She Warriors

DSC_0091
Walk hand in hand with other warriors; we are His army.

When my husband got assigned to McLennan County I did not know what that meant for me.  If I would have known that moving to Waco would take me through a journey of healing I wouldn’t have put up such a fight.  I knew nothing about Waco other than the fact that some sort of cult once was here, you know the one.  To be honest I didn’t even know what Magnolia was until I came here.

What I found here in Waco had nothing to do with the power duo.  What I found in Waco is a strong sex trafficking survivor and advocate whirlwind.  It swept me off my feet into a rapid cycle of self discovery, self-healing, community, and mentorship.  Jesus met me here; not that He ever left my side but He planned this move ever so precisely.  It was here that I told my husband my truth, it was here that I found actual people fighting the spiritual war for survivors, it was here I became one of those warriors for my fellow survivors, and it was here that I found my voice.  Swimming amongst the waves crashing down on me that would normally send me tumbling down to the bottom of the ocean was a non-profit named; Jesus Said Love.  It almost felt as if someone’s heart was beating the exact same spiritual dance with mine when I dug deep into what JSL stood for.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Emily Mills and Brett Mills; the founders of Jesus Said Love as my time goes on here in Waco.  Those that know me well know that I walk strongly and that my character is usually unshakeable.  I’m not the type of woman who is easily bound to call another woman an inspiration.  Women in general are inspirations to me but to actually feel someone’s Jesus radiate through their presence is beyond being inspired.  I can literally watch the beacon of His light calling people near to Him when I look into Emily’s eyes.  Emily and her team are doing the hard work and working with those that seem to have been forgotten when Jesus called us to love ALL people.  Emily is human; sure.  She has flaws and some days I’m sure she falters.  But one thing is undeniable, she has surrendered to Him and because of that she has taught people like me to journey into doing the same.  I hope that her words bring you empowerment, wisdom, and the drive to go out and DO.

DSC_0106
Allowing someone to lead you is sometimes part of His plan.  Even the strongest people need to be encouraged and poured into.

 

Tell me in your words WHO is Jesus Said Love?
We are family – I got all my sistas (and brothers, and kids and husband with me!)  That’s really it – we’re a family, a space of belonging for those impacted by commercial sex.

What was it about your life that led you to want to work specifically with what some call “the forgotten”? Why do you think it’s important to serve this specific group of people?
Well what I know now, is NOT what I knew 15 years ago.  I know now the story of my own trauma, of abuse and neglect, I know that trauma is trauma and bears many different faces.  I think God leads us to others who mirror our trauma so that we can find healing in Christ. Most of us are asleep, numb, coping and while God is always mirroring our need for healing, we are so doped up (even on good things) that we refuse to see how broken we truly are.

I know now that my history of childhood sexual abuse and being seen as a sexual object as my growing body blossomed and developed left me wounded, but also with eyes to see other women who were bearing the scars of a misogynistic culture.

What do you want people to know about Jesus Said Love?
First I want people to know that you probably know someone who’s been impacted by the commercial sex industry. We want to know her, or him. If you know someone, share our number with them, pass our contact along, spread the word that we are HERE!

Second, we need YOU. We can’t walk alone. You have a story and you have an ability to influence our family for the better.  This work takes a village and we need your support, your skills, your talents, your time and connections.

I love watching how much you pour into people and how God has made you a bright beacon of hope in women’s lives; how do you stay full when you pour out to so many?
I sit, I am intentional about silence and solitude, I sing/worship/create/write, I love the Scriptures, I pray, I do yoga, I LOVE my husband and kids, I meet with friends weekly who fill me up.

If you could go back to when you began this journey, what one piece of advice would you give yourself?
To get into Al-Anon sooner! No joke. My disease is multi-faceted: I am attracted to addicts.  I didn’t know how many boundary issues I had, how codependency ran my life, how aggressive females made me shut down but I was also attracted to them, desiring to win them over, I had control issues, I tried so hard to be perfect. My view of Christ and the church was one-dimensional.  I needed recovery and should have been there years ago.

