Namaste. Hello. Bonjour. Halo. Habari.
Welcome to my first ever post in the promised series – “Celebrating Small Businesses”
I am delighted to start this series with Tonya Reid of the Wisdom Junkie fame.
At the onset, I’d like to mention that Tonya was the first person who came to my mind when I conceived this series. That, she’s part of the Black Community wasn’t really a consideration to make her my very first. But, that it happened in this way only makes me feel great about it, especially in the given environment. And I am ecstatic to begin my series with her. Besides, Tonya and I have something in common, we’re both graphic tee junkies and that’s what brought us together.
Tonya hails from Los Angeles and is the Founder/ CEO of the T-shirt brand Wisdom Junkie.
Why Wisdom Junkie? In her words, “I wanted to create a brand that reflects what I value, inspired by what I’ve been through. For far too long I was a master at getting in my own way in every area you can imagine – relationships, finances, career-wise, you name it. I played small and cared too much about what other people thought. I dreamed big, but was too afraid to take any action. I sabotaged myself out of opportunities. I was one of those people who could easily give advice & encouragement to another, but didn’t even follow my own.”
She found it in her to take the leap and created this brand to help people find and celebrate the wisdom in their mistakes, setbacks and life experiences. Because, what helped her the most in her life, was turning to wisdom whenever she felt lost or hopeless. She says she would submerge herself into several books at one time, listen to, or watch anything that would motivate and inspire her, attend seminars, collect quotes like they were going out of style. In short, the works! And she finally stepped into power and hopes to encourage others to do the same.
Apart from the many things that I admire about Tonya, the one thing that makes her stand apart is that she believes in thanking problems instead of resisting them. She says, “I’m thankful for all of my mistakes and setbacks. Without them, I wouldn’t have become a wisdom junkie.” I think that is so powerful. If you think about it, that is what we all need to do, instead of wallowing in misery when faced with life’s issues.
Like all of us, Tonya has also had her share of issues. In 2018, she had to leave LA to go back to her hometown – Pittsburgh, PA, for a year. Her mother suffered from breast cancer and had to unexpectedly get a leg amputated due to blood clots. Being the only child, she had to shoulder all the responsibilities, alone. Take care of her mother, make all the tough decisions. The list is endless. It was one of the darkest times of her life. But, a strong woman that she is, she kept the faith and worked on her vision even if that meant working on a shoestring budget to get started. She was determined to push forward and never stopped. The last year and a half of her life have been tough, but it also made her immune to adversity. And she is of the opinion that without that rough experience, her company wouldn’t be where it is today. Well, one of her favorite shirt designs reads, “Resilience is my middle name.” Rightly so!
Tonya launched Wisdom Junkie on July 7, 2019. To be precise, it was on 7/7 at 7pm PST. After more than two years of the seed being planted in her mind. She wanted to be an entrepreneur for a long time and dreamed of launching her own brand someday. She loved t-shirts, and after years of struggle and hardwork, her dreams took shape in the form of Wisdom Junkie. In her words, “A great statement tee can be a whole mood, or even an overall expression of who you are and what you stand for. Plus, it’s a staple clothing item and looks great on everybody!” Can’t disagree with her there, can we?
Being a graphic tee junkie, I immediately took to Wisdom Junkie shirts, as you can obviously see in all my pictures here. The items (which also include tanks) are premium crafted and include styles for men and women ranging from XS-3XL. There are no sweatshops used in their production and I love that they are created in an eco-friendly process. There are various fits as well, to suit different needs. But the part that I love is that the shirts have bold, unique and powerful messages with a universal appeal.
Am really happy to state that Wisdom Junkie has garnered a lot of international and domestic interest as a brand. Tonya aspires to work with celebrity stylists and costume designers. She wants to inspire and encourage millions through her company. Her goal – “Being a Wisdom Junkie is more than a message – it’s a movement.”
Here’s wishing Tonya the best in her endeavor. I have no doubt that she will achieve everything and more that she aspires for.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out her store. Head over to wisdomjunkie.co & use code MRSKAPOOR for 30% off.
See you again next week, to introduce another great Entrepreneur!
Love and Light,
P.S: Here are some of my pictures in her amazing shirts 🙂