Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Entrepreneur’s Opinions Open Doors to Success

Is verbal abuse just as traumatizing as physical abuse? If I told you someone called me the B-word, I’m sure blessed, beautiful, and boss would not cross your mind. “I want to take the power out of the B-word,” says Tamachia Davenport, owner of Nanny Tee Prosperity, LLC. In an effort to boldly address stereotypes and encourage domestic violence victims or friends of victims to speak up, Davenport sends an empowerment message through her novelty T-shirt line. “Bitch is what a lot of women hear when they’re being abused and that’s tearing down their self-esteem,” says Davenport.
October is national domestic violence awareness month. Davenport is one of many vendors who will attend a New Orleans area empowerment seminar about preventing domestic violence. “I was trying to figure out a new way to make an impact and get the thoughts out of my head,” says Davenport. In addition to motivational words and the signature light purple color that symbolizes the national campaign against domestic violence, a purple ribbon is on the sleeve of Davenport’s new and very popular T-shirts.
As a full-time social worker, the New Orleans entrepreneur sees first and second-hand the mental and physical scars victims often hide out of shame or fear. “Domestic violence awareness is a cause that’s very close to my heart. I can’t sit by with my eyes closed and not speak about what’s happening around me,” says Davenport. Other causes dear to her heart and influences on the catchy phrases or designs on her shirts include breast cancer awareness and local campaigns to help troubled teens.

Since launching her T-shirt line in June, Davenport has sold nearly 400 T-shirts at an average of $20 per shirt. Like any smart businesswoman, she was meticulous about researching the industry, supply and demand logistics, as well as personal sacrifices necessary to start and maintain a business in an unstable economy. “I looked around to see what was available locally and a lot of us are Saints fans, very spiritual people and have a sense of humor,” says Davenport. “I talked to people in the business and weighed the costs and benefits of starting a T-shirt line.”
Davenport personally finances her business. “I use money from savings account to cover expenses but I do plan to apply for small business loans later, as I learn more about structuring my business,” says Davenport. Undoubtedly, she’s in the T-shirt business to make a profit but fiercely focuses on making a difference. Davenport donates a significant portion of all T-shirt sales to various New Orleans nonprofit organizations. “I want to be a tool to help give back, even if it’s something as simple as helping to pay a bill for a nonprofit,” says Davenport.
As much as Davenport is determined to make a difference, she’s dedicated to leaving a legacy for the next generation. “I want to make sure my nieces and nephews know it’s important to give back to the community and I want to leave them with something they can continue and expand.” Her nicknames given to her by young children in her family helped Davenport find the perfect name for her business. “My godchildren call me nanny or auntie, so I put the two together and came up with the name “Nanny Tee Prosperity, LLC and I always believe in prosperity,” says Davenport.

The next step for Davenport is to expand her business to include novelty pajamas and tank tops. To view more of her shirts and place orders, you can contact Davenport on Facebook under Nanny Tee or call (504) 428-1975. You can meet Davenport October 15th at the New Orleans annual “No Silence, No Violence” empowerment event at the St. Bernard Center, 1500 Lafreniere Street from 9 a.m. through 1 p.m.

If you own a small business and would like to be featured on this blog or would like to comment on this story, feel free to e-mail Maniko Barthelemy at NewsHeels@gmail.com.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Seniors Address Sex & Stereotypes

What would you do if you saw your grandparents having sex? The very thought of that image is enough to make many people cringe or click off this site. In her first film “All of Me: Sex Over Seventy,” Miami documentary producer Gina Margillo highlights two very compelling and diverse senior citizens who boldly share the secrets of maintaining a healthy sex drive. “Sex for people in the late stages of life is much more than just physical and I wanted to break the stereotypes of older people and sex,” says Margillo.
Breaking barriers within the elderly community almost kept Margillo’s film as just a good idea. In many circles being blunt about sex is still taboo. “A lot of the seniors were afraid to go on camera because they didn’t want their adult children to know,” says Margillo. After passing out flyers, reaching out to senior centers and personally interviewing more than a dozen people in San Francisco, an 84-year-old woman and 72-year-old man trusted Margillo with their story.  
Peggy Cartwright has the smile, sassy personality and spirit of a wonderful grandmother. The two-time divorcee is happily dating her 62-year-old boyfriend. “I like younger men,” says Cartwright. Throughout the film, Cartwright, who loves drawing and painting, looks directly into the camera and declares sex is better now than any other time in her life. “One of my grandmothers lived until she was 100 and I figure I’m going to make it also and she was active until the end, so I probably will be too,” says Cartwright.
An air of confidence and conceit fills the film, when the camera introduces viewers to 72-year-old Ivan Spane. “I like to dress a certain way. I have my own style,” said Spane. The devout yoga student, who’s in a monogamous relationship, says at his age sex has a different level of importance. “Unless you are turned on by their personality, sex kind of becomes meaningless,” says Spane. Still, he asserts there’s no better feeling and cautions people against dismisses sex as they age. “Do it as much as you can and as often as you can and always keep your heart open.”
Here’s a clip of: “All of Me: Sex Over Seventy,” http://vimeo.com/5701437. The film was one of several short documentaries recently selected to screen at the DC Shorts Film Festival.
Margillo became a film producer after she was laid off. She used her Roth IRA to pay for a five-week film production class in San Francisco and only had access to equipment for 10 hours to shoot "All of Me: Sex Over Seventy."
Please leave a comment for the film producer, Gina Margillo at gmargillo@earthlink.net or e-mail Maniko Barthelemy at NewsHeels@gmail.com.