One of the things I love about JSL is that is a ministry led by husband and wife; why do you think it’s important for men to be involved in this movement? 
Oh, you’re lighting a fire!  The commercial sex industry is simple economics: the supply is fed by the demand. When the demand stops, the supply will as well. Most of the demand is fed and fueled by men: white, college educated men (as far as the data shows for now). We are seeing more women using pornography (which fuels the demand for prostitution and strip clubs), but this is largely because they are researching what men are wanting of them. But once they’re inside the world of a pornographer, they are at the mercy of their bodily responses: dopamine, adrenaline…arousal. That’s a physiological issue, not just a “moral” issue. You can read more about porn’s harmful effects at www.fightthenewdrug.com

But as far as what’s moving Brett and I together in this is that we believe God created male and female to rule and reign in the kingdom – together. equals. We believe that the future should never be a choice between male OR female but – HUMAN. Both. Male AND Female. All. We believe that there’s resistance to this work because it’s asking men to undo some of the language and humor and practices they’ve been born and raised with. It’s also asking women to look at what might have worked to survive, but isn’t God’s desire for a flourishing world. It became really impossible for Brett to be so involved in this work with women who represented the “supply chain” of the sex industry and not tackle the root of demand.

You have become one of my biggest inspirations and I love how you allow God to use you. If you had the platform to speak to EVERY woman on Earth what would you say to them?
Settle down and settle in.  Turn off the noise of your phone,your insta, your whatever that is keeping you spinning and full of noise and LISTEN.  As my nun friend told me, “you begin at beloved.” You started there. Yes you did. The world,  or maybe your family, even church, for sure culture, definitely your ego, well….the darkness, twisted and trapped you into believing that you were less than and disposable, that you weren’t lovable as is.  They said you were too hard and you couldn’t do what you dreamed of doing. That your childlike wishes were fairy tales and your lust for beauty was so “dramatic”. They said that you were so annoying for creating order but then for being too messy, so you got all confused. The darkness said you just needed to fall in line and take care of small things. So you did, you perfected every little small thing or lived so small that you refused everything. You quit.  And you got hurt.  Someone betrayed, mocked, raped, hit, and scolded you when you were just being so small.  So, you became ashamed of yourself. Why? Because small didn’t fit you. You thought all of this was your fault. You bore the shame of others and started making agreements then vows with the darkness. You began listening to pitiful voices that were so narrow, but they helped you get through.

The darkness is full of bullshit lies. But –  you have to untangle those lies to get to freedom so i need you to work on yourself in the gentlest and simplest of ways. This is the biggest and grandest work you will do with yourself because it’s the holy work of God and will impact the world for the kingdom of Light and Love and Beauty.  How do you do this? Settle down and settle in. Get quiet. The silence has medicine for your soul that no counselor on earth could prescribe.  The silence will say “hello love.” And you’ll have all sorts of wonderful support in the silence. So much that when you get up to move you will run and play and create and do with a strength that the world marvels at.

 

Anything else you want people to know about Jesus Said Love?
YES!!!! SHOP LOVELY AND CHANGE LIVES!

Lovely is online, on insta and at 1500 Columbus! It is the social enterprise of Jesus Said Love! Money spent there fuels JSL, helps us to employ the women we reach with living wage jobs, and helps us launch micro businesses like Luna Juice Bar!
Seriously! follow us on social media and shop with us for Christmas!
DSC_0110
Emily, thank you for helping God guide me into my purpose.  Thank you for being vulnerable in your story and for allowing me to be just a little piece of your life.  Thank you for being my fellow she warrior.

You can check out and give to Jesus Said Love here:  Take Me!

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we walk by faith, not by sight.

