So I sat down across from her at the desk, her mouth was gaped open as I finished telling her the story. “You have got to be kidding me!” said Twyla
“There is no way I could make this shit up, I said, Ain’t no way in hell anybody but me would have seen that just motherfucking out loud” as I giggled.
“So what are you going to do” asked Twa.
“I guess I am gonna just pretend this shit ain’t happening” I huffed “I mean, what can I do, The way she was tonguing dude down like she was searching his mouth for hidden treasure. I thought long and hard about telling him, but how do you do it. He would be devastated." responded Tiya shaking her head
" That's your little brother Tiya, don't you think you should tell him, or at least hint at it." stated Twa
"You do remember last time I said something to him about that girl how he went off. He didn't speak to me for 6 months had my family all in an uproar. Ain't nobody got time for that! I even tried to get a picture but it wasn't clear." as she sighed.
“WOW! “ Twa giggled that shit is crazy, anyway girl lets get this shop open so we can afford to pay for the therapy this dude is going to need” she said as we both laughed.
“Tiya, She the best thing that ever happened to me”, I mimicked De'Ante
“Girl, I don’t think I could walk a mile in your shoes, I don’t know if I could keep up with the craziness!” Twa laughed
“ Between friends, the kids, my man, and my family gurl I got reality TV in a smash, they can’t make this mess up.” I say as I walk to unlock the store doors.
Hello, my name is Atiyah Blessings aka “Tiya” and I am Co-owner of one of the hottest houses of style in the country “Walk In My Shoes” the hottest house of style in the world if you let my partner and best friend tell it. Her name is Twyla Johnson aka “Twa” and we have been friend since the seventh grade when she moved next door. We lived in a close knit community in Jamaica, Queens. Twa and her Mom Mrs Crystal, her twin brothers Chase and Charles, and her little sister Aurora moved from Baltimore, Maryland after her Dad died. We were inseparable since day one, same likes and dislikes and a passion for a unique fashion we coined "TwaTi-ism" Looking at us you wouldn't think we'd be anything alike. I stood at a towering 5'3 with a cocoa complexion, doe shaped light brown eyes, shoulder length curly sandy-blond hair, thick hips and lips with a thin waist. While Twa was 5'9 a caramel complexion with hazel eyes, wavy hair that fell to the middle of her back which she colored in various metallic like shades, with an hour-glass shape.
We opened Walk In My Shoes almost ten years ago a few months after we graduated from Fashion Institute of Technology. We now own three stores(or houses of style as they are called) 2 in New York one in Soho and our original store in Queens, 1 in Los Angeles, California. We sell everything from Vintage to the latest in designer fashions. We carry all types of accessories and jewels, but out pride and joy is our own collection. My partner and I design the ultimate clothing, shoes, purses, and belts. From Goth to Elegant evening wear our designs have been featured on urban as well as the elite of society. We have been featured in many publications including Vogue as well as XXL magazines. We have designed pieces for many different celebrities and have had more than a few designs grace many red carpets. Our current combined net worth is a little over 5 million.
We started creating custom designs while we were sophomores in high school. By the time we graduated we already had a wide client base that included some local celebrities that loved our styles. By the time we finished F.I.T we were already running a lucrative business self owned business. Even with the client base and portfolio we had we still couldn't get a business loan. Two young African-American women straight out of design school was not a solid investment or so they thought. So we did the next best thing we pooled our money, liquidated our portfolios and got a few family and close friends to invest in our business. As our first pieces were sewn down in the basement of my house, we didn’t have much space and we used my sister's old princess table to cut our fabric. My mom Gloria had given us her old sewing machine(the one in the table) and Twa’s mom gave us her serger. We needed more equipment and space so we located an old factory building with a storefront and where we signed a 3 year lease with an option to purchase the building after the lease terms ended. With the money we obtained we were able to pay our lease for a year in advance, remodel the building and storefront, purchase all the equipment we needed and hire seamstresses and staff to get us going. We decided to not only sell our design in our store as well as continuing to create custom pieces, we were going to sell other minority designers as well as major brands that had a strong minority presence. We understood what it took to get started and wanted to support others. After three years we were able to purchase the building and manufacture the majority of our designs in house. We then outsourced some design manufacturing to a small company in Manhattan that gave us the ability to expand our design base and branch into other markets. So here we are three stores later with a very lucrative business trying to begin living our lives.
Standing in my office at our main facility in queens looking out the window sipping my coffee taking in the view of the hustle and bustle of city life, shoppers running to and fro. My assistant Cam walks in with my schedule for today.
"Good morning Tiyah" she says as she takes a seat on the chair across from my desk tapping on the tablet she is looking at.
"Good morning Ca, what's on the agenda?"I state with a deep sigh
Cam peeks up from her tablet to decipher my mood. "You and Twyla have that 11am meeting with the brothers from the Browman Group, you have to review the designs for the new spring line, and Twyla says Don't forget you all are having a family dinner tonight at Luigi's." she states looking at me for direction
"Ughhh, I don't want to do dinner with our families!" I state rolling my eyes
"Where is Twa?" I ask
"She is down in the store, there was something wrong with one of the new dresses that came back from the manufacturer in last night shipment." Cam states as she stands
"Damn it, make sure to set up the conference room for this meeting we are definitely going to have to change manufacturers this is the third time this month they have messed up one of our designs. Let me go calm her down, and see if this is even slavigable." I exclaim walking out of my office to the elevators that lead to the store.