Real People Educating Others- R.P.E.O
Two natives of Williamsburg, VA who graduated from the Lafayette High School class of '99 have gone above and beyond to give back to their community. The founders of R.P.E.O. (Real People Educating Others), Entrepreneurs, Pj. Piggott and Reneldo Randall both come from humble beginnings and now pay it forward to the younger generation.
Both are college graduates, entrepreneurs and business owners and have learned and been able to share with others the challenges they have overcome on their journeys through mentorship programs, retreats and more. Some of the challenges they faced like many other entrepreneurs was not having support in the beginning and some of the people they started out with on this journey didn't continue on with them. They learned to connect with others, and remain consistent with or without support.
The importance of knowing what it means to be a team has greatly benefited R.P.E.O. They are both able to operate their non-profit organization while still being able to successfully operate their own individual ventures. Time management skills, networking and clear communication has brought them far in their careers.
With a team you go far, especially with people you can count on!
Each year they host a Back to School Giveaway, Thanksgiving Event, Christmas Dinner and Gift Giveaway, Football Camp, and Basketball Clinical' s, these are just some of the many community events offered throughout the year by R.P.EO. -stayed tuned for more to come!
To learn more and stay connected to R.P.E.O follow them on social media:
Social Media Connect
Rashawn Simmons is an actor, model, entrepreneur and the co-owner of Urthppl by EcoLeisure BrandClothing an Eco-Friendly Clothing Brand. Currently he resides in California where he is actively pursuing his acting career.
A lot of research went into the creation of Urthppl by EcoLeisure Brand Clothing, with the help of DLS Management they were able to create the concept of eco-friendly and organic clothing. This brand is something that everyone and the environment needs. About a year of research that involved learning about the fashion game, how the market works and the difference between fabrics. Recently he has collaborated with a childhood friend Marcus Walker where they have created UrthFit Clothing which is organic/eco-friendly fitness apparel.
"From the beginning trademark everything! Own everything involved with your brand." - R. Simmons
Rashawn got started with modeling from one picture that was taken by Craig "Subzeroshots" James, about three years ago, after getting positive feedback on social media he took it from there. His step into acting was a little different, he got started after participating in a film with the college of William and Mary. He was asked to do background in a parody film called, "The Far East Side Story" that they were shooting and he really enjoyed it, so he took it from there.
Like many other entrepreneurs Rashawn knew that there was so much more he wanted for his business and he was also very serious about pursuing an acting career. The want for more led him and his family to LA, he just started working, googled casting agencies, modeling agencies and everything just started to fall in line. He is also a member of the SAG*AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). Recently he played in GROWNish a show featured on ABC TV network.
If you can't take someone telling you "NO" then it will be hard, you have to just move on to the next one and not get stuck on the no.
Social Media Connect
Arleigh Hatcher is a wife, mother, student, CEO and Author. She exemplifies a woman of purpose, and opening a school is just one of the many things Mrs. Hatcher has accomplished. Arleigh is a 2002 graduate of Bruton High School in York County, VA and from there she went on to graduate from Norfolk State University in 2004 as an RN.
Just Getting Started
Heart to Heart Career Training Center is a medical career training school founded by Mrs. Hatcher. In the beginning she didn't start with much, it started with her just offering CPR training and she did this with no office space, equipment or employees. That didn't stop her from fulfilling this goal, she went out to teach people, and rented equipment from the hospital.
"Start out with a bigger picture in mind" - Arleigh Hatcher
Heart to Heart Career Training Center grew into more than what Arleigh had planned. There are now several classes offered as well as online classes for certain programs, and she has since opened a second Training Center in Warsaw, VA.
Peek of Joy
Peek of Joy 3D Ultrasound and Spa LLC. is another business that Mrs. Hatcher has successfully established. Expectant mothers can visit Peek of Joy for Belly Castings, Prenatal massages and they can also get ultrasounds and tell the gender of their baby as early as 16 weeks.
"Network with those who know more than you." - Arleigh Hatcher
As an entrepreneur Arleigh has learned the importance of networking. Social media was just one avenue she used to connect with women full of knowledge that she could learn from and they could also learn from her.
Advice for Young Entrepreneurs
Start off with a business lawyer
Get more involved in networking
Social Media Connect!
Follow Arleigh on Instagram
Follow Heart to Heart CTC Warsaw on Facebook
Order a copy of Arleighs' books, "Heart of a Mompreneur" and, "Shift: From Burnout to Boss" at www.arleighhatcher.com
tee n. faust
Tee Faust is a businesswoman and entrepreneur originally from Chester, PA. She did not let her environment stop her from accomplishing great things. She is a graduate of Lincoln University and the owner of Sunset Travel Group LLC, and Trans Atlantic Mortuary Services.
Trans Atlantic Mortuary Services
Trans Atlantic opened up about 2 years ago and this is a business that Ms. Faust runs alongside her business partner. The pair met in 2016, the two travel from state to state and offer trauma restorative art for closed casket cases, transporting local and long distant. They have traveled from NY to Boston and NC to GA, and that's just to name a few. They also offer international and domestic shipping.
Sunset Travel Group LLC
The love for traveling and sunsets was a way for Ms. Faust to invest in a business outside of the funeral industry. She is a certified travel agent and can assist you with booking the vacation of your dreams.
Being a successful young black woman in the funeral industry is rare, the industry is male dominated which can make it hard for young women to really grow. Tee had to start her own lane in the industry, and there is nothing like it that has ever been done.
Advice for young entrepreneurs
Don't be afraid to be yourself
Anything you want to do, just do it, even if you're scared.
Put God first, building a life is great because God made it great. Appreciate the relationship at all times.
