The Village Academy
MISSISSIPPI ® Nov./Dec. 2022 Vol. 1 Issue 11
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It seemed like only yesterday when the first edition of Huami Magazine was published. In November 2007, a vision given to me by God became my reality. I have shared the story of publishing Huami Magazine, first having a conversation with God, then taking the leap and stepping out faithfully in response to God’s call. Still, I often reflect on the first edition and become reminded of how awesome God is.
While I was confident in my ability to fulfill the assignment, I admit I didn’t have all the answers initially. Ten years earlier, in 1997, I researched the magazine publishing industry, specifically in the Triad area of North Carolina. I did this to learn more about what is required to publish a magazine, including how to manage a publishing company, etc. Amongst all of the information obtained, I never inquired about how to support my new media company financially. That would eventually pose a problem for me and Huami Magazine.
Finances and their availability is vital to the survival of any business. I self-funded operating costs for quite some time, especially in the first few years of existence. However, all of a sudden, things changed. Huami Magazine would enjoy the love and support from unlikely sources, including individuals who never exhibited an interest in the product. Doors would soon open and opportunities flowed. Things were looking up for Mykel Media Company, LLC.
As the face and founder of Huami Magazine, I worked hard to spread brand awareness. During this time, there were other challenges I would face, but having the support of the magazine wasn’t one of them. Sales were so good that everything needed to keep our doors open, we received it. God saw something good about Huami Magazine and He made provisions to ensure
The message that I want to remind the readers of Huami Magazine is simple. When God gives you an assignment, He will also make provisions for you to see it through. All that we have to do is show up for the assignment.
Terry L. Watson
Terry L. Watson Publisher
Monica Montgomery Writer
Joy Rogers Writer
Terry L. Watson Writer
Dorjea’ McClammey Writer
TMF Photography Photographer
Still Shots Photography Photographer
Todd Youngblood Photographer
Howard Gaither Photography
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A Letter From The Editor
Yesterday Prepared Me For What’s Next
The Village Academy
He is using his platform to change lives and bring awareness. Meet the new face of Autism.
Also Featured 20
She is a world traveling photographer. Learn how she captures the beauty of others through her eyes. Phoenix, AZ
He has stepped into his calling and continued the legacy of his father. Learn more K-9 Safety Consultants. Detroit, MI
Huami Magazine Cutest Baby Braxton Moore
Love, Hair, and Faith Timeka Tillman
Lomax Tax & Financial Service Kenya Lomax-Sims
NOV./DEC. 2022 MISSISSIPPI CONTENTS 10 28 32 12 6
On The Cover
Flem Peacher VI
The Village Academy
By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Tommie Nicholson
For Steven Grant of Jackson, MS, serving his community is really important. Men are typically not at the forefront in the child-development profession, but Steven is different. He is the owner and founder of The Village Academy, a childcare and enrichment center located in Jackson, whose mission is to care for children utilizing a curriculum designed to help them succeed.
Steven is an Ordained Minister, husband, and father of four. After high school, he enrolled at Jackson State University and later transitioned to Hines Community College. He also has a genuine love for children and says The Village Academy was developed on the belief that it takes a village to raise our children. “God gave me the vision for our center. Everyone in our community is part of the village, including the parents, students, and teachers. It takes everyone working on a collaborative effort to make this thing work,” he says.
Launched in 2020, The Village Academy operates of “Four C’s”, which stand for (Caring, Children, Curriculum, and Community). Steve explains, “The “Four C’s” means we are caring for all children by way of curriculum to enrich our communities and prepare to prepare and grow our children to the next level.”
The current enrollment at The Village Academy is twenty-five children. The ages of the students enrolled are three months old, all the way to five years old at the daycare. The school currently serves students between the ages of six and thirteen. The Village Academy also offers transportation via a bus that accommodates 22 children, along with a twelve-passenger van. They currently have a total of six employees.
