Today’s Topic: Having a child Protégé
Like its not hard enough having children in general! But God has blessed me with an extra special child and she is my youngest daughter. She is a Couture Fashion Designer. Of course we as parents are suppose to think and believe our children are the best but boy I didn’t know what I was getting in this little bundle of joy. Let me start off by saying that I wasn’t expecting to be pregnant being I just had my third child. I go to my doctor’s appointment to discover I was pregnant again. Fast forward to January 20, 2001 I deliver a beautiful baby girl just thinking I’m a mom again. I am very very busy doing the mommy thing. Being a single mom of three, working a full time job, a part time job and doing side jobs to make ends meet God throws in a curve ball. My babies are now 6, 7, 11 and I am noticing my youngest daughter is being distracted, school work is coming home with sketches on it, teachers feedback is that her attention span is short and all she wants to do is sketch. I start paying attention to the things she is sketching and noticed that she had something. Me being a supportive mom I start reaching out to my circle and asking for photographers, designers and various other people to take a look at her sketches to get non bias opinions on what they saw. After much positive feedback I spent the next year purchasing items to see if it was going to be a phase or if it was something she was going to stick to while looking for people, organizations, and schools to get her involved with but due to her age I got nothing but no’s. Most people told me to wait a little while or call back when she was 15, 16 years old. Now she’s 7 and asking for a sewing machine and I’m thinking to myself oh my gosh I haven’t sewed in years how am I going to teach her how to sew. But I went out and got her a beginner machine, some practice fabric and a couple sew and sew patterns. We sat down and I started teaching her the basics and refreshing my memory of sewing, all along still trying to seek out someone to mentor her. I finally was able to get one of the designers I modeled for to agree to teach her. So she began taking a few sewing classes that lasted for about 6 months. Since we couldn’t get her any mentor or into any schools at the age of 8 she asked me if she start her own business. We sat down as a family talked about the ins and outs of what she was asking for we came to the conclusion it would be a good thing for the family. I had to do a lot of praying and asking God for guidance for how this was to come to pass. So by the time my baby was 8 1/2 we were talking about what we wanted to do, she has been involved in every step of the business. She participated in her first fashion show and fashion event without any pieces actually produced. She was featured with her sketches at a charity fashion show, one of the photographers I worked with while modeling referred us to a friend for us to register the business at which time the lady informed us that she hosted a pageant locally and would be willing to allow her to debut at her event and we took that opportunity and agreed to show 3 pieces in August of 2010. While showcasing the pieces one of the guest judges for the event connected with us asking if we would like to participate in Pittsburgh Fashion Week (PFW 2010) and we said we would love to be a part of the event. He informed us that he wasn’t sure in what capacity but he would have someone get in touch with us. Once we were contacted they decided to have her participate in the charity show portion of fashion week and she had to create 2 pieces from refurbished material to be auctioned off. September of 2010 she participates in PFW and at the end of the auction they call her from the back to speak about her being the youngest fashion designer and they enjoyed her so much they auctioned the dress she was wearing off her back lol. It was fast forward ahead because she had her first show hosted under her own company name in 2011, she also continued to participate in local fashion shows (even ones that she wasn’t even old enough to be in the establishment), participating in the next 2 years of PFW while constantly trying to still find mentors to pour into her. In 2012 and 2013 she received various awards and accolades from the city because of her being an entrepreneur. In 2012 she was one of ten children in the to be awarded the Youthpreneur award which the city appointed September 21 as Youthpreneur Day in Pittsburgh. Beginning in 2014 we began to travel to showcase her talent going to cities like Johnstown, Detroit, Maryland, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Virginia. Although we really love what we do for a living it has been met with a lot of roadblocks and lack of support and difficulties. To start when you have a child that is so gifted at such a young age getting the schools to understand that dealing with her gift is something that we needed to work together because her gift isn’t the typical talent that most children have (sports, music, even art) although her gift is in the art realm it’s not one that everyone is use to kids her age having or expressing themselves in and it’s not as accepted as the others. Every since she was in elementary school we have had to fight with the schools to embrace who and what she is. I’ve had the schools tell me she had to take her hair out to participate in school outings (her hair was braided with pink and yellow weave for a fashion show), not include her in school functions, not come out and support her at various functions, not support her when she was receiving awards, not even giving her the option to showcase what she does to her fellow classmates. It got so bad that I had representatives from the local and state level interceding on her behalf to no avail to the point we came to the decision to relocate to another state. We made a family and business decision to relocate to California in 2014. It came down to she didn’t get back into the only Performing Arts school in the city, the business was suffering, we were traveling more than participating locally, and I was laid off for the 2nd time since starting the business. I felt that if we had any chance of our business surviving we needed to relocate and this would give the girls more opportunity to get the support for their talents and gifts. As of July 2015 we have been in California; the relocation didn’t go as smoothly as we planned but I am happy to report that as of March 2016 we have re-established the business, participated in our first fashion show, been back to the east coast for a fashion competition and building clientele. By no means has this been an easy road but with God at the head of our house everything is possible and we will continue to walk in our purpose. All the pain, sweat, tears and NO’s will be worth it in the end. My advise to you as a parent with a child protégé go for it – stay prayed up and move forward no matter what it looks or feels like push forward!!!!
Many Blessings & Much Love