DSC_0250
DSC_0221

The Black Daisy Boutique

DSC_0135

Now that our boutique series has come to an end I really wanted to think about how I wanted to close it out.  I couldn’t think of a better way than to tell you my why.  I remember going to the fashion district with my grandmother as a really young child and being mesmerized by the oceans of colorful fabric we floated through.  I would run my fingers through as much of the clothing as I possibly could.  I felt in my soul that I wanted to grow up to do what she did.  She wasn’t just a boutique owner but she was a seamstress who delicately and beautifully created some of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever seen.  She owned a “pop up” boutique more than 30 years ago before owning a boutique was a thing.  People would come from all over the city to peruse through my grandmother’s distinct taste; she was the definition of a hustler.  Not in the let me take your money sense but in a how can I serve my community to make money sense.  I mean we lived in the hood and my grandmother made a name for herself.

As I became an adult I had lost that passion of mine; the dream had died.  Somehow, I came full circle and there isn’t a moment that I don’t feel like my grandmother is smiling down at me as I follow in her entrepreneurial footsteps.  I have held jobs as a paralegal, accounting assistant, retail management, office management, and almost every other position other than the food industry.  I never felt fulfilled until I started my journey as a boutique owner.  Let me be honest, I got fired from quite a bit of my previous positions and I’m not mad at it.  Serving women has become a wild fire in my life.  My love for Jesus burns madly in the way I run my business.  I literally scream love yourself, don’t put yourself down, you are beautiful, you are worthy, and YOU CAN at The Black Daisy.  As a woman that has overcome homelessness, drug addiction, trafficking, and abuse I want you to know that YOU CAN.  The Black Daisy is much more than just a place that sells you clothes; it is a place where you gain friendship.

Why did you choose your boutique name and what does it mean to you?

The color black is seen as something so dark but also so beautiful.  A daisy is often a wildflower that is seen as a weed.  People usually pull them from their roots and throw them away.  When I see a daisy I see a wildflower that bloomed without being planted.  No human intervention; just a flower that freely bloomed.  Beautiful, independent, and able to bloom wherever the wind takes it. And so The Black Daisy literally means beauty coming out of darkness.  Something beautiful coming out of something dark.  That is how I often view my life and how I see the girl looking back at me through my reflection.

What is your purpose as a business owner?

I feel completely ridiculous sometimes when I say that my purpose is not the money that the business makes.  I believe that God has made The Black Daisy my ministry.  As a business owner I’m able to reach so many women that come from many different walks in life.  I don’t live quietly in shame.  I live loudly in my testimony and my love for Him.  I want others to see what is possible and that your circumstances do not define your future.

What is the biggest misconception customers have about you as a boutique owner?

That it’s easy!  I have watched so many women start boutiques who have shut down almost as quickly as they started.  There’s so much behind the scenes work that goes into this.  I work 7 days a week from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I go to bed.  And sometimes my part time girls make more money than I do.  THAT is the loudest testimony that I’m not in this for the money.  I don’t focus on the monetary aspect but on the how can I help my community aspect.  Through that mindset I have been blessed!

When you hear the words “empowering women” what does that mean to you?  And do you feel you play a role in it?

I used to be the girl that would so quickly judge you or dislike you just because I felt like it.  I was constantly trying to be the best and I was so focused on coming out on top that I never stopped to pick up the ones that were falling behind me.  Becoming an owner of a woman focused business has completely changed me.  God has completely changed me.  I much rather help someone that is coming in last finish the race than I am about being first.  It literally tears me apart when a woman walks in the store and puts herself down.  I can’t stand women tearing other women down.  I will wash your feet and lay out my best clothes for you to not get your feet dirty.  I live to cheer women on, to embrace their flaws, and to rebuild their pedastals when society has torn them down.  I am women’s biggest cheerleader in my mind!

Anything else you want people to know about you and your boutique?

I am not like a lot of boutiques when it comes to my mission; and that’s okay!  I never want anyone to feel like they have to out me.  Yes I was a drug addict, yes I slept behind dumpsters, yes I was trafficked, and yes to probably anything you’ve heard about me.  I don’t want anyone to ever feel like they know secrets about me.  My loud testimony was given to me by God so that others may find hope in times that hope feels dead.  Hope is never dead friends.  There is NO situation that can keep you from living your dreams. Your future is bright!  Hold on to that!