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Steven shares that what he loves most about what he does is seeing young children grow and develop into what they dream they can be. “As we shape and mold our children, we must keep the needs of our children in the forefront. Proper planning prevents pisspoor performance. If we plan properly, we will get the necessary performance from our children. The more we keep our kids engaged, the more we can get from them. We are able to accomplish this through proper planning. Planning helps our school to be the best learning facility we can be,” he says.
Some of the partnerships The Village Academy has established include the David Marion team. Steven says David has worked with his staff to help them identify students with behavioral issues and provided direction and information on what to do once doing so. These partnerships are in alignment with Steven’s vision for a collaborative effort. “I believe there is power in numbers and having as many hands on deck, or having as many people involved as possible, will help to ensure their students are successful.
Steven says that he is inspired mainly by his own children and the opportunity to help other children. As a parent, he has always been hands-on with the development of his own children. “I was known as Mr. Mom in the school system. I was part of Dads of Destiny and the Watchdog Dad Committee. Anytime there was an issue with my kids at school, I was the one who showed up. That allowed me to see other kids and how they interacted with one another. I got together with other men and talked about issues within the school system. I wanted to make a difference, and the best way I knew how to do it was to get involved,” he says.
Moving forward, Steven plans to continue to build The Village Academy into one of the top enrichment centers available. His approach to involving the whole community in the development of children is promising, and by the sounds of it, the future of his students looks very bright. To learn more about The Village Academy, please visit their website. h
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By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Dymetra Caskill
Dymetra McCaskill of Denver, CO, has a unique eye for detail. Her ability to look at a blank canvas and create works of art has propelled her to being one of America’s top African American interior designers.
Along with being a mother, grandmother, sister, and daughter, Dymetra is the owner and founder of Urban Esthetic Interiors, LLC. As a black designer, you will notice hints of cultural esthetics, vibrant colors, and warm textures. She describes it as a whole vibe!
With her company, Dymetra offers one-on-one, personalized design experiences and collaborates with her clients to create what she describes as a beautiful space.
Dymetra was born and raised in Denver. There she attended school and obtained a Business Management degree. All of her family resides in Denver, including the matriarch of her family, who is now a great-great-grandmother. Dymetra is also a lover of music and says, “If you come to my home, there’s always music playing and candles burning. I’m always tinkering around with something design related,” she says.
Urban Esthetic Interiors, LLC came to life in 2020 during the Covid 19 pandemic. “I worked full-time as a flight attendant, and because of the pandemic, I was temporarily furloughed. During that time, I was able to divert all of my attention to interior design, develop a business model, improve my skill set, and work,” Dymetra says.
When asked what she loves about having her own company, she says it’s all about the art of design. “I love beginning with a blank canvas and using my imagination to create a work of art. There are so many moving parts, which can be challenging at times, but that is what drives me. I test the limits with each project, make bold choices, and experiment with new trends.”
While Dymetra says she is inspired by her friends and family’s support and encouragement, she specifically acknowledges her mother for being the most significant source. Dymetra says her mom was the first to let her use a miter saw, which she thought was just a “guy thing” at the time. “I gained confidence, and it allowed me to feel limitless,” she says. Growing up, Dymetra says her mother would always rearrange furniture and have beautiful plants throughout the house. She shares that everything had its place. Even more, Dymetra’s dad is a pretty good designer in his own right. “Dad designs with class and deliberate pieces. His home shows like a model home, and I always wanted that for my space,” she says.
Additionally, Dymetra says that all things visually beautiful inspire her. “My son, who mimic’s my feature wall ideas, inspires me. My four-month-old grandson, who greets me with bright eyes and the happiest smile, inspires me. My sisters, who consistently root for me, inspire me. My aunt, who always eloquently encourages me, inspires me. My gramma, who covers me in prayer every day, showers me in love, and shows me how a fierce black woman moves and shakes in this world inspires me,” she says.