To connect with Trans Atlantic Mortuary Services you can follow on facebook
Call: (410) 921- 0875 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on their services
Call (443) 261-5052 to book your vacations, business trips and more!
AJ Collier and the Band of Believers
AJ Collier and The Band of Believers is a gospel group based out of Philadelphia with members from Jersey, Delaware and other parts of the East Coast. They released their first single titled, "I Believe God" which is available on ALL digital outlets! Itunes, Amazon, and more!
AJ got started in music at a young age, being a preacher's kid he was born into ministry and a musical family, so it is no surprise that his journey includes gospel music. His father Pastor Brian Pittman of Chester, PA has had the greatest impact on his life. They have experienced some of the same trials and they are also both passionate about Christ!
Like any other career path, AJ has faced his own share of trials, but despite the challenges of getting the band started he was able to persevere. They are all dedicated to the mission of the Band!
In April the band will be celebrating their 1 year anniversary! On April 13th they will host a Gala and on April 14th they will have their Album Release! Be sure to follow them on social media for more information
For booking you can email them at email@example.com
ATTORNEY BRIAN SMALLS
I had the honor to interview Attorney Brian Smalls with Cornerstone Estate Planning, it was a very informative and inspiring conversation!
A little history…
Mr. Smalls grew up in Williamsburg Va., and he is a graduate of Lafayette High School (Go Rams!) He went on to the University of Michigan for his undergrad degree and then the University of Miami to complete law school. Between undergrad and law school he married his wife Sonya and they now have 2 children together, Braden and Brielle.
I was actually surprised to learn that initially Mr. Smalls didn’t want to be a lawyer. He played football in school and having that background in sports he was hoping to gain some sort of playing field in the NFL. But after getting to law school his interest changed.
Advice for your pursuit…
Here are a few pieces of advice from Attorney Smalls:
“Be confident in the decision that you make”
“Don’t listen to the inner voice that says you can’t”
“Feed yourself with information that helps with your goal”
Community involvement is very important, what ways do you give back and how can others get involved?
Outside of practicing law Mr. Smalls makes time to get involved in the community, he coaches football for the Williamsburg Hornets which is youth level football. He is also the NAACP Chapter President for Williamsburg, York and James City County. They work with a lot of issues and try to affect positive change within the community. One of his goals is for the organization to get younger, in order for the NAACP to grow it will take people from the younger generation and also all walks of life. In addition to serving as the Chapter President for the NAACP, Mr. Smalls is also the Chair of the Education Committee.
It is so important for us to get involved, especially those of us with school aged children. You can go to yjcwnaacp.org and sign up right online. Meetings are the 2nd Monday of each month at First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, VA at 6:30 PM.
Back to Business
Since 2012 Mr. Smalls has been in Private Practice, the 1st 5 years of his career he was an attorney with the city of Newport News. He decided to go into private practice in large part because of his father, Dr. Ronald Smalls. He has taken his desire for business ownership and is now using that to help entrepreneurs not only get started in business but stay in business.
Cornerstone Estate Planners is the name of Mr. Smalls practice, here he helps families with estate planning. This is so important to every family, no matter how large or small your budget may be his office can help you plan. With estate planning he will help families establish what their legacy will be, help you plan for harder questions such as who will make medical decisions.
We talk about Protecting our purpose and passions so often and estate planning is definitely an important tool we need to include in the process.
How can readers get in contact with Attorney Brian Smalls?
You can find him on all social media outlets and also call 757-447-6311 to set up a consultation!
Facebook: Brian Smalls
Our very own Katelyn Davis had the opportunity to do an interview with Breon Barrett who is the owner of JRKickz, located in Parkside, PA.
How many years have you been in business? And where is your business located?
I started my business 10 years ago but the first 8 years were spent researching, locating resources and getting into position. The shoe industry is very tough to get into so our official launch was 2 years ago. We are located on Edgemont Avenue in Parkside, PA
What led you to getting started?
When I was little I grew up poor, my family had a lot of struggling times. Being the oldest out of 5 I was the first to start working; cutting grass and shoveling snow. I used all the money I got to buy sneakers. My mom would get upset with me, saying I should help with bills.
The struggle was my inspiration.
When I was younger I worked at an office supply company where I met a sneaker collector. We became friends and he taught me how to collect. I calculated that I had spent 7500 on sneakers and thought that spending that much I should open a store. Stop giving to others and invest in myself.
Community involvement and empowering Young people is something that Protect Your Purpose is super passionate about. So, how does JRkickz give back to the community? And how can the people from your community help?
The entrepreneur expo kicked off 3 years ago. It began by taking business owners, city officials and the community and bringing them all together. We shine light on new businesses, those interested in starting a business and the community. There we give clothes, money, and sponsorships. However, we are sponsoring events and programs with a positive message
What is one obstacle you faced in your career and how did you overcome that?
One obstacle I faced was lack of resources, without resources you are stagnate.
I overcame that by putting time in self development, self discipline, seeking info on my own, learning how to network, listening to motivation and creating my own resources. Now resources approach me all the time.
If you had to give one piece of advice to a young person interested in opening a business what would you tell them?
Never quit, never give up. Whatever it is you'll have to start at the bottom and if you don't give up you will succeed. Trials and tribulations are just to help you understand moving forward. Accept the process, the process makes you who you are.
How can people connect and shop with you that don’t live in your area?
Personal email Breon1112@gmail.com
JRKicz will be conducting a Sneaker Drive from December 3rd- December 16th to give 100 pairs of sneakers to help those in need during the Holiday. For more information contact Tori Richardson at (610) 800-1072
Personal email Breon1112@gmail.com