Today we’d like to introduce you to Shaunice Sasser and Kamaria Warren-Sasser.
Shaunice and Kamaria, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Three years ago, I was diagnosed with having a Desmoid tumor in my abdomen. It is a rare tumor that grows rapidly. Due to the growth, I had to have emergency surgery on Christmas Eve 2015 to remove the left side of my abdominal wall and muscles. It was extremely difficult for my daughter and I because suddenly, I was out of work (taking a break from teaching) and learning how to do basic things all over again such as sit up and walk. I was upset because the idea that I had for my daughter’s birthday was not what actually happened due to finances.
During my time at home, I began to design again and it was at that moment that God was urging me to seek and pursue my other talents. That following year, I decided to have a big birthday party for my daughter, Kamaria. As we were planning, Kamaria and I searched through so many stores for invitations that represented African American girls. Although she loved Doc McStuffins, Kamaria felt that the character was too childish for an 8-year old’s party.
On the other hand, I felt Barbie was too grown. So, what does a mom do? Just like any other time, we put on our Superwoman capes and figure it out. I took some time to find an illustrator to work with who would create a character that I could design with. Once we had our first design, we named her “Zoe.” I posted Zoe on my social media and she immediately became a hit. Needless to say, Kamaria did not have her party because she was too busy fulfilling orders. We made a pact that instead of spending money, I would teach her how to make her own money.
Two years later, we have been featured on ABC News Houston, Blavity, Black Moms Blog and many other news sources. We now offer 4 girls and 2 beaus in our Besties Collection. (Zoe, Faith, Akili Rose, Melody, PJ, and Xavier). Kamaria is now working on writing a book series about each of the besties in hopes of inspiring other young kids to pursue their interests. Kamaria has had the opportunity to speak at a few schools on entrepreneurship and we are excited to launch our party line as well as our monthly subscription boxes for the holiday season.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Starting a business, especially with your child can be difficult sometimes. Balancing life as an educator, mom, student (for Kamaria) and an entrepreneur requires us to work together as a team. Each Saturday, we have our business meetings, where we outline our goals.
One of our biggest struggles is raising capital to help us to sustain our business. I try to invest as much of my teaching salary in her dream but that only goes so far.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Brown Girls Stationery – what should we know?
Brown Girls’ Stationery is an online stationery and accessories boutique celebrating the uniqueness and intelligence of brown girls. We specialize in party decor, back to school items (backpacks, umbrellas, lunch boxes, etc) and printable notepads. We are probably most known for our girly designs and creative ideas. Each of our Besties is named by Kamaria with a story that resonates with girls of all ages.
As a mom, I am most proud of watching my daughter work on her dream. Kamaria says that she is most proud because her classmates always want to purchase our items.
What ultimately sets us apart from others is that our business is 80% run by a 9-year-old (5th grader). Kamaria selects the colors, phrases, character names. She decides when new products are launched and she also helps to manage our social media. I am only the Mommy CEO handing things like orders and designing.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There are so many people we could give credit to. Our strong relationship with God is what helps us when we want to give and trust me there are times when we want to give up. I remember our church, Tabernacle of Praise (McDonough), Pastor TJ McBride taught a sermon on entrepreneurship and fulfilling your calling.
It was at that moment that I really began to pray on what God wanted us to do. My mom and Kamaria’s grandma (Betty in NC) has been such a big support for us. She was probably one of the first big orders we had to fulfill and she helped us our first week. All of my friends from our hometown of Salisbury, NC (Tasia, Margareth, Nacecia, Kolisha, Shayla, Trenisha) have placed so many orders even before we knew what we were doing.
They also stay up late at night and hear my crazy ideas. My amazing principal, Dr. Turner and her family always step in when we have large orders. My stationery coach, Teras Smith has been great in helping me to learn the design process and understanding my design voice.
- Backpacks $40.95
- Umbrellas $30.00
- Party Packs start at $29.99
- Website: www.browngirlsstationery.com
- Phone: 470-216-9210
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/browngirlsstationery/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/browngirlsstationery/