Southern Journeys Mother's Day Tribute: Dupe Ajayi

Southern Journeys, along with fellow creative black women entrepreneurs who support our mission, will be paying tribute to our mothers all May in gratitude for the impact they have made in our lives. Do you enjoy these stories? Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and help us spread the word!

My mom would always say, “Dupe, everything you touch turns to gold!” I remember her saying that to me even when I didn’t know what that meant.
— Dupe Ajayi

Giving back to the community is what Southern Journeys is all about. We are proud to welcome Dupe Ajayi, marketing and social media extraordinaire with a talent for and commitment to strengthening and furthering social good. On her blog, The Ajayi Effect, she describes herself as, "A fearless, charismatic individual obsessed with changing the world via entertainment and social media. I never said I was an expert, but I come pretty close!" Well, she's certainly an expert in our book. Here's our interview:

 Dupe Ajayi, changemaker

Dupe Ajayi, changemaker

Which values have been key to your success in life and business and how does your mother embody or instill these values in you?


Mentorship has been key. My mother passed away in 2005 but the lessons she taught me still ring true. She was known for being a role model to young women in our neighborhood who saw her as a second mother. It's because of this, that the value of 'pay it forward' has stuck with me. I've found that no matter where I am in my career - a high or low point - when I give of my time and advice, it comes back twenty-fold.

How has your mother supported your journey as an entrepreneur? 

My mom would always say, "Dupe, everything you touch turns to gold!" I remember her saying that to me even when I didn't know what that meant. Little did I know, she was planting seeds of confidence and courage within me from the start. It's because of this that to this day, I believe there's no obstacle too big for me to conquer.


What is the most important lesson she has taught you? 

The most important lesson that my mom taught me was that it doesn't matter what I'm wearing, how much money I have in the bank or what my title is - I should always walk with my head held high as a, "woman is so much more than those things."


Thank you for sharing this touching tribute, Dupe. With such words of wisdom, we see where you got the Midas Touch from. She raised a thoughtful, inspiring woman.

How has your mother instilled confidence in you? Share in the comments below.

- SJ

Give the gift of a quality product made by southern rural Black women trying to change conditions in economically depressed communities across the South. Visit our store today - sale extended for everything 15% off through the end of May!

Southern Journeys Mother's Day Tribute: Joy Adaeze of JoyLovesFashion.com

Southern Journeys, along with fellow creative black women entrepreneurs who support our mission, will be paying tribute to our mothers all May in gratitude for the impact they have made in our lives. Do you enjoy these stories? Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and help us spread the word!

My mother has always told me to believe in myself and that is something I carry with me everyday in my career. It is the extra bit of encouragement that I need when things get hectic!
— Joy Adaeze

Motherly love never goes out of style. For our Mother's Day tribute series this May, the trend of trendsetting fashion entrepreneurs continues with our spotlight on Joy Adaeze: 

 Joy Adaeze, fashion blogger

Joy Adaeze, fashion blogger

Joy Adaeze is a Nigerian-American fashion editor and style blogger of JoyLovesFashion.com. She has been in the fashion industry for over 5 years, having worked for ESSENCE, Essence.com, WWD, Huffington Post, and with Constance White (former Editor-in-Chief of ESSENCE). Joy started her top rated personal style blog, JoyLovesFashion.com, in 2009 and has since been featured on The New York Times, Italian Vogue, French Vogue, NYMag, ELLE, Daily Front Row, and more. Joy is coming out with a fashionable turban line this year, stay tuned! Follow her on Twitter @joyadaeze and Instagram @joy_adaeze. 

We are honored that Joy delightfully offered a tribute to her mother for us to feature on our blog and hope that you enjoy:

 Joy's mother, Gloria

Joy's mother, Gloria

Which values have been key to your success in life and business and how does your mother embody or instill these values in you?

My mother has always told me to believe in myself and that is something I carry with me everyday in my career. It is the extra bit of encouragement that I need when things get hectic!

