My Dreams Are Windows To My Freedom
There Are No If, Ands, Or Buts About It!
I am a self-proclaimed dreamer. Many of the things I possess or may be involved with, at some point, I probably dreamed about it. Being physically fit, I dreamed about losing all the weight I was carrying around while stuffing my face with food. Singing in the church choir, I dreamed about it, while practicing in my car over one of WOW Greatest Gospel productions.
A Letter from the Editor
What if tomorrow didn’t arrive? All of your plans, hopes and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy day, and you could spare someone the trouble of making promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired today? What would you do?
In short words, I will typically act on something if I dare to dream about it. I have used the gift to dream while sinking in some of my lowest moments. I wanted more, and dreaming of something better made it almost feel like I was there. I learned that there is power in what we dream about.
I’ve been told that I often seem like I do too much. Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m a firm believer in knowing that God wouldn’t put anything on me that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to me. I have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge to me is an adventure. What is the worst that can happen?
In that same breath, my dreams have been filled with thoughts of hope and sometimes regret. If I could turn back the hands of time, I would. If I could reverse some of the experiences of my life, I would. If I had the ability to reach back into my past and open some of the doors that were shut and close some that I walked through, I would. One might ask me why, and my response is quite direct; I would if I could.
If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in return acquire life.
Now, it’s not my intent to sound as if I do not appreciate the life God has blessed me with. My message is quite the opposite. I love my life and all that has helped to make it what it is. Still, I wish I could have avoided some unnecessary experiences. However, I am wise enough to know that everything has been necessary. It is all part of God’s plan for me.
Acknowledging and accepting where and how my life began instills a sense of reality into my heart. Dreaming of places where I wish I could be also encourages me to keep striving for that which is greater.
The best advice ever given to me happened when someone told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so I have pressed my way through doors with a key that only hope provided. I have also learned the difference between what God blesses me with and what life can burden me with as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and when to be quiet, because someone may get it confused with being arrogant.
Make you tomorrow happen today, but most importantly make it count. Life is but a whisper and we must put ourselves in a position to hear what it is telling us.
My message is simple. Life is but a whisper, and I refuse to get lost in the chaos and confusion. There is way too much for me to do, and if I never achieve all that I dream of, I will remain enthusiastic about what tomorrow promises. Tomorrow, if it comes, is provided by God. And when God blesses me with another day to live, He also blesses me with another day to dream and get to work.Terry L. Watson Editor/Founder
Terry L Watson Publisher
Joy Rogers Writer
Terry L. Watson Writer
Editor In Chief Terry L. Watson Alana Allen - Deputy Editor
Dorjea’ McClammey Writer Monica Montgomery Writer
Writers Tonya Dixon Terry L. Watson Alana Allen Jeuron Dove
Todd Youngblood Photography
Howard Gaither Photography
Perfect Lenz Photography Shaw Photography Group Still Shots Photography Who Shotya Photography
HUAMI MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Mykel Media Company. Any reproduction of any portion of this publication is prohibited without written permission from the publisher prior to doing so. Mykel Media doesn’t accept responsibility for statements made by individuals featured or advertisers. Comments concerning this publication E-mail at email@example.com
It started with a love for creativity, and has grown into a full blown business. Learn more about her journey. Denver, CO
She continues to use her trajedy so help and serve others. Learn more about who she is. Philadelphia, PA
Meet this commuity hero who is leading by example. Learn more about his journey and future plans. Memphis, TNCelestian HANDS Massage
Celestial HANDS MassageBy Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Corey Braxton
Detroit, MI, native and current Atlanta, GA, resident Corey Jerome Braxton is the owner of Celestial HANDS Massage. His company is a full-service, Bed & Breakfast Spa, with an Aristocratic Theme. Corey is the first Black Owned Spa entity of its kind in the Atlanta market as well. Celestial HANDS Massage specializes in Swedish, Deep Tissue, Sports Massage and Reflexology. Their customized 4-Modal Massage Technique, which incorporates all four massage modals and a full athletic stretching routine is something they are widely known for. To cater to more holistic sensibilities, they offer natal chart readings as a method of selfactualization.