Things are going great for Dymetra, and she says there isn’t much she would change about how things have happened for her in business. If anything, she says she wishes she would have started sooner but also that she firmly believes that everything happens when it’s supposed to happen. “I’ve encountered some challenges and made plenty of mistakes; however, the beauty lies in knowing they are learning lessons. I’m creating my own formula, which makes me unique, bringing about some uncertainty, but it’s a beautiful mystery. I’m hopeful and excited about what’s to come,” Dymetra says.
Her advice to others who may follow a path similar to hers is not to allow fear to keep you from leaping. “Keep some of your thoughts and plans private, and if you decide to share them, do so with those you know will encourage you. Remember, we’re always students, so we never stop learning. This is a constantly evolving business, so be prepared to operate consistently with your creativity. Whatever your dreams and desires are, release them into the wind. Allow yourself to imagine all the possibilities, keep your intentions pure, and enjoy the ride.”
By the sounds of it, Dymetra has a bright road ahead of her. Futuristically, Dymetra plans to add to her existing brand, which will include designing commercial spaces and offering my products through retail. “If I’m not in your city, I would love for anyone to have access to an Urban Esthetic Interiors experience,” she says.
By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by The New Black Collective
Action is a necessary component required to bring change to a community. The type of action to which others who desire change will respond to. The kind of action that addresses the concerns and problems of a community and produces solutions that improve living conditions. Such an organization exists, and is answering the call for change.
Based in Houston, TX, The New Black Collective was developed by four high school friends; Ebony Joiner, Shaquala Warren, Kevin Thomas, and Jasmine Bledsoe. With each member reigning from Waco, TX, they share a variety of degrees and certifications from HBCUs to Ivy Leagues. Another member, DeAundra Moore, serves as Program Manager and is passionate about empowering and supporting others through direct community interaction.
Launched in 2019, The New Black Collective is a nonprofit organization that services the minority community through community outreach programs. The idea was born out of a need each member was aware of. They also genuinely wanted to give children and adults something positive to look up to.
“To amplify the quality of life in our community, promote culture, and education; through community intitiatives and partnerships with other organizations.”
Led by Jasmine, who believes in giving back and enriching her community, The New Black Collective operates under the mission to implement community initiatives that improve access to education, investments, opportunity, and sustainable services. “I learned that surrounding myself with people who can help me is like being surrounded by tangible Godliness,” Jasmine says. The group offers curated programs that are free to the community. They also host annual events, including a Back 2 School Drive and Coats N’ Cocoa, and collaborate with other organizations and businesses in Waco, and Waco ISD.
What motivates the group as a whole? They say, “God and people. Our love for God has inspired us to love people aloud. Our people inspire us so much. Knowing that we come from a strong people who have built so many things from the ground up is an inspiration. The tenacity and perseverance of those that have come before us will always be true inspirations. They did, we can.”
Like any other startup, The New Black Collective has endured its share of trial and error. One challenge they shared was that learning what works for them as a business and what doesn’t serve them has been pivotal in their journey. They were able to overcome such challenges through mentorship and counsel. “We believe one does not know everything. So we talk to people that know a little bit more than we do and apply what we’ve learned,” they said.
Moving forward, the plan for The New Black Collective is to be a legacy of labor and love. They also hope to expand and build sustainable and forward-thinking programs. To learn more about the program and to find ways on how to get involved with their programs, please visit their website.
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“I learned that surrounding myself with people who can help me is like being surrounded by tangible Godliness.”
Jasmine Bledsoe President
I Can See You
By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Felicia Reed Photography
It all comes down to what is seen through her eyes.
Arizona-based photographer Angelia Malbrew describes herself as a woman of God. She is also determined to create a life she loves and a legacy she can be proud of.
Angelia is a loving wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, mentor, educator, and successful entrepreneur. She is the oldest of two amazing daughters to her parents, whom she says were both solid and dedicated examples.
Angelia attended school in the hospitality state of Mississippi. In 2011, she made a move to Arizona and continued her education. Today, she is the owner of Angelia Malbrew Photography LLC. “I am a traveling luxury portrait photographer with a flare and a passion for making my clients look and feel like celebrities. I offer luxury portrait experiences by rolling out the red carpet and offering a full-on celebrity affair,” she says.
