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Meet Jamika Smith of Teena’s Legacy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamika Smith.

Jamika, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Teena’s Legacy was started back in 2013 in my living room with 4 girls in honor of my grandmother Alberteen Stredrick (Teena). At the time I was a stay at home mom and really didn’t want to go back into the nonprofit sector, I told myself if I were to go back I will be the Founder/President of my own nonprofit.

The idea for Teena’s Legacy started when my mother and I rescued a chaise lounge sitting in the alley near our home in Chicago, ILL. We then went to a Hotel warehouse and found a bundle of some old hotel draperies for just $10 and used them to reupholster the chaise lounge. My mother still has that chaise lounge in her living room today, 7 years later.

I thought to myself upholstery is one of those trades with a lot of worth and meaning behind it, that is when I was blessed with the idea to use upholstery as a conduit for self-reflection, self-expression and transformation. So today at Teena’s Legacy we use upholstery as a way to tell your story in a more innovative, creative and therapeutic way.

Alberteen (Teena) transitioned back in Feb. 2011 she was creative, vibrant and always about her business. She was an accomplished seamstress and a self-taught interior decorator. She had a creative eye for fashion which resulted in unique and stylish clothes; she would model her designs in fashion shows she hosted and coordinated in the basement of her home and different local venues. She also had a gift in restoring and reviving old furniture back to its original glory.

Grandma believed strongly in self-sufficiency and having your own, her vision for her family was for them to tap into their natural gifts and use them to start their own business and leave a legacy for their children. And I am doing just that, keeping my grandmother’s legacy alive for my daughter, and the cycle will continue.

Great, 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 process has hardly been a smooth road. I think when you find your purpose and courageously walk in your purpose it’s evident you will come across more than your share of obstacles, barriers etc. I am patient with grace currently, right now walking through a storm and it’s not easy.

My #1 setback is funding my ministry, like a lot of non-profits seeking financial support could seem like an upward battle. My faith keeps me moving forward, and so far I’ve been operating a successful organization for 5 years with a budget less than $10,000 a year.

Please tell us about Teena’s Legacy.
Teena’s Legacy is a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit whose mission is to create a safe space for girls and women to explore their authentic self, using the trade of upholstery as a conduit for self-reflection, self-expression and transformation. Our vision in the next 20 years is to embolden 20,000,000 girls and women to become architects of their own future through inner-transformation, self-exploration and entrepreneurship. Our goal is to have a long-lasting presence in 20 U.S. cities and 20 countries in Africa.

I am known as The Re-Upholstery Coach where I help you re-upholster your chair and your life. This is my business component that helps fund my nonprofit through a 2 hr workshop or my 4-16 week programs. I am most proud of how I create a safe space to learn a valuable trade that has the potential to boost your self-esteem, sharpen your imagination, and enhance your creative mind. It can also try the patience of your SOUL, test the skills of your hands, and leave you with the rewards of a job well done as a long-lasting experience. Not to mention it provides you with the much needed time to think critically about who you are as an individual.

What sets me apart from others?
I haven’t found another upholster who use this trade as a therapeutic tool for self-healing and storytelling,

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from my childhood is when my family and I jumped in a van and took a long road trip to the East Coast, I lived in Chicago at the time and the trip took us about 3 weeks. This is when I developed a passion to travel.


  • 2-hour training Re-Upholster Your Way To A New You $250
  • 2 day Re-Upholster Your Way To Your BIG DREAM! $550
  • 4-week program Visualize And Create Your BIG DREAM $1,400
  • 8-16 week program Re-Upholstery With A Purpose $3,000-$11,000

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