 Joy and mom at NYFW

Joy and mom at NYFW

How has your mother supported your journey as an entrepreneur? 

When I told my mom I was thinking of starting a turban line (launching this year), she was so excited! She loves the idea and is totally supportive! She even offered to invest in it, which really warmed my heart.

 Joy and mom at Nigerian wedding

Joy and mom at Nigerian wedding

nigerianwedding.JPG

What is the most important lesson she has taught you? 

To be a strong woman. I watched her raise my four siblings and I and it is truly amazing what she did! She did it on her own and that takes an incredible amount of strength and courage. She's truly a gift from God! If I can be only half of what she is, I'd be spectacular! Love you, Mommy! Happy Mother's Day! 


The apple did not fall far from the tree because we think you're both spectacular! Thank you Joy for sharing your mother's inspiring story and lovely pictures with us. We are confident that your turban business will be a success and wish you the very best.

How has your mother taught you strength and courage?

- SJ

Give the gift of a quality product made by southern rural Black women trying to change conditions in economically depressed communities across the South. Visit our store today - sale extended for everything 15% off through the end of May!

Southern Journeys Mother's Day Tribute: Maryam Garba

My mother has taught me so many lessons, it’s difficult to pick one, but perhaps one of the most obvious ones is the importance of why a woman must always contribute financially to her household.
— Maryam Garba, Maryam Garba LLC

We've been lucky to feature many fashionable women entrepreneurs on our Mother's Day month-long tribute so far. Maryam Garba is definitely not an exception. With her Stanford and Harvard background and cosmopolitan flair, her journey creating fashion-forward options for professional women as the CEO of Maryam Garba, LLC is definitely worth a double take:

 Maryam Garba, fashion entrepreneur

Maryam Garba, fashion entrepreneur

Which values have been key to your success in life and business and how does your mother embody or instill these values in you?

My mother taught me a lot about the value of hard work and she is probably the most hardworking person I know.There was a time when we were growing up when my mother had my younger sister, started a company and also graduated from school all in the same year. I still don't know how she manages to get all this done, but her love of life and her hardworking nature inspires me everyday!

How has your mother supported your journey as an entrepreneur? 

My mother is one of my biggest cheerleaders. She constantly calls me to find out how my business is going. She also sends me new design ideas and sometimes she manages my production and manufacturing orders in Nigeria. My mother is an excellent marketer and project manager. 

 Maryam, her sister, and her mummy

Maryam, her sister, and her mummy

What is the most important lesson she has taught you?

My mother has taught me so many lessons, it's difficult to pick one, but perhaps one of the most obvious ones is the importance of why a woman must always contribute financially to her household. My mother has never had to work a day in her life because my father has always provided for us but she has always chosen to work because she wanted her family to have a phenomenal quality life. She's showed me that a woman who works can help to upgrade her family's standard of living and also give back to her community!


Thank you for sharing, Maryam! We love your mother's example as a financially empowered woman and hope that your latest designs at MaryamGarba.com will be worn by many working women.

How has your mother taught you the importance of being entrepreneurial and earning your own income?

- SJ

Give the gift of a quality product made by southern rural Black women trying to change conditions in economically depressed communities across the South. Visit our store today - sale extended for everything 15% off through the end of May!

Southern Journeys Mother's Day Tribute: Cynthia Andrew of Addicted2Etsy

Southern Journeys, along with fellow creative black women entrepreneurs who support our mission, will be paying tribute to our mothers all May in gratitude for the impact they have made in our lives. Do you enjoy these stories? Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and help us spread the word! 

My mum always emphasized that you get out of life what you put into it. If you want real success, you work hard, you stay consistent, you remain persistent.
— Cynthia of Addicted2Etsy

We hope that you had enjoyed this past Mother's Day weekend with your family. Motherhood is too important to spend only one day celebrating so the tribute to mothers continues on the Southern Journeys' blog all month long! Today we are honored to feature Cynthia Andrew of Addicted2Etsy and her loving tribute to her mother:

 Cynthia of Addicted2Etsy

Cynthia of Addicted2Etsy

Cynthia's eye for fashion and her effortless style makes Addicted2Etsy a must-read blog. She delivers Etsy chic to the masses while sharing an eclectic range of interests from food to travel to music to humanitarian causes with her adoring fans. Cynthia also goes by SimplyCyn but we think she is simply great. We hope you will too:

Which values have been key to your success in life and business and how does your mother embody or instill these values in you?

