On Building Together
by Tanei Atagi Henry
When I was 22 years old, I sat in a room of about thirty-five women. I was one of the youngest women in the group. This was back in the day when I saw 50 year-old women as “old.” (I had a lot to learn.) Even though at first I didn’t feel connected to this group of older women, as I listened to these women share their life experiences and core beliefs with each other, I was in awe of how much wisdom each woman had to impart. Hearing how they turned their life obstacles into victories inspired me.I felt so lucky to be there in the presence of these ordinary women who were accomplishing extraordinary things in their everyday lives. Not one of them was an Olympian, or a famous blogger (blogs weren’t yet a thing really), but each of these women used her strengths to improve herself, her knowledge, and her situation.
Simply writing about this indelible memory and revisiting these feelings of awe makes me want to build myself, and build an environment where others feel inspired to build as well. I want to be a woman who builds other women, young girls, and safe environments for women to grow and learn.
In this phase of my life, four women play an essential part in helping me grow and in building a better community. Each of these ladies is very different from me. Their unique perspectives expand my views on the world. They call me out when other people don’t, because they care enough to dig for the true me that lies below the surface. One of these women is a former college roommate. Two of them are old enough to be my mom and their children are grown. The fourth woman has kids who are close in age to my own. I text/call/email my small tribe of women with crazy ideas and questions about life and sometimes I just call to vent. These women are my people. They are free with their words and we have a special rapport that we’ve built up over the years. The key to our relationships is that I can feel that they are invested in me.
While these women I’ve mentioned have constantly been a part of my life for years, there is also a steady stream of women who weave in and out of the different stages of my life These influential women include my 2nd grade teacher, my church youth leaders, my aunts, my sisters, my mom, my drama teacher, my workout partner, my coworker, my neighbor, my daughter’s friend’s mom, and even a Facebook group that I got invited to join. No matter where I meet these women who are a part of my support system, I always find that I learn something meaningful and unique from each one.
We would love to hear from you about what you are building. Why does connecting with other women entrepreneurs matter to you? Tell us what you think in a comment below or an email (BraidWorkshop@provo.org).
It's truly amazing how much this Braider has accomplished. Follow along belong to read about the multi-tasking and multi-talented Tara Brooke.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Mom, entrepreneur, and creative.
Tell us about the brand that you are hoping to grow.
My brand is Miss Tara Brooke and I’m a hair stylist at Salon 359, a fashion stylist, and I co-own Center Style Studio, a photography studio in Downtown Provo.
What inspired you to start?
After finishing two years of college, I realized that I wasn’t going to learn what I wanted to there. I’m a creative and a people person, so styling hair made a lot of sense to me. A little bit into my hair styling career, a friend asked for my help styling a fashion shoot and one thing led to another with that. I started styling more shoots, especially for musicians here in Provo, and connected with local brands, photographers, and bloggers that way. Now that I’m a mom, I’m more productive than I was before. I prioritize my time better and can better figure out what needs to get done.
What is the mission, goal, or vision for your brand?
One of the biggest goals of my brand is to empower women. I run Be More Collection, an online boutique that gives its proceeds to a scholarship fund for women in creative industries. I love encouraging women to pursue their dreams, especially stay at home moms. I want to help other women see that you can monetize what you’re good at.
Who is your target audience?
My target audience is people interested in fashion and young moms with babies and toddlers.
What’s the biggest challenge and biggest success that you’ve experienced so far with your brand?
The biggest challenge that I have faced is finding out who I am and committing to it. Now that I’ve found it, I feel like I can say, “This is who I am,” and own it. My biggest success is seeing others succeed as a result of my consulting work with them. I love seeing people follow their dreams as they start their own brands and blogs. I also feel like having a baby and being a mom is a success!
What do you hope to learn and who do you hope to meet at the Braid Workshops?
Social media and digital marketing are always changing, so I’d like to stay up to date with the latest in those two areas.
I’m looking forward to meeting people who I can collaborate with and learn from to grow my brand.
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