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Community Highlights: Meet Paquita Poole of Rena’s Couture

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paquita Poole.

Hi Paquita, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
There are three words that sums up my life, “Still I rise!” Courageously Endure was birthed from struggle. While a student at Auburn University, I got pregnant, developed a blood clot, and was forced to move back home. I went from being totally independent to dependent on my mother to care for me, bath me, and assist me walking to and from. But along the journey, I remembered a story I read as a child; it was a book entitled “The Little Engine That Could.” This book is about mindset. It wasn’t talent that got the train over the mountain, but it was mindset. The right mindset–in this instance, a “can do” mindset propelled by the trains motivation and driving tenacity, were essential to its success. I dropped out of college, but I had a “can do” mindset and believed that I could go back and finish, and I did! Although I was a single parent, I had a “can do” mindset that propelled me to strain beyond the normal because I wanted my son to have a future. And it was in the straining, the pressing and the pushing that gave birth to Courageously Endure. The woman I am today is the result of my willingness to push.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
This journey has been like a mountain railroad. There has been curves, fills, and tunnels. In the words of Langston Hughes, “It’s had tacks in it, and splinters, and boards torn up, and places with no carpet on the floor—bare.” The challenges that I have faced have been both personal and communal. When it comes to businesses in the United States, African American women fall behind compared to their white counterparts. Black women endure systemic oppression that is directly linked to a long history of racial and gender inequality that affects their entrepreneurial experience. These challenges are related to strong business relationships and access to funding. In addition to communal challenges, I’ve had my share of personal challenges: lack of mentorship and lack of work-life balance. Starting out, I did not know the value of mentorship. There were some lessons I had to learn that might have been avoided had I had mentors. I’ve learned over the years that strong mentorship provides an invaluable opportunity to learn from someone who has experience similar obstacles in their professional path.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I’ve always had an intense love affair with fashion. Fashion reveals a part of our personalities before we even say “hello.” In 2019, I saw a need for an online boutique. I discovered that the online fashion industry market value is projected to grow to $1 Trillion by 2025. Therefore, I saw an opportunity to establish an e-commerce business that’s geared towards fashion but also empowerment. Rena’s Couture started as an online boutique, but it has evolved into a movement designed to encourage people to think, behave, manage, take action and make decisions toward their personal and professional goals. In addition to offering a specially curated selection of professional attire, some of our most sought-after pieces are our affirmation and vintage tee-shirts. I believe that positive affirmations are the beginning point to change. In essence, you are saying to your subconscious mind: “I am taking responsibility. I am aware that I have the power to change.” I wanted to establish a brand that did more than dress the body but empower the whole being.

Therefore, in 2020, I established a faith-based organization called Courageously Endure. This division of Rena’s Couture provides women with tangible and effective tools that will enhance their self-esteem by removing mental barriers that prohibit them from moving forward. Rena’s Couture is committed to using fashion as a vehicle to tackle stigmatized, sensitive topics, such as mental health, self-employment, and postpartum depression, and providing viable resources to create solutions for underserved communities. Since many women express themselves through fashion, Rena’s Couture creates attire that champions confidence, courage, endurance, and beauty. The company is also intentional about goal-setting, therefore, I established Goal Friend Advisory calls to help customers create short and long-term goals to leverage their potential career prowess.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
As a child, I was very outgoing. I’ve always been sociable, extroverted and popular. I enjoy watching football and spending time with family.

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Image Credits:

Riko Harris owner of IPUSH MAGAZINE Daz Goodman owner of Cre8live Studios

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