Corey was raised in a family of seven by his parents, who were both educators. He has two Miniature Schnauzers, Blake Denver and Fallon Shinobi Braxton. Corey has a passionate belief in Social Graces, something he developed as a child. Through those experiences, he developed an ironclad appreciation for the ideals of doing things according to most etiquette standards.
Corey is a Certified Massage Therapist, Event Planner, and Nationally Certified Food Safety Manage. He also has an interest in Interior Design. “I’m also deeply passionate about the study of self-actualization, selfawareness through the study of Astrology,” he says. He shares that he is still a man of faith and connects that to his upbringing in the Pentecostal Church.
He studied Hospitality Administration with a concentration in Private & Country Club Management at the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. He has attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, and is the 2013 winner of the Georgia State Hospitality Colleges, John Jordan, Private Club Management Award.
Before owning Celestial HANDS, which was launched in 2014, Corey worked extensively with planning events at some of Atlanta’s most exclusive Private Clubs and Country Clubs, such as the former 191 Club, The Commerce Club, The Ansley Golf Club, and the former Renaissance Club in Detroit. He has also worked with Atlanta’s Housing Authority and served as Chief of Staff for the Honorable Brenda Muhammad, former School Board President for Atlanta Public Schools.
In addition to their massage services, Celestial HANDS offers Soy Candles, Epsom Salts, Body Scrubs, Bath Bombs, Body Washes, and more. There is also a beverage service and a formal breakfast, lunch, and dinner component that can include a Violinist that serenades. The choice is yours!
Most of Corey’s clientele tends to be mid-level to high-level executives, but he also caters to bodybuilders and athletes, both men and women. “Because we are a Private Spa, and don’t take walk-ins, celebrities appreciate our exclusivity,” he says. His services range in price from $75 for a Premium Foot Massage to $255 for a Signature Spa Treatment. They also have Massage Memberships available, which are considered the best value.
Celestial HANDS began when Corey decided to answer his calling. He says, “I felt God was leading me to pick up the mantle of helping clients to heal their bodies through therapy. I had long run away from the calling, but after laying my father to rest in 2013, like Jonah in the Bible, the gift kept calling me.” He later moved his business further south of Atlanta to a spa facility in the Greenbriar area.
Being a spa owner, and being a male who owns it, has come with its share of challenges. Corey shares, “Many consider massage a luxury reserved for special occasions and/or a direct offset to an injury. In reality, massage must be a preventative maintenance practice to prevent injuries and offset anxiety, tension and blood circulation issues, and more. As a male spa owner, there has often been a strategic effort to garner trust from women for various reasons. Because of this, I have to go above and beyond to establish their trust.”
Moving forward, Corey says he plans to continue promoting his services and cross-marketing with local content creators. He also plans to expand to more areas in the Midtown area of Atlanta and revisit the idea of opening another location in Washington, D.C.
learn more about Celestial HANDS, please visit their website.
“I felt God was leading me to pick up the mantle of helping clients to heal their bodies through therapy. I had long run away from the calling, but after laying my father to rest in 2013, like Jonah in the Bible, the gift kept calling me.”
Her Love For Dance Makes The DifferenceBy Dorjae’ McClammey Photos Provided by Photography by Bricen and Crush Photography
The only thing that has changed at Conyers, GA, based In the Key of Dance Studio, is they are better than before. Owner and founder Nykisha Banks continues to share her love for dance and people. Her creativity is running at full throttle, and her business and ability to connect with her village have positioned her company as one of the best in the country. In 2021, she became a member of the Rockdale County Chamber of Commerce and In The Key of Dance Studio won the Rockdale Newton Best of the Best 2022 award.
