Hello and Happy Sunday!
Well, the holiday season is finally upon us! I can imagine that the majority of you are preparing your home for arriving guests and making last minute adjustments to your Thanksgiving menus. Though I’m a lover of all things sunny and summery, I will admit that I do very much enjoy this time of year. I love the smell of a freshly cut trees and sweet and savory morsels taking turns baking in my oven. I love decorating my home with wreaths and ribbons, watching the anticipation in my grandchildren’s eyes as they await “Santa” and, of course, reflecting on the real meaning of why we celebrate this time of year. It has always been our tradition to put up our Christmas tree during the Thanksgiving weekend however; this year we’re postponing our celebration by a week. My daughter arrives from Portland on December 2nd and has requested (demanded…) that we have a full Thanksgiving/Christmas celebration while she’s in town. So, while you’re enjoying your roast turkey and dressing, macaroni and cheese, greens, sweet potato pies and German chocolate cakes, I’ll be going to watch Denzel Washington’s new movie before gearing up for an INCREDIBLY BUSY weekend of holiday shoppers!
Black RoyalTee will be kicking off the holiday shopping season at the Bronzeville Black Friday Night Market event at the Bronzeville Incubator, 300 East 51st Street. There will be food, a DJ and plenty of fun! This is a FREE event so come out and enjoy yourself while shopping for some unique gifts!
On Saturday and Sunday, we’ll be at the Connect South Shore Arts Festival from 12-9 each day. This event will be held in several boutiques along 71st street so I encourage you to grab a cup of hot cocoa and take a leisurely stroll down the promenade – you’re sure to find some absolutely lovely items to give to those on your “nice” list - you might even find a lump of coal for the few on your "naughty" list!
We hope that you’ll be able to make it out to these events but, if not, we’ll have holiday specials on our website throughout the season. This week, our T-Shirts continue to be marked down to $28 AND you get a free mug with purchase! You simply can't beat a sweet deal like that - purchase yours today!
Featured Black Business!
A few weeks ago, we launched the Buy Black page on our website which features local business that are Black Owned. Today, I’m featuring one of our newest members to the page – Tami Yarbrough, owner of Cheryl Renee’s Things. Tami creates absolutely gorgeous jewelry that she sells online and at events. Tami graciously answered a few of my questions on how she started her business and what inspires her.
What made you start a business?
I always knew as a kid that I would own my own business. I had a deep passion for it and come from a family of business owners so maybe that’s why. I would see myself in my dreams riding in my car with my briefcase and suit! I always thought I would open a restaurant or a beauty salon, but it ended up being an online jewelry store. I also thought about my younger sister Cheryl Renee who passed away at 20 years old. She never had a chance to enjoy her life because she was always sick. I decided to dedicate my jewelry business to her and called it Cheryl Renee’s Things in honor of the life she missed. All my pieces are beautiful things she did not have a chance to have but now she does, and we are sharing it with the world. She was such a beautiful soul.
I was always fascinated with jewelry as a little girl but what really got me started with designing jewelry is when I met a friend who showed me how to bead a necklace. It was just a simple beaded necklace but as I was beading the necklace, something awakened inside of me. It was like a puzzle that had a missing piece and me beading that necklace was the missing piece. I instantly knew that this was a gift I had hidden inside of me. From that point on I started designing necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings. I was a little rusty at first and had to take some classes, but I kept at it; I am still learning new things all the time.
From where or what do you draw your inspiration?
I draw my inspiration from everywhere. I am very observant, and I notice everything. I watch people and what they wear, and I always think about how I can make them look more beautiful with one of my unique pieces from Cheryl Renee’s jewelry. I sometimes have visions and dreams about jewelry designs that I’ll try and recreate them.
What types of gems, beads and materials do you use?
I use authentic stones from all over the world such as; opal, tiger eye, hematite, agate, rose quartz, jasper, jade, and jasper to name a few. For earring hooks, I use, titanium, platinum color, silver-plated, sterling silver, and stainless steel that are cadmium, nickel and, lead free. For necklaces I use wire, string, chains, illusion cord, along with authentic beads and centerpieces. I also paint wooded pieces and solder some pieces.
How long does it take make a piece?
It depends on the piece. Most earrings take me about 15 minutes to make but necklaces and bracelets can sometimes take me up to a week to make because of the type of design and the creative process I go through to make the piece look unique.
How do decide your color schemes and designs?
As I shop for the beads and other pieces I need to design a piece I just let my creative juices flow as I browse and whatever comes to me at that moment I pick it and start my design. I see the beads and close my eyes and let my imagination flow. If someone requests a special design I will create that design for them.
When starting your business, what was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was to just do it the rest was easy. I keep procrastinating because I am a Director at a non-profit and I work with at risk youth who are very needy, so I have always put them first and my needs second till one day I said, if I don’t’ do this now I am going to regret it when I get older.
What’s your best success story (so far...)
My best success story is every time someone tells me how beautiful my pieces are and every time someone walks away wearing one of Cheryl Renee’s designs. It lets me know that I did not make a mistake in deciding to do this. It is what I love.
Finally, do you have any holiday specials?
Yes! Mention (Renee21) when you come to any event that I'm attending and receive 30% off one of our hand crafted pieces (my events are listed on the website). I'll be listing sale items on my website in the coming weeks which will last through the holidays.
Please support Tami during this holiday season. Her pieces are absolutely gorgeous! you can find her by going to our Buy Black page and clicking on her photo link in the Accessories section.
Finally – this is the week! Our new mugs are arriving sometime in the next few days and should be in our possession by the end of this week. I can’t WAIT to ship them out to everyone who’s ordered them. For those who haven’t, you need wait no longer – purchase yours today!
As always, we would be nothing without your support. We appreciate each and every one of you and we recognize that without YOU there would be no US! Thank you for being with us on every step of this journey and we and wish for you and your family a very happy and safe Holiday Season.
Until next time,
(PS - Happy Birthday Sean-Patrick! The oldest cub is 28 today. You are the light in my life and the joy in my heart - I love you to the moon and back!!!)