Angelia realized her love for photography many years ago, and making a career out of it only made sense. She shares, “I developed a love of photography when I received my first Polaroid camera when I was around 12 or 14 years old. I began taking photos of my family and friends at school, and little did I know that would be the start of something beautiful. My late father, Clayton, was a huge influence in my life, and watching him take everyone else’s photos at family gatherings is one of the reasons I fell in love with art. My cousin, the late Nate Edwards, motivated me and was never too busy to help or push me to become an amazing photographer.”
The excitement her clients express when they see her work is something Angelia says she loves about photography. “I love how their faces light up like a kid at Christmas when they see the back of my camera. I love how they get excited and cry when they see their images upon delivery. I also love being an artist blessed by God to create art and freeze time. I love what I do more than I could ever articulate, and I know I was born for this,” she says.
Understanding her purpose and being able to enjoy the success she has, Angelia would be remiss not to honor those who have impacted and inspired her the most. Her late grandmother, father, and mother ensured she would be upstanding, successful, and well-rounded. “I do what I do and keep going because God has an amazing purpose for me. My husband and family have been very supportive and kept me going when I needed them most. I owe it to them and myself, as well as other little brown girls that see me as an inspiration to be the best I can be.”
Some of the challenges Angelia says she has faced in business is trying to prove herself to those that aren’t familiar with the process of being photographed professionally. “Luxury isn’t cheap, and cheap isn’t luxury,” she says. Another challenge is educating and advising her clients about how important it is to have professional photographs and legacy portraits. “Sometimes, when people are used to doing things a certain way, it takes a bit of convincing and several connection advances to win them over. That’s ok, and I am here for it all. I welcome challenges.”
In the future, Angelia plans to take the world by storm, create more memorable portraits, and offer exceptional service to all that step in front of her camera. She also plans to continue taking her brand of photography around the globe. “I want to photograph people in every part of the world. My clients, fans, and viewers may miss the chance to travel, so I want to show them the world through my eyes. Keep watching, I am on my way,” she says.
Her advice to those who may follow a path similar to hers is to pray, work hard, pray some more, keep moving, and never give up on your dreams. She also says to stay humble and always find a way to give more than you take. h
A Voice For Autism
By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Marcus Boyd
As a young boy, Marcus Boyd was perceived as someone without a voice. Today, Marcus’s voice is heard and recognized on various levels and platforms. “I create and make things from nothing,” he says. The young folks say they got it out of the mud, but for me, I made a rose from concrete,” he says.
While he has Autism, Marcus doesn’t allow his condition to slow him down. Eleven doctors once told him in two states that he was brain dead and would never get an education. Those same doctors said to him that he would never talk or function on his own, that he would never cook or do anything for himself, and would rely on the assistance of a caregiver. Yet Marcus has defied their predictions; Marcus Marcus is a leader, a visionary, a goal-getter, a brand hustler, and an empire grinder.
Marcus says his past was horrific and full of challenges. “I was beaten, bullied, I had my ribs broken, I was peed on and even left for dead. He has lived in 17 foster homes, 16 group homes, 16 mental hospitals, and four inpatient centers. He has been homeless and ate from dumpsters as a means to survive. At his lowest point, Marcus tried to commit suicide, but God had other plans for him.
Marcus says he never imagined that he would become a brand and that others would be interested in his life. He knew he wanted to help change lives and help change the status quo of how people perceive Autism. In doing so, he has become an international, five-time award-winning Autism Activist. He works with governors, mayors, city council members, state senators, organizations, and foundations to produce rights, laws, and benefits for Autistic individuals and families in the United States and around the world. “I am using my testimony as a light to give hope to others who may be going through what I did. I want to bring acceptance, inclusion, awareness, justice, and new opportunities for Autistic families,” he says.