“Our goal is to be a studio based on technique and not recognized as a recreational program,” Nykishs says. Their motto is ‘Progress over Perfection’” Her students are constantly progressing, but she never wants them to feel like it has to be perfect.
Hailing from New Orleans, LA, Nykisha Banks has enlightened others with dance since the age of three. Now, with twenty years of experience in dance, it has become clear that answering her calling in life was the correct thing to do. She continues to push not only her students but herself as well. “I am doing everything I can, inside and outside the studio, to grow it and take it to unseen levels,” she says.
Growing a business can be tiresome and exhausting, and that is why Nykisha is also focusing more time on self-care. “I am pushing myself to see friends more and talk with them more often. I think that’s healthy, and if I’m healthy, then the studio can stay healthy,” she says.
Nykisha, who is also a published author, has enjoyed success in publishing also. Her latest production, “A Dancer’s Leap Into Accountability” has done very well. Even more, her nonprofit organization, In the Key of Dance Performing Arts Inc. continues to benefit from er book sales.
Serving others is very important to Nykisha, and she has always made it a priority to give back to her community. In December of last year, In The Key of Dance Studio presented a Christmas production, and the proceeds were donated to an organization that helps kids with disabilities. Every kid that participated in the show gave another kid with some disability a Christmas gift. Nykisha continues to show that love begins with giving.
As the new year settles in, the demand for In The Key of Dance Studio is increasing. Nykisha has seen a rise in requests for them to perform, with the most recent being at the We3 Women’s Conference in Conyers. They have also performed at conferences, assisted living homes, and more.
Registration at In The Key of Dance Studio is held twice a year. Additionally, Nykisha conducts an annual summer camp, and she plans to convert it into a boot camp.
Her heart genuinely leans toward serving, and Nykisha continues to give kids a comforting and positive environment to excel. “I want them to feel like they have a voice in my studio because they do. Here, they can be kids, learn to dance, and be heard,” she says.
Presently, Nykisha is hard at work addressing the ongoing presence of Covid and new public health concerns in RSV. On a good note, she is able to manage a good challenge, which is high enrollment. These new demands could possibly result in Nykisha hiring a second instructor.
Despite these new challenges, Nykisha’s inspiration has not changed. Her focus is to help her students become the best they can be. Looking ahead, In the Key of Dance plans to move into a much larger studio. Nykisha also wants to focus on structure and technique.
In closing, Nykisha encourages others who may aspire to follow a path similar to the one she has is to continue to educate themselves. “Stick to your guns, do not waiver, and stay consistent. If you’re not stern about your values, no one will respect or trust you because inconsistency is not order.”
To find out more about Nykisha Banks and her book, please visit her website.
The Vision. The FoundationBy Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Ward Legacy Studios
When passion and purpose align with one another, great things are usually created.
Khadijah is best described as someone kind in nature. While she has faced several obstacles in life, Khadijah Butler of Philadelphia, PA, has persevered. She shares, “The parallels of my life are researching and giving back. I love providing aid to my community and helping others find ways to live fruitful and fulfilling lives.”
As a young adult, Khadijah endured the tragic loss of her father, Craig Butler. When she was only 19 years old, her father was murdered by a 14-year-old boy over a dispute. While the sudden loss of her father was tragic and left a huge void in her life, Khadijah repulped her tragedy into triumph. In memory of her father’s legacy, she formed the Craig D. Butler Scholarship Foundation. Its focus is to provide financial assistance to African-American citizens in Philadelphia. Khadijah stresses the importance of providing aid and resources for the black youth in Philadelphia and says that when children know they have options, it gives birth to hope within them.
The Craig D. Butler Scholarship Foundation also strives to redirect the youth’s focus off of gun violence and support education. “We want to address the educational gap and inequities that exist among black students compared to their white counterparts,” she says.