I was really excited to do this series and want to thank these ladies one last time!  I have no idea what I’m doing in this blog world but I love life that way!  I just dive in feet first and swim against the current.  It’s how I roll!
DSC_0036

– If you’ve read this far; THANK YOU.  I am doing this blogging thing my way because the rebel in me doesn’t live in a box.  I hope you continue to walk on the edge with me!

Check out The Black Daisy Boutique here:
Storefront:
10412 China Spring Road Suite G
Waco, Texas 76708

Also find us at:
The Vibe in McGregor, Texas.
Junque Queens in Uptown Waco, Texas
The Hub in Temple, Texas

Website: The Black Daisy
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blackdaisyboutique
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/blackdaisyboutique

Thank you Christiana for your photography skills!  Check her out here: Christiana Vega Photography

Fox & Gray

DSC_0059
Let me tell you about Summer from Fox & Gray.  We’ve already established that I’m a “hey let’s be friends” kind of girl.  My husband and I had finished up with a date at Hecho en Waco in downtown Waco when I noticed a cute store name that caught my attention. I looked at it and asked my husband, “Should we go in there?”  I think sometimes people think it’s taboo to go into another boutique as a business owner.  However, I thrive in going in and enthusiastically introducing myself to the owner.  Sometimes I’m greeted with the same amount of joy and let’s be honest; sometimes I’m looked at like I got the word S-T-U-P-I-D written across my forehead.  The cool thing about is that I don’t care.  I continue to do it because I’m awesome (that can be argued).

Fox & Gray is such a beautiful store I was immediately ooh’ing and ahhh’ing as we walked around.  Summer was standing behind the register and every time I glanced over she smiled at me.  Every single time ya’ll, and yes it was a lot because I’m creepy.  We finally walked over and I introduced myself and let me just say that she gave me one of the warmest welcomes I’ve ever had in downtown Waco after introducing myself as a boutique owner.  We held a conversation until my husband dragged me out of there and we have stayed in touch since then.  She is hands down one of my top three favorite stores downtown; I can guarantee it will be yours too.  Get to know a little behind the story of Fox & Gray…

Why did you choose your boutique name and what does it mean to you?

The store is named after my two kids. I have a 3-year-old boy named Jameson Gray and a 1-year-old girl named June Fox. They are why I do it all.

What is your purpose as a business owner?

Other than the obvious purpose of making money to help support my family, there are a couple other things I love about owning a boutique. First is the amazing young women I have met who I have been able to both mentor and learn from. I have been so lucky to discover what incredible unique creative women Waco has to offer. Second, I think fashion is one of the greatest ways we can express ourselves as human beings. To be able to provide that opportunity at affordable prices and help women find clothes and accessories that make them feel good about themselves is very fulfilling.

What is the biggest misconception customers have about you as a boutique owner?

That I can read and do math. I think people assume that you have certain traditional business skill sets to be a business owner, but I have struggled with learning disabilities my whole life. In high school I was labeled as someone who wouldn’t have the ability to excel professionally because of these struggles. Despite these challenges, I was able to find a passion in the fashion world and find my tribe of creatives once I left the small town I grew up in. I surround myself with people who can help supplement some of my weaker areas and it has allowed me to thrive and enjoy having my own business.

When you hear the words “empowering women” what does that mean to you?  And do you feel you play a role in it?

I was so lucky to have a mom who taught me from the beginning that I could do anything and I didn’t need a man (or anyone else) to do it.  From as far bas as I remember, my mom was empowering me.  I love passing on that to my staff and the other women I interact with as a business owner.  I teach and pushy my staff to “go all the places and do all the things”.  I have also been fortunate to become part of a couple different women business owner networks.  It is inspiring and encouraging to be lifted by a community that is passionate and driven as we all navigate what can still be a tough road as a women entrepreneur.

Anything else you want people to know about you and your boutique?