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So, how did Marcus begin? He shares it was during August 2017. He had already been diagnosed with Autism and rapped about his condition in some of his music. The music was fine, but he knew he had to take it to another level. He connected in Atlanta, GA, with Manisha Holiday, who he calls his Godmother. Manisha, a celebrity PR, encouraged Marcus to focus on sharing his story of being Autistic rather than his music. During that time, Marcus’s interest was music. Still, his ability to survive was more important, so he took Manisha’s advice and began using his platform to bring awareness to Autism and individuals infected by it, and the rest is history.
Marcus shares that he could not do all he does without God’s blessing. “With all the blessings God is allowing me to be a part of and do, I give God all the glory and honor. I worship His holy name because He is the reason for this season,” he says. The platform that Marcus is blessed to utilize, he says, is one of the things he loves most. “I love the amazing, incredible people I meet and the stories I hear. Having Autism and speaking up for Autism and the millions of voiceless individuals and their families is priceless. I spent fourteen years of my life being nonverbal and battling other conditions associated with Autism. Now I get to use my voice to help bring real change,” he says.
Being an Autism activist is not easy work, Marcus shares. “There are autism advocates who advocate for their child, family member, or a friend, and those who are actively on the battlefield operating with limited resources. I come from the projects and the ghetto, where grinding is celebrated, and few are educated, and that presents challenges for me.” One of the essential things Marcus has learned is to invest and believe in himself.
Along with God, Marcus acknowledges his grandmother as his greatest source of inspiration. “I couldn’t put a price on what my grandmother has done for me. She looked past my Autism, loved me, and forced me to tap into my own greatness,” he says. Marcus also says that his best friend, Queen Carter, for showing him how to love. He also says that Queen has greatly impacted his brand and cause. He shares other sources of inspiration: Gary Sinatra, Manisha Holiday, Tracy Bumpers, John Mcclung Jr., Minista Todd, Jacquetta Quashie, Tina Bridges, Veronica Tess Myers, Alexander Myers, Jessica Nash, Kathy Taylor, and Dorothy Carr.
As life continues to happen for Marcus, there is no telling what will happen next for him and his brand. In the meantime, Marcus will continue to use his voice and testimony to uplift others and fight for those affected by Autism. He encourages those interested to keep watching and believing in God’s plan. h
K-9 Safety Consultants LLC
By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Flem Peacher VI
Family is essential to Flem Preacher Sr. He is the sixth Flem Preacher in his family and the second generation of leadership in the K-9 Safety Consultants firm.
K-9 Safety Consultants LLC was launched on January 29, 1985, by founder Flem Peacher V of Detroit, Michigan. K9 Safety Consultants is a household name and brand people can trust. K9 Safety Consultants has trained private firms, law enforcement agencies, celebrities, athletes, and the general public. The “K9 Safety Method” enhances the relationship and communication between dog owners and their furry friends.
Flem Peacher VI, the company’s CEO, and his wife, Talitha Peacher, the company administrator, along with his sister, Flemesha (Peacher) Armstrong, president, are in charge of securing the family-run company for the next generation.
The founder of K-9 Safety Consultants was Flem Peacher V. This business was not just a job but a calling. Birth from tragedy, the founder Flem Peacher V built a legacy that would span over forty years.
“Our story started with a near-fatal mauling. When my dad was around thirteen, he was walking down the street, and a neighbor’s pit bull got loose. The vicious attack left my father close to death. Needless to say, that experience traumatized him. After surviving that attack, my father was terrified of dogs. It didn’t matter what kind. He couldn’t be around them or see them. If someone said the word, he would panic, looking around to see if there was a dog nearby. My grandfather was concerned and didn’t want his son to continue to live in terror. He firmly believed that the best way to get over your fear was to face them head-on. So, my grandparents bought my father a puppy. This helped him see that not all dogs were the same. As he bonded with the dog, my grandparents noticed that he had an unusual gift for training the dog. This confirms that everything happens for a reason. If not for the attack, the talent my father possessed may have never been revealed.”