Another byproduct of The CBD Foundation is a book that Khadijah has written titled, Laying the Foundation Brick by Brick. She says the focus of her book is to essentially show others how to start a scholarship foundation or nonprofit organization. “My book was developed to assist with the healing of my father’s death and also to help promote the scholarship. When I began working on the CBD Scholarship Foundation, I could not find information on beginning a scholarship. I also did not realize the therapeutic benefits until I started writing. I didn’t have any prior aspirations to write a book, but I’m glad I did,” she says. “This book has bylaws in it, checklists, and website links. Any mistake I made along the way they are in there.”
Inspiration for Khadijah derives from her desire to be a business owner. “I always knew I wanted to start something I’m passionate about. Beginning this organization in my father’s honor was my pain point. Not just my pain point of healing from his death, but also with education and knowing that I am filling a void,” she says. “I was able to utilize my father’s love and address my concern of the education gap at the same time.”
Khadijah remains driven and sustains the vision and mission of her organization from the people she serves. “Feedback from the community and the parents does it for me. Understanding the need and finding ways to meet the need remains my most important objective,” she says.
Khadijah cites that her identity and utilizing social media as a connectivity tool to link students to her scholarship has been successful. “I have learned that when you have someone who looks like you and shares similar goals, it is easy to make a connection,” she says.
Khadijah says her future endeavors involve promoting her book throughout her community and working with public libraries within the city of Philadelphia. “There is no excuse for students not to get this valuable information. Every guidance counselor should have it. When I first began, If I had access to information to help get my foundation off the ground, there is no telling where I would be,” she says. Khadijah also plans to hold scholarship workshops for the community as well.
A second initiative that Khadijah has in the works is a project that would align the book and the scholarship in what would be called the Books and Bars Program. This new initiative is designed to help reform inmates as they prepare for reentry into society. “It may be difficult for inmates to find jobs. I want to help them navigate the world of entrepreneurship and provide other options upon release,” she shares.
It is apparent that Khadijah will continue to be a catalyst for change in Philadelphia. She plans to continue using her father’s legacy to evoke change, uplift the youth, and introduce them to positive trajectories. Please contact Khadijah directly or visit her website to learn more about the CBD Scholarship Foundation or to purchase a copy of her book.
There is no excuse for students not to get this valuable information. Every guidance counselor should have it. When I first began, If I had access to information to help get my foundation of the ground, there is no telling where I would be.”
It’s All About Her Love For KidsBy Dorjae’ McClammey Photos Provided by Shaunielle Foster
Who has a bigger heart than Shaunielle Foster? She is the founder and CEO of Footsteps to Follow, a non-profit organization based in Guilford County, NC, that focuses on special needs children and the inclusion of the buddy system for standard children.
A native of New York, Shaun, as she prefers to be acknowledged, has cemented her “footstep” in the modeling industry and is highly sought after for her creative expertise and fashion savvy.
Modeling is something that Shaun grasped at the young age of three. Soon she was appearing in commercials and print ads. Living in a city that never sleeps offered her opportunities at every corner. However, these opportunities did not focus on just modeling but allowed her to branch out and explore different arts, such as dancing and performing arts. Growing up in multiple industries, she felt the need for modeling would let you express who you are regardless of what the person is wearing. And the rest is history.
“It all began in 2009 with a simple conversation. My friend and I were discussing their child who had special needs. While talking, they realized there were no opportunities available for the young person to participate in the fashion and model world without being stigmatized. At that moment, the idea for Footsteps to Follow came to life,” Shaun says.
For Shaun, it is all about loving her kids. The open platform that Footsteps To Follow have gives children ages with special needs between the ages of two to 18, a sense of inclusiveness in the fashion world. With bi-annual fashion shows during April and October, they can forget their disabilities and enjoy themselves. Shaun’s mentoring program, “The Buddy System,” allows them to be matched and create life-long friendships with other children who don’t have the same setbacks or illnesses.
Another project Shaun has her hands in is a workshop called ‘Stytches.’ It allows the kids to create their own garments and showcase them during the fashion show that Footsteps To Follow produces. She has also created various partnerships with her community members to ensure the kids in her program and her community are receiving everything they need. One partnership is with the local HBCU, North Carolina A&T State University. Together, they pair each of her kids with a mentor from other local non-profits. Another program called ‘Wrapped Up In Music’ serves kids who are patients in local hospitals.