We offer personal styling services. I know how important it was in my life to figure out the types of clothes and styles that worked best for my body. This knowledge made such a positive impact on my confidence as I navigated the fashion world. I have worked as a professional and celebrity stylist and have styled for the Golden Globes and Emmys among other things. I love bringing that experience to any person who wants to learn the best ways to dress themselves. We all have different body types and different things we are wanting to accomplish with our clothing choices and I love working with women to help them achieve those goals. It has had such an impact on my clients psyche and  is my favorite part of what I do.

If you’re a fan (which I’m sure you will be after this) follow Fox & Gray and their happenings here:

Website: http://www.foxandgraywaco.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/foxandgraywaco
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/foxandgraywaco

Main photo: Christiana Bowles Photography

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Summer, thank you for saying yes to my project.  For not shrugging me off when I asked you to be part of this.  For being willing to learn and teach those around you! You are a breathe of fresh air.

Hinge

DSC_0078
I met the amazing Kristy Hill like I met so many of my entrepreneur friends; at a vendor event!  I signed up for an event at the Baylor Club in Waco, Texas.  Little did I know that this is kind of a snazzy joint.  So as I was sweating and hauling my Black Daisy Boutique goodness up and down that elevator to set up my booth I noticed the people next to me seemed to have their life a little more together.  I was probably in sweat pants and a t-shirt because setting up booths is a workout! I can literally hear Richard Simmons every time I set up a booth.  You don’t know who that is?  Well either I’m old or you’ve been under a rock! Sorry squirrel moment.I watched Kristy as she meticulously placed every single item of hers as so.  I watched her change her displays over and over again until she was completely satisfied.  I on the other hand was slinging stuff because my main objective was more like HOW CAN I MAKE THIS CRAP FIT!  I drive a 4-door sedan so there’s no glorious display for The Black Daisy ever.  I make up for the lack of amazing displays with my crazy Rainbow Bright personality.  Or at least that’s what I like to tell myself.  Don’t crush my dreams.

We quickly started up a conversation and she could never get rid of me after that.  I’ve watched her open her GORGEOUS storefront and although she’s been around for a while in the business world I’m still so proud of her.  Meet Kristy ya’ll… she’s a peach!

Why did you choose your boutique name and what does it mean to you?

I chose my name because I was sharing space at Spice Village with a friend. We wanted our stuff to compliment each other. A hinge is two pieces working together.

What is your purpose as a business owner?

My purpose as a business owner is to provide a unique shopping experience to my customers. I want to have a business I can be proud of and that people will remember. I have always dreamed of having my own business so for me that is a dream come true. I have worked hard to get here and couldn’t be more proud.

What is the biggest misconception customers have about you as a boutique owner?

Most common misconception people have of me as a boutique owner is I would say they probably think it’s easy. I think people in general think having your own business would be the best thing ever and easy! I love what I do but it is tough!

When you hear the words “empowering women” what does that mean to you? And do you feel you play a role in it?

“Empowering women” in my opinion is vital to our future! I want my daughter to feel she can do anything she puts her mind to. I feel women have worked their asses off in history to get us to where we are today! I appreciate everything they have done for us. Women as business owners are just down right tough and tenacious. Really though rather you are a man or a woman being successful starts with our attitudes and our willingness to work hard.

Anything else you want people to know about you and your boutique?

I have been around clothing shops as far back as I can remember. My grandmother had worked in them since she started working. I grew up around dress shops and learned the ins and outs from her. Also we had a shopping addiction! She passed away a few years ago but I hope she would have been very proud of Hinge!
Keep up with Hinge here:

1518 Austin Avenue
Waco, Texas 76701
42200207_350816958995062_8755582525599907840_n
Kristy, thank you for your friendship and for being part of this series!  

