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.

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