Strong businesses and strong business owners help communities grow stronger, building bridges and breaking down walls. These women have spoken up, created powerful goals, amazing products, and are working to make their small businesses successful, build families, and build communities. Melanin Mommy is receiving a grant from Cotton Babies for $1500 to help in the growth of her business.
Business Name: Melanin Mommy
Product: Hey Carter! Books
Owner: Thomishia Booker
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
My name is Thomishia but my friends and family call me Mishi. You can call me Mishi too! My husband and I live in the Bay Area with our 16 month old son-Carter and dog Gucci. I work full time in Healthcare Management and I am the author of Hey Carter! Children’s Book Series. I have a Masters in Social Work and a Doctorate in Education, Counseling Psychology. I began my career as a therapist working in infant child mental health serving the community I grew up in. I am active in my Sorority (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated) and enjoy volunteering. I love to travel and my favorite place I have been to is Costa Rica. I love to dance and especially enjoy a nice glass of wine after a long day of work. I work hard and play harder!
What is your company’s mission?
Hey Carter! Books seeks to increase diversity in children’s books. Every child deserves to grow up envisioning their dreams through the stories of characters that look like them and reflect their experiences. Representation matters! Stories are a child’s first steps into their imagination.
How did you get started?
I started my blog melaninmommy.com in 2015 after I found out I was pregnant with my son. I had a lot of anxiety and fear of the unknown. I was worried about what being a mother would mean for my career. I was afraid I would lose myself. My blog was an outlet for me to share my feelings but quickly became much more. I turned my fear and anxiety into passion and drive.
I read to my son every day while on maternity leave and became frustrated with the lack of diversity in our story collection. It didn’t make sense to have a whole library of books and most them didn’t look like him, or me for that matter. I thought to myself “I can do this!” and from that day on I launched full force into creating Hey Carter! Books. I began to read books differently. I researched everything I could and spent most days writing. I found my passion and haven’t looked back since.
What makes your product unique?
Each Hey Carter! Book has a hidden message. In the first series each book references a King. This hidden meaning is a reinforcement that our children deserve respect. We must remind them that they are powerful and amazing. In a world where little brown boys grow up to be feared as men- this is a message that needs to be heard. My stories are a gift to my community. Parents read to their children from the time they are born which makes books that much more important. With each book I create, I strive to reshape negative stereotypes. My mission is about creating diversity in books which is why “My Brown Skin” also comes in Spanish. We have a responsibility to speak life into our children and I want my books to do just that.
What inspires you?
My son Carter was the inspiration for my books. It is truly a gift to him. I am inspired by the possibility of impacting the lives of young children especially my son. To keep it completely real…I am inspired by other women of color who are reaching their goals. I surround myself with powerful, smart, and confident women. I am inspired by their stories and successes. When you surround yourself with women who are winning, you have no choice but to win too.
How will this grant help in the growth of your business?
I plan to use the award money to increase my skill set by taking art classes and purchasing software. Currently I am the Author of my books but I would love to be able to illustrate them as well. The funds will allow me to release the other books I have already written in the Hey Carter! Children’s Book Series. I set a goal to expand the book series into other children’s entertainment areas and these funds will help me get that started. I am truly honored and thankful!
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