It might sound cliche, but I guess that's cos its so important and very true. My mum always emphasized that you get out of life what you put into it. If you want real success, you work hard, you stay consistent, you remain persistent. She recognized that I was impatient and could quickly move into self doubt, so she was a coach and a cheerleader. She knew when I needed a yelling and when I needed comforting. She also knew when I needed prayer.

Growing up, I would watch my mum, who is nothing less than a naturally born entrepreneur. She never held just one job, even when that job was extremely financially rewarding, and even though she was a single mum.
— Cynthia of Addicted2Etsy

What role did your mother play in your journey as an entrepreneur?

Growing up,  I would watch my mum, who is nothing less than a naturally born entrepreneur. She never held just one job, even when that job was extremely financially rewarding, and even though she was a single mum. Just watching her navigate her tailoring shop, her contracting business and real estate ventures were really inspiring. She knew she couldn't do it all by herself and was great at seeking or asking for help. 

 Cynthia and mum

Cynthia and mum

What is the most important lesson she has taught you that you would like to share? 

To be God fearing: and by that I mean that she taught me the importance of being a good person. To be kind, to be thoughtful, to care about others and to be the best person I can be. If you go into anything in life with that attitude and with that foundation, you'll only get good back. Even if it takes a while, even it takes what seems like forever, you'll be happier and you'll be really blessed.

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Thank you for sharing your tribute to your mother with us, Cynthia. She sounds like a tremendous role model for single mothers everywhere and we are proud to share her story here.

How does your mother inspire you to be the best person you can be? 

- SJ

Give the gift of a quality product made by southern rural Black women trying to change conditions in economically depressed communities across the South. Visit our store today - sale extended for everything 15% off through the end of May!

Southern Journeys Mother's Day Tribute: Keturah Ariel

Southern Journeys, along with fellow creative black women entrepreneurs who support our mission, will be paying tribute to our mothers all May in gratitude for the impact they have made in our lives. Do you enjoy these stories? Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and help us spread the word! 

I was born with an innate ability that was nurtured and has been fully supported by my mom since day one. She has always shown me that true growth is forcing yourself out of your comfort zones and seizing the opportunities that have come your way.
— Keturah Ariel

Southern Journeys believes in using our craft to celebrate our heritage and traditions. As we discussed in our Black HerStory Month post on sculptor Mary Edmonia Lewis, we are thrilled to see other artists who proudly infuse their cultural pride in their works. We continue our Mother's Day tribute series with our interview with a lovely, young and truly talented artist, Keturah Ariel:

 Keturah Ariel, artist.

Keturah Ariel, artist.

Which values have been key to your success in life and business and how does your mother embody or instill these values in you?

My mother has always taught me to focus on what's important to me. Family is very important to her and it's important to me because of her. When the opportunity arose that I would be able to start my own business, I needed help. Without even having to ask, my business automatically became a family business and for that I'm very grateful. Everyone needs a strong support system who truly has their best interest at heart. I'm very blessed to have this kind of support system, and I try my best to not take it for granted.

I have a body of work I am in the process of completing called "Matriarchs" and it was initially inspired by the strong, powerful women in my family. They have always shown me that family is everything. People often overcompensate in attempting to "change the world," when in actuality if everyone took care of their home/their famillies, first...the world would indirectly improve because of it. That's what was evident in my Granny's life, my Grandma's life, and it's evident in my Mom's as well. 

 Matriarchs

Matriarchs

What role did your mother play in your journey as an entrepreneur? How has your mother influenced your growth as an artist?