Shaun’s love doesn’t end there. She has been a foster parent for seven and a half years and has fostered over 290 children. “I felt like it was necessary to be able to be more than just a bridge gap for so many children,” she says. She has also found a way to get her family involved with her programs. Her son Kingzton, a young KidPreneur and model, has created an all-natural self-care line called “Kingz Korner.” He has all-natural lip therapy, bath bombs, awareness suds, and more. The colors of his logo are dedicated to his mother and represent all she has done for kids in the foster system. “Green is for missing children, blue is for adoption, and yellow is for unconditional love.” Shaun also has launched ‘Fatz15’, a clothing line dedicated to her daughter Daisha who she calls Fatz because she barely weighed five pounds at birth.
Although there have been challenges along the way, Shaun says she is unphased about them. “I always find the silver lining. It’s not about the challenge; it’s about finding the solution,” she says. As for the future, she is working on acquiring a brick-and-mortar location for her programs.
For anyone looking to follow in Shaun’s remarkable footsteps, her advice is to be authentically you; there is only one. “Follow your hopes, dreams, and heart, and be passionate about what you do. Doing so will not feel like work.”
To learn more about Shaunielle Foster and Footsteps to Follow, please contact them directly. h
Cutest BabyThe daughter of Brianna Jackson Granddaughter of Ed & Raquel Browning Great Granddaughter of Annie Browning & Lisa To submit photographs to be placed in the Huami Magazine Cutest Baby feature, please send a detailed email to firstname.lastname@example.org MAGAZINE Juliana Marie Jackson
Patrice J. BridalBy Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Patrice J. Bridal
If the bride isn’t happy, well, more than likely, the wedding may not go as planned. That is why it’s vitally important to utilize the services of skilled professionals for the big day. This is an area where Patrice J. Bridal excels and is always ready to serve.
Have a custom dress in mind? Patrice J. Bridal can custom-make your ideal gown or create a replica. Owned and operated by Patrice Johnson, Patrice J. Bridal based in St. Louis, MO, offers bridal gowns from top brands, in-house alterations, and custom dressmaking for brides, the bridal party, proms, and various special occasions. Patrice officially launched her company in January 2020 as the first black-owned bridal retailer in the midwestern metropolis, however, Patrice has been sewing for more than two decades.
Patrice is a native of New Orleans, LA, and has lived in St. Louis for a great portion of her life. She has been married for 22 years and is the mother of two boys, ages seven and eleven. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Masters degree in Accounting, and one in Non-Profit Administration. Respectfully, she is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
When asked what she loves most about what she does, Patrice says it is the opportunity to work with people and dress them for some of the most significant moments of their lives. “I love celebrating and being with people in their happy moments,” she says. Patrice admits without hesitation that she wouldn’t be able to do what she does without the assistance and support of her husband, Ian, who she says has been her biggest supporter. “He has been one of the most prominent voices pushing me into my gifts when doubt crept in.”
While the Covid 19 pandemic was ravishing the world in 2020, Patrice J. Bridal was in its infancy stages. Patrice had just opened the doors of her company and was soon faced with the unknown. Covid eventually caused her to close her doors for three months, but fortunately, she was able to improvise. She provided facemasks and when the restrictions eased, she was one of the few bridal shops open as brides planned microweddings. Patrice J. Bridal would survive.
Now operating as a proven business that is capable of weathering the unknown, Patrice J. Bridal offers advice to others who may follow a similar journey such as the one she has. She says, “Be mindful of the entire journey and celebrate all the small wins as you work towards your big goal. Don’t be afraid of competition, realizing that no one can do you like you can. There is abundant room for you as long as you remain true to your gift and purpose.”
