength, determination, and support from family and friends. She affirmed my assumptions during our interview, crediting her husband for giving her unwavering support and also crediting her father’s role in building her self-esteem.
If you’re a mother and wife who’s interested in starting your own business, this interview is for you. If you’re a husband and father who wants to understand how to boost the self-esteems of the ladies in your life (e.g. wife and daughter), this interview is for you. If you’re simply a fan of Black entrepreneurship and want to lend your financial support to Black entrepreneurs, this interview is for you.
Read the interview below:
Who are you and what do you do?
Mrs. Tevya Donelson, I was born and raised in Flint, MI. I’m a wife and mother of two wonderful children residing in the Dallas area. I’ve had the pleasure of being a stay-at-home mom for the last 5yrs. This year my daughter will start school and I started praying, asking God to give me direction. At 40 and fabulous — might I add 😉 — I knew I didn’t want to work for anyone and I knew I had a purpose to fulfill. God gave me a vision, I believed in it and I stood on Faith creating it. After 20 yrs., I picked up a pencil and drew seven little girls. I drew with such ease I knew that this was God answering my prayers. After looking at the seven little faces, Lil Cuties Natural Beauties brand was born! I launched Lil Cuties Natural Beauties Rhinestone T’s this past November (2013).
Who and/or what inspired you to create your brand?
My now 4yr old daughter Tiana is the inspiration behind the brand. I wanted her to be able to see different images of herself on clothing and be excited! I intentionally designed the Lil Cuties to be done in black or brown rhinestones instead of all crystal — like you would normally see — to reflect the different shades of brown.
How does your brand help Black women and girls?
Lil Cuties Natural Beauties brand was created to exude nothing but positivity! To remind and uplift our Black women and girls to Love Who They Are. That they are Blessed, that they have Brains and that they are Beautiful. Lack of Self-Love, Self-Worth and Self-esteem is crippling our girls today.
What advice can you offer Black fathers about celebrating their wives and daughters’ natural beauty?
Black fathers really need to understand and acknowledge the role that they play in our daughters’ lives is so great. The way they treat their wives/mothers sets the standard in the lives of our girls. I’m blessed to say my parents have been married for 47 yrs. I’m a daddy’s girl! A father’s words of praise of how smart and beautiful his little girl is, should be one of many cherished memories she has from the first man in her life. That’s what my father instilled in me and I’m blessed to say my husband does just that with our daughter. The smile she has when she runs to show her daddy her different hairstyles and he says how beautiful she is, is priceless. That’s the start of developing self-confidence.
What advice can you offer women about running a business as a wife and mother?
Having a husband who encourages me and stands beside me is key. I run my business from our home and so far it hasn’t interfered with my family life. The best feeling of becoming an entrepreneur is being my own boss! This is just the beginning, so what I would tell other wives or mothers seeking to start their own business is be patient and believe in what you have to offer. Don’t give up! This is another example to show the Lil Cuties of the world that it can be done. I’m a praying woman and I believe that if I’ve prayed for direction in God’s time he will give me the vision. There’s nothing left for me to do but act on it. Like the scripture says “Faith without works is dead,” James 2:26.
Where is Lil’ Cuties Natural Beauties currently sold?
Lil Cuties T’s are currently available online at www.lilcutiesnaturalbeauties.bigcartel.com
How can people stay abreast of what you’re doing?
Like I stated this is just the beginning and people can follow my creations via Facebook: Lil Cuties Natural Beauties and Instagram: @MrsTDon. I want to thank you Maria and the Your Black World Network for this opportunity to let Lil Cuties Natural Beauties reach a massive audience. Once again I’m a praying woman and this is just another way God works by placing people in your life who believes in what you’re doing and sharing my vision.