My mom is also an artist, so the artistically inclined gene passed from her, to me. She went to art school, and then later decided to change her major to business. When I was a freshman in high school trying to decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I honestly didn't see being an artist as a viable career. I thought, "I'll just be a regular person, work in an office, and art will be my hobby." My mother objected, she felt it was important for me to go to art school and make a career out of what I loved to do. I was given the opportunity to live out my mother's dream, and without me not noticing, it became my dream. I was born with an innate ability that was nurtured and has been fully supported by my mom since day one. She has always shown me that true growth is forcing yourself out of your comfort zones and seizing the opportunities that have come your way.

 Granny, Mom and Keturah

Granny, Mom and Keturah

People often overcompensate in attempting to “change the world,” when in actuality if everyone took care of their home/their famillies, first...the world would indirectly improve because of it.
— Keturah Ariel
What is the most important lesson she has taught you that you would like to share? 

She has taught me strength, and that no matter how troubling a situation is you can still find the sunshine through the rain. This time last year, I witnessed my mom and my auntie care for their mother (my Granny) who was battling stage four cancer. Granny was the kind of person who stole the hearts of everyone she knew. She was the heartbeat of my family, so when she was in pain, everyone "felt" it. The experience changed me because from watching them and how they cared for her I realized that what you go through isn't always about you. Sometimes, it's about the person who needs you the most. Well my Granny needed her girls and they were there with her, caring for her, loving her up until the very end. The strongest humans are selfless humans, when you are able to put your feelings aside to truly love and show compassion for someone else...nothing embodies strength more than that. Strong enough to conquer fear and embrace love. My mom is one of the strongest people I know and I love her dearly.

 Mom

Mom

Keturah, thank you for sharing your moving story about your mother and grandmother with Southern Journeys. You have been blessed with a gift and it is beautiful to see how your art emanates the pride and joy of your matriarchs. 

Those interested in seeing more of Keturah's works can visit her portfolio here and can purchase her work online at her Etsy store.

How does your family motivate you to live out your dream?

- SJ

Give the gift of a quality product made by southern rural Black women trying to change conditions in economically depressed communities across the South. Visit our store today - everything 15% off through May 12!

Southern Journeys Mother's Day Tribute: Ope Bukola

Southern Journeys, along with fellow creative black women entrepreneurs who support our mission, will be paying tribute to our mothers all May in gratitude for the impact they have made in our lives. Do you enjoy these stories? Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and help us spread the word! 

Another important value I’ve learned from my mother is tenacity. You don’t always get what you want the first time around. It’s important to rebound from stumbles, and to try again.
— Ope Bukola

Mother's Day is less than a week away and luckily we still have great stories to share from entrepreneurs we admire. As you can see from our personal journeys, Southern Journeys is all about resourcefulness, passion, and an unwavering belief that hard work pays off. Ope Bukola, as a self-taught software developer and founder/CEO of educational tech platform CourseSky, embodies all these things:

 Ope Bukola, founder of CourseSky and Zora Magazine 

Ope Bukola, founder of CourseSky and Zora Magazine 

Ope first became interested in education during college while working as a tutor. She realized that many students had the motivation to succeed, but could not afford the best academic resources. Prior to CourseSky, she spent many years working in education. She managed partnerships and marketing efforts for a non-profit provider of open-source textbooks. She's also worked in higher education and management consulting. She is a self-taught web developer, and a graduate of New York University where she earned a joint degree in Economics & Mathematics. When she’s not working on CourseSky, Ope enjoys listening to podcasts, reading magazines, blogging, and taking online classes. [Source: Coursesky.com]

The following is our interview with Ope paying tribute to her mother as part of our monthlong Mother's Day celebration:

Which values have been key to your success in life and business and how does your mother embody or instill these values in you?