Patrice says there isn’t anything she would change about her journey in business. Everything hasn’t been perfect, but Patrice says she appreciates the things that have come, both good and bad. “I wouldn’t change anything. My experiences have been invaluable. There is no way I could produce the quality of work I do without such experiences as sewing pockets backward or making dresses that didn’t fit.”
Moving forward, you can expect Patrice J. Bridal to continue to offer its signature brand of customer service and quality products. Additionally, Patrice is working on her own collection of bridal and bridesmaid gowns that will be available in January 2024.
To learn more about Patrice J. Bridal, please visit their website.
Brownlee A Hero In His CommunityBy DorJae’ McClammey Photos Provided by Geno Brownlee
Community Activist, Geno Brownlee is committed to doing his part to change the narrative for the youth in Memphis, TN. A South Memphis native, Geno has a ground-level perspective of the inner workings of Tennessee’s second-largest city. Most importantly, he understands the challenges that young citizens in his community face and refuses to sit on the sidelines. Geno has jumped into the heart of the matter, with hope and purpose as his sidekick.
Geno is a father, independent artist, children’s book author, motivational speaker, and visionary of Changing Lives Global Foundation. Through his foundation, Geno focuses on changing the lives of kids and young adults across the mid-south.
Growing up in a tough city like Memphis made Geno want to bring light to his community. He admits that he never imagined being a children’s book author. “It all started when I went viral on the social media platform TikTok for creating a new dance. In no time, the video gained over four million views. I eventually used this engagement to promote my song,” he says. The name of his song is called, “Saucy”, and its focus is to encourage young kids to dress for success, and to stay in school, and achieve good grades. It is also a tool used to prevent bullying.
Geno made his first official school visit at Levi Elementary in Memphis on September 21, 2021. To date, he has performed for and hosted motivational seminars at over 132 schools and has been featured on local news stations countless times. He has written five children’s books, including “One Day the Sun Will Shine” and “A Superior Christmas with 901 Nazcar and Friends”.
Through Changing Lives Global Foundation, Geno has developed the Stop the Bullying Workshops, which are 15 to 20-minute sessions designed to teach kids and young adults about the different types of bullies. He’s spoken to kids from the daycare level up to the college level. What’s more impressive is that Geno’s words have spread across the country, from the mid-south to Atlanta, GA, and Cleveland, OH.
He is unequivocal and purposeful about helping youth and his work has given him a chance to connect with some big names in the entertainment industry, including T from Superior, Hadrat Faatimah, MoneyBagg Yo, Glorilla, Bankroll Freddie, Dee Mula, Marcus Ward Sr., Penny Hardway, Zach Randolph, Reagan Garland, and more.
The journey for Geno hasn’t always been easy. It has come with a few challenges here and there. Growing up, neither of his parents was in his life, and while building his foundation, many people continued to leave. He shares, “I faced a lot of people quitting on me, giving up on me, and telling me no. But when adversity sets in, that’s when I’m at my best. When things get hard for me, I go harder.”
Geno finds inspiration in serving his community and by improving child literacy one day at a time. “I sometimes believe the youth in my community are being steered in the wrong direction. By being a positive role model for them and leading by example, I want to show them what can be possible if they strive for more,” he says. “I also want to show my own kids how to succeed.” How is he doing that? One way is by developing the Changing Lives Global Foundation into a family business and enlisting his seven-yearold daughter, Brooklyn, as his manager.
In the future, Geno plans to do more for the youth in Memphis and the United States. He is currently working on four new books and taking the Changing Lives Global Foundation on tour. He will also take his Stop The Bullying Workshops to 32 more states nationwide.
Geno’s advice for others who may follow a path similar to the one he has is clear. “You’re going to go through some pain, but I promise God will use it to make you stronger. He has a purpose for you, so don’t give up. It will be a rocky road to success, but you must keep going when things get hard. Success will not come easy.”
To learn more about Geno Brownlee and all his excellent work, please follow him on Instagram and TikTok. You may also contact him directly via email.
