Spring Queens is back for another week of spotlighting talent and entrepreneurial ambition.
This week’s Spring Queen is all about expression and empowerment. I truly hope each of you get a “take away” from this feature. Be it an actual item of clothing you choose to purchase, or encouragement/inspiration to go after your dreams and goals.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce
Respect The Queen.
Who is the woman behind Respect The Queen? Introduce yourself to the readers.
The woman behind “Respect the Queen” is Terra J. I’m a 35-year-old single mother originally from Saginaw, Michigan. However, I currently reside in Dallas, Texas. I’m currently in the process of finishing up my MBA in Public Administration. By day I am a litigation clerk for a local law firm. By birth I am a Queen! I am a mom! I am human! I am transparent! I am authentic! I am a work in progress.
What is the motivation behind the Respect The Queen brand? How did the concept become a successful business?
I was born in to chaos and I struggled all of my life to maintain my Queen stature. I lacked the fatherly role model every “Queen in Training” deserves as a child. I became very rigid and cold. Against all odds I continued to move forward in my life! About a year ago I began to look deep within myself and through this journey I realized I deserved so much better in life. I realized I had lost the Queen within! I began to tap into a power beyond my understanding. I started to talk to other Queens who also experienced trials and tribulations. I’m a business major so I began to ponder on how I could use my experience, strength and hope to help every women tap into her inner Queen. I ran across a beautiful Queen by the name of Kellie Brew and the magic began. In the meanwhile I have met a variety of African Queens who just happen to be artist and they have helped my vision come to life. My vision is for African Queens to see themselves on all sorts of apparel because I feel as though we are underrepresented and/or exploited in the industry. Success means many things to many people but for mean success is when a Queen is empowered and uplifted after a “Respect the Queen” experience.
How does it feel to be a Boss? What does that term mean to you?
I really don’t see myself as a “Boss” but as an advocate for Queens all over the world. A “Boss” leads people to help him or her live their dreams. I personally want to uplift and empower Queens to live their own dreams.
How long has Respect The Queen been in operation? Tell us about your first year compared to where you are now.
Respect the Queen was established in November of 2013. I haven’t been in business for a full year . The difference today is I have evolved into a better woman. I’ve been able to dig deeper into my soul and identify with my customer’s on a deeper level. I’ve been able to establish actual relationships with my customer’s. My customer’s have full access to me outside of a business relationship. We chit-chat about life and I make an attempt to impact their lives. The difference between “Respect the Queen” and other ‘s is I truly want to establish life, long relationships with my Queens.
With creativity, comes the drama of one’s own mind. How do you manage the highs and lows which comes with being a creative individual?
Yes, there are a lot of highs and lows when running a business. Some days I receive very negative attention and it hurts my soul because I know my hearts true intention. Prayer and meditation keep me grounded. I read a lot and I stay involved in my community. The Queens that I’ve been able to establish relationships with truly uplift and inspire me more than I do for them. At the end of the day if I just help one Queen tap into her inner Queen then I know I’ve done what My Creator intended for me to do and that for me is enough.
Tell us about the moment you sold your first piece of Respect The Queen clothing?
I was so scared no one would feel the concept behind my vision. A friend from my hometown bought my first piece. I was so scared she wasn’t going to like it once she received it. I remember the first notification I received with pictures of her rocking my shirt it was the most amazing feeling I’ve felt other than giving birth to my son. For the first time in my life I knew that I could do anything I set my mind to. It wasn’t about the money by far! I didn’t’ care if I sold another shirt! The inspiration, motivation and empowerment that came with that first sale has inspired me to continue to live my dreams.
Fill in the blank. The most important thing I did not know when I first started that I know now is, ______.
I did not know my family as a whole would not support me but that mere strangers would be my biggest supporters!
I follow your brand on Instagram. One of the many things I enjoy about your page, is that you are socially awake in an era where a lot of people of influence choose to “go along to get along.” Why are you choosing to join the trenches of causes such as the Leon Ford case?
I met Leon via Instagram and his spirit spoke to mine. I joined Leon because we are supposed to support one another. We cannot afford to continue to turn the other cheek on issues we all have faced at one point or another in our lives and/or we know someone who has encountered these issues. I know what it feels like to be black in America. That alone inspires me to help anyone I can.
What do you say to those who believe there is nothing they can do to create change in their community?
I say they are the reason we continue to face these issues in our community. We cannot expect to drastically change overnight. We did not get into this situation overnight! It will take a joint effort to build back our communities. We must uplift and empower each other. No one else is going to do it! One small act of change every day is far greater than no change at all. We must unify or die!
What is the legacy you would like to leave both personally and professionally?
My personal and professional life is always intertwined. I tend to try to separate the two but they go hand in hand. If I only had one thing to leave behind in this world, I would want to leave my people with the ability to uplift and empower each other without exploiting one another. This is the legacy I will leave for my son and his family. That for me is something money cannot buy!
***About the Spring Queen: I am not an artist! I am not even a designer! I’m just a Queen who had an idea of how to mesh art and apparel! Fortunately it worked! Take a risk on yourself or no one else will!