I am a statistic! I am also an amazing mother of 3 and a business owner, a single black woman, who owns a business! I embrace the fact that “I am a statistic.”
As a teenager, I branded myself as “A Beautiful Mistake” and I lived by that. I never knew what manifestation was back then. I never knew that the negative words that left my mouth planted a seed each time. I believed that I was "A Beautiful Mistake" and I lived by that. I always felt like I was destined for greatness, but it seemed like I was not worthy of happiness. I have always been embarrassed to admit the following but this is my testimony and I have no regrets!
I am a statistic! I have 3 children. Each of my children have different fathers. One is dead. One is incarcerated for murder and one is simply not around. When my daughter’s father was murdered, my grandmother, Emma had to pick me up and glue me back together. I self-destructed. My daughter was born 2 weeks early and her father was murdered 2 weeks later. I told myself I was done chasing a dream. I completely gave up. My grandmother was my rock! I lost faith and instead of praying I relied on pain killers and depression medication. It took some time, but my grandmother nurtured me and got me to a point that I eventually started praying again. She died in 2018. I did not crawl into a deep dark hole. Instead I created, Emma’Lees Transformation Studios.
The organization is in honor of my grandparents and the mission was to simply “transform.” My children will not get to experience having the best of both worlds, they never got the opportunity to know their father’s, but I do not want that to define them. The ETS Junior Braid School is a safe place for children to learn a trade, stay busy, and learn the importance of independence so that they do not have to depend on “people.” They learn how to think for themselves, they take on responsibilities and they must take ownership!
I remember in 2015 I had this vision of forming a Non-Profit Organization because I simply wanted to help people even though at times, I could not help myself. I remember when I started by journey of being an entrepreneur in 2015. It was not easy! I knew that whatever I did I wanted to dedicate that to my grandparents because they played a huge part in molding me into the woman I am today. It did not fall through. 3 months in, my business was vandalized and robbed.
I remember a 1.5 years ago, when I started this venture, I could not enjoy the establishment that I created because I had to work full time. I remember the thoughts I had in my head when I signed the lease knowing now I’m responsible for 2 rents, 2 LG&E bills, 2 water bills on top of being a single parent of 3 kids and on top of a car payment, car insurance, phone bill, that list goes on! I remember all the negative remarks about not working in my own shop. But, the whole time I was plotting on how I can successfully devote my time to my establishment without working full time! I remember packing up my laptop and headset for my full-time job taking it to ETS. I was answering calls, teaching, and doing hair! I remember using all my PTO so that I could accept the opportunity to work at Myzeek and Iroquois. I knew I could not pass up that opportunity. I remember struggling to pay the rent. I know I am too prideful! I remember when my booth rent was only $100 a month because I wanted my girls to eat although it was not beneficial to me at all! I remember crying in Councilwoman Barbara Sextons office because I felt like I was neglecting my kids. I could not find the balance. She reassured me that I was doing everything right and gave me a homework assignment. I remember it took me 6 months to formulate a plan to quit my job.
7 months later, I have never been this happy! I still hear that I am too nice. I have accepted that. I am genuine. It is who I am. I will let God deal with the people who are not genuine to me.
What I do not remember is ever feeling like I wanted to give up! It is not going get any easier from here. But I am ready! The ETS Junior Braid School has now expanded! We now have a bigger space and we can mentor more students! We need assistance to be able to furnish the new school, with equipment, supplies and technology. We currently have a waiting list of students who are waiting to get into the program and with the new space we can take up to 50 students. We are currently at 32.
Thank you for your support in advance.