After overcoming his fear, Flem’s father fell in love with dogs. Everyone around him noticed his unique gift of reading a dog’s behavior. They also noticed that he could train dogs to perform practically anything on command. Through experience, he began to develop what is known as the “K9 Safety Method.” This method has been proven and used worldwide to transform millions of dogs into model citizens. “After marrying my mother, my dad moved to Arlington, Texas, and went on to receive many specialty certifications. Including Schutzhund training.”
According to the United Schutzhund Clubs of America or USCA, “Schutzhund is a German word meaning “protection dog.” It refers to a sport that focuses on developing and evaluating dog traits that make them more useful and happier companions to their owners. Schutzhund’s work concentrates on three parts. Many are familiar with the obedience work of the American Kennel Club’s affiliates and will recognize the first two parts, tracking and obedience. The Schutzhund standards for the third part, protection work, are similar to those for dogs in police work.”
Upon returning to Detroit with his wife, young son, and daughter in tow, Flem’s father, saw the need to add another layer to the training of personal security dogs. “When my father moved us back to Detroit recognized that the dogs had to be able to discern their environment. With the crime rate as high as it was, the animal couldn’t properly protect its owner in the streets of Detroit if they weren’t trained to do so. So, he trained them in real conditions.”
This led Flem’s father to go door to door, offering his services. “He went from house to house asking people to let him transform their dogs. And that’s how it started. One house, one client, one dog at a time.” Eventually, word spread about the success Flem’s father was having, and their clientele grew. By the time Flem was ready to take over the business, the Peacher name was known by dog owners across the country.
One of the many things K-9 Safety consultants prides itself on is that they not only train the dog, but we train the owner. “What makes us unique is that we train the client and their dog. Because the dog is only as good as its handler, and the handler is only as good as the coach. As coaches, we have to educate and empower the handler. Once the owner or handler has completely bought-in to the theory behind what we do, you see a different kind of relationship between the dog and its owner.”
K-9 Safety Consultants’ “both sides of the leash” approach to training gives them success with dogs that most people won’t work with or own. “We are known for dealing with the dogs that most people have given up on,” Flem explains. “We have partnered with rescue organizations and taken on dogs sentenced to be euthanized. We’ve found that most people don’t know how to handle or respond to dogs with behavior issues. Like us, dogs have emotional issues and trauma, but they cannot express it the way we do. That’s where our approach excels.”
Flem and his sister Flemesha were raised watching, helping, and being trained by their father in the family business. Their mother was the executive administrator, and their father the CEO. Just like his name, Flem knew that K-9 Consultants would be passed on to him one day. At the age of twenty-one, he and his wife were newly married and had just purchased their first home. They were starting their new life together, and Flem was preparing to take up the torch when the recession hit.
“It had always been my dream to run the business, but because of the recession, there was no business. Our clients had to choose between paying basic utilities and paying for dog training. All I could do was stand by and watch our business, legacy, and my father’s hard work dry up. My father did everything he could to keep the doors open, but eventually, in about 2007, the banks foreclosed, and K-9 Safety Consultants was no more,” Flem confessed. With fewer clients, employees were laid off. “It was the toughest period in my life. We lost our home and our car. We lost everything. I’ve been a certified master trainer since I was thirteen. I didn’t know anything else.”
After losing everything, Flem found himself at what he said was his lowest point. “I had to work, so a friend connected me with a job as a part-time lunch aid, making $8.00 an hour. I was at my lowest point. My parents were multi-millionaires, so I never knew the kind of struggle I was experiencing. God was humbling me. Ministry wasn’t on my radar then, but God had plans.”
Taking the job as a lunch aid, Flem trusted that there was something bigger ahead. Like his dad, it wasn’t long before people noticed his unique talent. “The students at my school were rough. But they needed someone to give them structure and show them that they cared. Although I was just an aid, I didn’t sit by and allow them to be disrespectful. I knew how to give constructive discipline, and people took notice.”
Even in his dark place, God showed favor to Flem. Within ten years, he went from being a part-time cafeteria aid to Dean of students. “I didn’t want there to be a reason I couldn’t progress, so I went to school to show myself approved.” After losing everything, Flem and his family were finally starting to stand on firm financial ground. But the dream he thought was dead was only sleeping.