Website: http://www.hingewaco.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hingewaco

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/hingewaco

Main photo: Christiana Bowles Photography

The Whistlin’ Willow

FCC38F2A-26B4-481C-9DD9-A0625E7D4BF7

Do you know that girl you see from a distance and you’re instantly catching yourself admiring how radiant she is? And then at the same time you automatically don’t even like her because of how beautiful she is? Yeah me neither; never felt that way in my life.

Except this one time I was doing an event with The Black Daisy and I see this tiny and gorgeous girl walk by. She was wearing bell bottoms and a big floppy hat with free-spirited boho jewelry and I thought to myself; yassss girl! It’s not every day you find someone who has a wild spirit fashion sense in this town so I was immediately drawn to her.

I walked over to her booth and it was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. She was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. And then for half a second I almost got intimidated but I remembered I’m a G and G’s are thugs. And thugs don’t get intimidated. Throughout the last couple of years I can confidently say that Becca is one of the most beautiful women I know inside and out. Here’s some of her beautiful mind at work.

Why did you choose your boutique name and what does it mean to you?

The Willow tree is a very strong, fast-growing tree. It can withstand many conditions. Within a matter of time, it is fully grown and beautiful standing tall in the world. It goes with the flow of the wind. I like to think of our mission as a brand is to empower each other and build each other up to withstand any obstacle thrown our way. Standing tall, growing quickly and being confident in who we are.

What is your purpose as a business owner?

I love seeing ladies stepping out of their comfort zones and being confident while doing it. I have so many ladies who are “too old,” “too fat,” “too pale,” (the list could go on forever) to wear what they want. Scared to even try something on because someone may see an imperfection in them. I’m here to build your confidence in trying something new. Even if you don’t like, you at least tried.

What is the biggest misconception customers have about you as a boutique owner?

Customers forget that I work with all shapes and sizes. They think that because I am a 25-year-old size 2 that I can’t help. I’ve heard all the excuses as to why they can’t shop with me without them actually trying. This makes ladies trusting me to dress them all the more special to me.

When you hear the words “empowering women” what does that mean to you? And do you feel you play a role in it? 

Empowering women means showing them that they are more than the thoughts they may have about themselves. They are not their imperfections. They are not their stretch marks, big hips, or even their “flabby” arms. Letting those thoughts consume you is exhausting, and not everyone is going to see you the way you do. I’m here to remind them of that. I’m here to remind them that they are not their thoughts. Shopping should be fun.

Become part of The Whistlin’ Willow’s Clique:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thewhistlinwillow

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/thewhistlinwillow

Website: http://www.thewhistlinwillow.com

You can visit them at:

222 North Main

West, Texas 76691

4BD99F2C-64ED-40A8-A145-AEDFBDF9E262

Becca; thank you for being my go to vent sister and saying yes to this crazy blogging adventure. I admire you more than you know!

Main picture: http://www.instagram.com/christianabowlesphotography

 

 

Lemon Grove Boutique

DSC_0087.jpg

When I first started The Black Daisy Boutique I worked tons of vendor events where I would set up a booth with clothing to try to grow my business.  A lot of times I spent a lot more time googling things like, “Does la llorona steal children over the age of 15″ and “How do I lighten my armpits with a home remedy” than I did actually selling clothes.  One of my favorite things about doing events was getting to meet other entrepreneurs.  Most of the time the other entrepreneurs at these events were women and there was never a day that I didn’t feel in my element.

That’s how I met my very first boutique sister; Ragen Polansky.  From my booth I saw a spunky redhead with gorgeous blue eyes and her laughter literally was the first thing that made me notice her.  Being the girl that I am I walked over to her and the rest is history!  We have done many events together, shared some wine, butted heads, tried failed business ventures, and most importantly we have created a boutique sisterhood where we do the dang thing together.  We have watched each other’s boutiques grow and I would love for you to love her the way I love chips and queso.  A lot; that means a lot. Here’s a little about the woman behind The Lemon Grove Boutique!

Why did you choose your boutique name and what does it mean to you?

I chose my name based on the lemon groves in Sorrento, Italy.  My husband and I honeymooned there, and inside of those huge lemon groves, it is like a different world where everything seems a little more beautiful. It really was paradise to me!