“I sometimes believe the youth in my community are being steered in the wrong direction. By being a positive role model for them and leading by example, I want to show them what can be possible if they strive for more.”
Divine Dream DesignsBy Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Pink Poppie Media @pinkpoppymedia
Born in Aurora, CO, and partially raised in Bainbridge, GA. Kieshon Davis has enjoyed small-town living and the bigger city lifestyle. This young and budding entrepreneur is also a mother of two wonderful children and says they are her motivation and inspiration for everything she does. “Everyday, I push hard to one day make them proud and leave our family with a legacy they can enjoy and pass down to their families. Next to my children, my Christian faith is my greatest blessing. My faith in God has enabled me to look forward to each day with gratitude and encouragement,” she says.
Kieshon owns Divine Dream Designs, a full-service, lifestyle-based, professional event planning and design company. Divine Dream Designs specializes in corporate events, dinner galas, luxury outdoor dining, grand openings, and private events. Her commitment to providing great customer service from start to finish, while keeping her client’s goals, vision, and budget in mind, sets Kieshon’s brand apart from others. “I am committed to delivering on every detail while offering less stress and more fun,” she says.
Kieshon describes herself as a serial entrepreneur and says her journey began when she was a lot younger. “In grade school, I sold candy, cool pencils, silly bands, and more to the other kids. I did this so that I could have money for extra snacks. That ambition followed me to my adult years. I have owned a natural skincare line and various craft businesses. My skincare products were what pushed me to plan my first event. I had all these great products and needed a way to market them locally and generate sales. So, in September 2020, I decided to have a craft market that featured myself and 19 other African American female entrepreneurs. There was food, music, and games. The event went so well that I started having them once a month. Next, I began having an annual Cup in Hand Kickball Game and an Adult Field Day event. There, I tried to decorate my first seven-foot balloon arch and learned that it was way more difficult than I expected, and I ended up paying someone else to do it. I was inspired, and I began doing more and more balloon decorating at family events. I eventually realized I wanted to focus on the designing and overall planning of events,” she says.
Some of the products and services Kieshon offers are full event decor, main displays, draping, centerpiece making, planning, day-of coordination, and hosting. Each package includes a complete set-up and take-down, table settings (place settings, cutlery, glassware, centerpieces, balloon decor with flower garnishments, candles, and a complimentary bottle of wine, complete with lights for optimal romance. She also offers rentals for games and stands. “My favorite service is the Luxury Outdoor Dining Experience, which features a see-through, 10x10 bubble tent that encapsulates the best picnic experiences,” she says.
Kieshon says she loves being creative in everything she does. “I enjoy bringing my client’s dream events to life and seeing the look of pure joy on their faces when they realize that I took care of every last detail. All they need to do is enjoy themselves. That is what I enjoy most,” Kieshon shares.
Like most businesses, Kieshon has faced some challenges. One, she says, has been able to delegate responsibility. “Small business owners sometimes think we can do it all. We often put too much on our plates, which can eventually diminish the quality of our work. To overcome this challenge, I have built up a loyal team who see my vision and want me to reach my goals. I appreciate everyone, including, my Mom, Teresa, Aurie, and my event planning sister, Autumn. Without them, I would not have made it this far,” she shared.
Futuristically thinking, specifically within the next 5-10 years, Kieshon hopes to have her own venue and cater to luxury weddings and events. Until then, she plans to continue to perfect her craft and stay on top of trends. Her advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs who may follow a path similar to hers is never to lower your price. She says, “If your clients complain about charging what you are worth, get new clients. Someone will see your value, and you won’t have to convince them why they should pay you what you deserve. Secondly, build a solid team of those who believe in you and your vision. Behind every great leader is an amazing team of brilliant people who want to see you win. You can’t be afraid to network with other entrepreneurs who do the same thing as you and, most of all, stay positive and keep going no matter what,” she says.
To learn more about Kieshon Davis and Diving Dream Designs, please visit her website.