“K-9 Safety Consultants had closed physically, but it was always on my mind. So, once I made decent money and we were stable, I started training dogs again. I started just like my father did. I went door to door.” It wasn’t long before K-9 Safety Consultants was back in business with over two thousand clients. Flem could leave education and go full-time into the training business again.
The company continues to prosper and be a blessing to its community. They won the business of the year in 2022. And through their K-9 Cadet program, they have mentored twenty-five hundred children and youth, ages nine to eighteen, because the Peacher family legacy is bigger than dog training. They have also granted scholarships to students who what to further their education.
“This has truly been a rollercoaster ride, but I wouldn’t do anything differently. God has blessed us beyond measure with a life and legacy that I pray will last another forty years.”
“It had always been my dream to run the business, but because of the recession, there was no business. Our clients had to choose between paying basic utilities and paying for dog training. All I could do was stand by and watch our business, legacy, and my father’s hard work dry up.”
By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Timieka Tillman
Professional Hairstylist Timeka Tillman loves making people feel comfortable, relaxed, and, most importantly, beautiful. Timeka is the owner of Pensacola-based Loyalty Hair Studio.
“As a salon owner I love helping others grow. I also love to see people reach their goals. Most importantly, I teach others that God leads my path and having faith is a must,” she says.
Loyalty Hair Studio is a one-stop salon that specializes in something different. Their team consists of a barber, loctician, and hairstylist with a focus on natural and relaxed hair. Timeka says their clients always come first, and great customer service is their top priority.
Timeka is a native of Junction City, Kansas. At the young age of 17, she became a single parent to her son, Timothy. That experience, she says, sparked her drive and helped her focus on her future. She shares that her daughter, Tatayana was born extremely premature at just 25 weeks. That experience taught her about having faith and encouraged her to depend on God to lead and direct her path. Her youngest son, Tyking has taught her how to appreciate all that life has to offer.
Timeka graduated from Junction City High School in 2002. She says, “I knew Kansas was not where I wanted to stay. I wanted more for my son and me, so I moved to Pensacola in 2003. Once there, she worked different jobs before attending cosmetology school at Pensacola State College in 2010. Once acquiring her cosmetology license, Timeka would go on to work in several salons, she says, until God pushed her into ownership. In March 2020, right in the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic, Loyalty Hair Studio was born.
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Timeka says she was the little girl doing everyone’s hair, from French rolls to ponytails and pin curls. “God blessed these hands of mine.” Talented for sure, Timeka still had to build up an adequate clientele in order to sustain her business. After working for Regis corporation for five years, she transitioned to a booth rent-based salon. “That is where I learned that everybody doesn’t want to see me become successful. This is where I learned you must surround yourself with people who will help you win and grow,” she says. “After doing booth rental for a couple of years, God said that it was time. I can remember that day clearly. It was in February 2020, and I was on the phone with my aunt. I finally spoke the words of ownership.”
For years, Timeka had told herself to focus on her kids and owning a salon wasn’t in the cards for her. Yet, she confesses that God’s timing is all that matters. “God spoke to me and I packed up my belongings and started to look for a spot for me and my clients,” she says.
By now, it’s obvious that her kids are her biggest inspiration. She is also inspired by the love and support they continue to show her. As a business owner, she also advises others who may follow in her footsteps. “Don’t prolong something that’s not right, and don’t give people that have done you wrong a second chance, not when it comes to business. Surround yourself with people that want to see you win. Pray and ask God to lead you in the right direction because having faith and a relationship with God is the most important thing to have in business,” she shares.
The future looks bright for Timeka and Loyalty Hair Studio. Her goals moving forward are to enroll in classes that will allow her to offer different services. She also intends to teach others coming into the hair game about what she has learned. “I know I can help other stylists perfect their craft, and I also want to help aspiring entrepreneurs avoid many of the hardships I did. I also see myself organizing a Women’s Empowerment group to help young women grow to be their own boss. There are plans for a product and retail line as well. I have much more to offer in this world, and Loyalty Hair Studio is just the beginning,” she says.
