Today we’d like to introduce you to Cynthia Jackson.
Cynthia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Tiny Tots and Tikes was founded in 2016. I initially began the company with the intention of only offering children’s books and Christian apparel. I wanted to provide diverse children’s books that showed black and brown children and I also wanted to provide cute and creative inspirational t-shirts for people to wear. However, at the beginning of 2020, my company launched our most popular product, our line of wall decals for children.
Our line of decals was created as a result of my daughter’s struggle with her self-image. When she approximately three years old, she began asking questions about her skin tone and hair texture. She questioned why her hair and skin did not look like the white children in her class. Honestly, these were questions that I was definitely not expecting to ever hear from my very young beautiful black daughter. I was so surprised, shocked and confused. I really couldn’t understand why my little pretty black princess was questioning the beauty of her hair and skin.
After much thought about this surreal moment, I realized that I had completely underestimated the impact on my daughter’s self-image when I decided to enroll her in a predominately white pre-school and when I was serving as a pastor of a predominately white church. I also realized that she was able to recognize society’s preferred standard of beauty and representation, especially in the media. Historically, society and the media have taught that those of European descent are the standard of beauty and the only ones qualified to hold certain job positions. As a result, black and brown children, such as my daughter, are left struggling with their own self-identity in a world that hasn’t considered them to be good enough.
As a result of my daughter’s inner struggle, my husband and I threw everything into overdrive and spent much time affirming her even more. We also became intentional with purchasing toys and room decor that reflected positive and creative Black images to reaffirm her beautiful blackness. To help other parents and children who have had similar experiences, we decided to create wall decals that reflect positive and creative Black images so that little Black girls and boys will be inspired through their walls. These decals are our creative, unique way of affirming Black children and promoting Black beauty and pride.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has definitely not been a smooth road. Yes, I have read plenty of resources with guidelines and tips on how to run a business. However, things can look quite different once everything is in motion. There is not always a blueprint to follow for every situation I encounter. I have made a lot of mistakes and there have been a lot of late nights and early mornings. I have also had to make difficult decisions. But, over time, I have learned that patience and persistence are important with owning a business. I believe in our mission and I believe in our products. When we can help put a smile on a child’s face, then it has made all the challenging times worth it.
What were you like growing up?
As a child, I was very creative. My cousins and I painted t-shirts and sold them to family members. I remember creating hair bows, building dollhouses, and painting different things. I have always like designing in some capacity. I am thankful that I am able to continue expressing my creativity through my business.
- Website: www.tinytotsandtikes.com
- Phone: 7703750635
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @tinytotsandtikes
- Facebook: @tinytotsandtikes