What is your purpose as a business owner?
My goal as a business owner is to design my own life and live by my own rules. I also want to focus on supporting the community that supports me.

What is the most common misconception people have of you as a boutique owner? That it’s easy! Building a boutique is like an iceberg. People only see that you post cute clothes on Facebook, but they don’t see all the behind the scenes work that goes along with it.

When you hear the words “empowering women” what does that mean to you? And do you feel you play a role in that?
Empowering women means to lift them up instead of putting them down like so many women do. Women have enough ground to make up in life without other women knocking them down too. At the end of the day, it’s all about just being kind. While I always make an effort to be kind to people, I sometimes forget that what I do empowers women. That seems like such a bold statement to make about myself. But then a woman will tell me just how much they needed that good outfit to help them get over a break up, or to raise their self-esteem, or make them feel like themselves after having a baby… and I realize that in my own small way, I am empowering women.

Anything else you want people to know about you and your boutique?
Lemon Grove Boutique is all about the hard-working, girl bossing, wine drinking woman. We work hard, have fun, and try to do our part to make the world a little brighter.

Become part of Lemon Grove’s Possee!
You can also find her at The Vibe in Mcgregor, Texas!
Website: www.lemongroveboutique.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lemongroveboutique
Facebook VIP: www.facebook.com/groups/lemongrovevip
Instagram: www.instagram.com/lemongroveboutique

41741978_223808638493631_6697804225969127424_nRagen; thank you for being part of this series!  You are my favorite red head and I hope the world can gain something good from your words!

Main photo of Ragen:

Christiana Bowles Photography 

Girl Gang

Girl Gang
Community over competition.

The words girl gang resonates something in me that makes me want to shout, “You Can’t Sit With Us!”  It’s no secret that being a mean girl was something I was really good at.  A few years ago I received a private message from someone I was not very nice to in High School and they were very blunt.  They said that it was really hard for them to watch me grow into this happy successful person because I was such a horrible person in my teenage years.  I cried as I read that because I never realized how deeply being unkind to someone over 20 years ago affected their self-image.  That was a pivotal moment in my life where I decided that being a mean girl was not what I was made for.  I was made for so much more.

When I began my business as the owner of The Black Daisy Boutique I knew that I wanted it to be different from anything I’ve ever done before.  Little did I know that God would turn my business venture into my ministry.  I love finding rad fashion for our customers but most importantly I love building relationships with people who walk through my door.  From very early on I set out to empower women through my boutique.  I had no idea what that even meant or how I would set out to do that but I knew that I had just walked into my purpose.

I so deeply wanted to write about other boutique owners and their stories.  Who they are and why they are.  I had a crazy idea to have a photo shoot with other owners local to me here in Waco, Texas.  Why would a boutique owner take away focus from her own boutique to talk about other boutiques?  Because that’s what empowering women looks like to me.  In my mind it was so uncomfortable for me to ask other boutique owners if they would be willing to be featured in my non-existent blog.  I am not a woman who shies away or gets uncomfortable.  I am a I GOT THIS woman with a fierce drive.  Still I thought, why would anyone ever say yes? When I reached out to some of my favorite boss babes they chest bumped me and made up rap songs about how gangster my idea was.  Totally not true, but it sounded cool huh?

I am thrilled to share their stories and businesses with you.  I want to hold other women on a pedestal because this isn’t about me.  This should never be about me.  This is about the beautiful warriors that surround me and have made something out of nothing.  Have made their own YES when the world has said NO.  Stay tuned for a series of boutique owners that I admire and that are total bad a** boss babes.

I dream of a world where community supersedes competition.  Where women thrive together, hand in hand, and encourage each other to reach goals.  Greed and money will say nothing of you when you leave this world.  However, movements will leave a legacy.  Be a legacy, be a warrior, be one who empowers, be the type of person who takes off their crown and crowns the woman who was told she would never be queen. – Sthefanie

Christiana Bowles Photography