Lomax Tax & Financial Services
By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by B Smith Photography
Kenya Lomax-Sims of Greenville, SC, is known as the “Queen of the $100 dollar Tax Return”. She is also the owner of Lomax Tax and Financial Services LLC, a full-service accounting firm dedicated to helping clients with their tax needs.
In addition to being a business professional, Kenya is a loving mother and wife to her husband Gregory, a union that has spanned ten years. Together, they have five kids; Antonio, Stephen, Erin, Nairuby, and Gregory Jr., and one grandson, Caidyn. Kenya grew up in a loving, religious household with an entrepreneurial spirit. Furthermore, being a business owner did not come by happenstance as her father, mother, cousins, and husband owned or still owned a business.
Her father was a pastor, businessman, and restaurant owner. From there, Kenya saw the good and the bad of running a business but still received the spark to start her own. Her mother opened Lomax Hats and Tax Boutique, and a cousin also ran a tax business. These two extraordinary ladies helped Kenya realize that she also wanted her own in the tax world.
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“We may be a small operation, but we have a big heart. We love our clients, and they love us back. This is what I love most about being a business owner, being able to serve others.”
Kenya began her journey from humble beginnings. With the help of her cousin and the motivation from financial gain, Kenya worked hard to create her tax firm. She worked with her for two years before working with her mother until she became an independent operation. Kenya worked job to job every tax season until being able to work it full-time in 2004. She would rent office spaces until God blessed her with space to call her own. “God has been the anchor to everything I have done,” she confesses.
In addition to being an accountant, Kenya is a real estate agent and life insurance producer with the Posey Group. Those additional skills have made Lomax Tax and Financial Services a full-service center capable of offering tax preparation, life insurance, and home sales. Lomax also provides free financial literacy consultations and tips to help others acquire the education and preparedness needed to operate a business effectively.
Launched in 2005, Lomax Tax and Financial Services is a small firm whose motto is, “Everyone is a name and not a number.” Kenya understands the needs of her clients and strives to ensure everyone who walks through her doors feels appreciated and welcome. “We may be a small operation, but we have a big heart. We love our clients, and they love us back. This is what I love most about being a business owner, being able to serve others. From birth, I was taught how to serve. Before you lead anyone, you have to know how to serve,” she says.
While there have been many great things Kenya has experienced as a business owner, she has also encountered some challenges. One of these was acquiring the needed capital to finance her business. Yet, she remained determined to succeed and persevered; by doing so, Lomax Tax and Financial Services LLC exist.
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Kenya shares that her desire to leave her children a legacy is what keeps her going. As she continues to grow, Kenya plans to make Lomax Tax and Financial Services a one-stop shop for everything taxes, financing, and real estate. She also wants to dispel any misconceptions others may have about the tax system. “Most people dread all things taxes and deathly fear the IRS. With us, there is nothing to fear. We are not the typical tax office that shuts its doors on April 15th. We are always accessible and will help each client every step of the way. This includes tax planning and tax preparation,” she says.
Her advice to others who may follow a similar path as she has is very clear. “No matter who you are, no matter what you have done, there is no limit to what you can do. I learned from my past that no matter how bad it gets, that nothing is too hard for God, and He will always make a way. I began in the back of an office building and eventually obtained the whole building. God opened up endless doors for me and allowed me to continue to work through Him,” she says. “If you desire to enjoy a career such as the one I have, I advise you to start working for a tax preparation business first and learn how to do the business. Be ready when it’s your turn to step out because it can come any minute.”
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To learn more about Lomax Tax and Financial Services LLC, please contact them directly or visit their website. Kenya Lomax-Sims Lomax Tax and Financial Services LLC 215 West Antrim Drive - Suite C Greenville, SC 29607 864-626-3143 www.lomaxfasttaxes.com h