I've learned many values from my mother, but perhaps the most important is the importance of working hard. My family moved to the US from Nigeria when I was around 10 years old. My mother was a professional nurse in Nigeria but had to re-earn her certificate in the US. To do this, she had work full time as a Nursing Assistant, while taking courses to prepare for her exam, and taking care of 3 young kids. She pulled it off in less than a year. Throughout my life, she continually embodied this ideal: work hard and work diligently and the rewards will come. Another important value I've learned from my mother is tenacity. You don't always get what you want the first time around. It's important to rebound from stumbles, and to try again. Throughout life's ups and downs, my mother has shown grace, strength, and the ability to get up and try again.

How has your mother supported your journey as an entrepreneur? 

My mother has supported me in numerous ways, but the one that has been most important is the one that's hardest to quantify: through prayers and faith. I'm a spiritual person, and I believe that God has a higher plan/purpose for our lives. When you are trying to start something - a business, school, a new project - it's so easy to get caught up in it. It's easy to tie your personal self-worth and esteem in your present circumstance and whether your current project is succeeding. My mother constantly reminds me to keep the bigger picture in mind, to trust in the larger plan for my life. Knowing that she is praying for me makes me feel stronger no matter what trials come. 

What is the most important lesson she has taught you?

There is no substitute for hard work. 

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Thank you for sharing your story with us, Ope! Your mother's work ethic and tenacity inspire us all and we wish her a very happy Mother's Day. 

How does your mother inspire you to do great things? 

- SJ

Give the gift of a quality product made by southern rural Black women trying to change conditions in economically depressed communities across the South. Visit our store today - everything 15% off through May 12!

Southern Journeys Mother's Day Tribute: Willie

Southern Journeys, along with fellow creative black women entrepreneurs who support our mission, will be paying tribute to our mothers all May in gratitude for the impact they have made in our lives. Do you enjoy these stories? Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Southern Journeys worker-owner Sonya helped us get this Mother's Day series off to a strong start yesterday. Now Willie, another Southern Journeys' worker-owner hailing from Mississippi, is keeping the motherly love going with a tribute to her mother:

 Southern Journeys worker-owner Willie of Misssissippi

Southern Journeys worker-owner Willie of Misssissippi

Which values have been key to your success in life and business and how did your mother embody or instill these values in you?

My mother didn't just talk, she always had me to watch what she was doing.  I learned a lot by watching.  She taught me to have good work ethics and to always work hard.   Fear God, treat people right, have compassion, help the less fortunate, be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger, do the best I can and don't worry about the rest.

My mother taught me to never stop learning.
— Willie

What role did your mother play in your journey as an entrepreneur?

My mother taught me to never stop learning. She taught me to learn more than one trade because you never know what situation you might come up and you need to have more than one skill. She taught me to be humble and speak up and to the point when needed.

What is the most important lesson she taught you that you would like to share?

Always put God in front and everything will be alright.  Be careful who you call your friend.  Always treat people the way you want to be treated.

 Willie's daughters

Willie's daughters

Has being a mother influenced your journey as an entrepreneur? How do you teach your children the importance of being entrepreneurial?

Being a mother made me become an entrepreneur because working on a 8-5 job only paid the bills and nothing else. I try to instill in my grandchildren and children to be self-sufficient with a business of their own and not depend solely on working for someone else. I also reminded them of the various businesses I have been involved that help support them through school and even now. I do my best to teach them to learn to do for themselves. I thank God because one has her own business and another one is working on one.

Anything else that you'd like to share for this feature?

My mother was a very humble person, did a lot of sewing during her lifetime. My mother never used a pattern to sew our cloth, she just looked in the Sears catalog and said what dress do you like and she made it to fix perfectly. She sewed quilts and for other people. She sewed by hand with stitches almost as small as a sewing machine. 

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Thank you for sharing your story, Willie. Your mother's teachings are a great guide for happiness. Your SJ family wishes you a lovely Mother's Day with your daughters.

Willie is one of many Southern Journeys worker-owners working hard to create the perfect gifts for your loved ones this Mother's Day. Give the gift of a quality product made by southern rural Black women trying to change conditions in economically depressed communities across the South. Visit our store today - everything 15% off through May 12!

- SJ