A native of Philadelphia, PA, Tania Richardson was born to be successful. A 40-something savvy businesswoman with over 15 years of owning and operating two businesses, Richardson symbolizes independence and power.
Her career and personal life have covered multiple disciplines. As a commercial actress, a Desert Storm Army veteran, an avid traveler, and a former Real Housewives of Atlanta season two recurring cast member—the most popular of the Real Housewives franchise that maintained an average of 1.495 million weekly viewers—she strives for perfection.
William Shakespeare stated, “Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”
In an interview with The Exchange Story, she shared her definition of success:
My definition of success is when your money works for you…not when you work for your money! I know this is a cliché but I believe that long gone are the days when you go to work for someone else and receive a paycheck for the hours worked. Only to find out that your BOSS is never going to pay you enough to live next door to her. When you can follow your passion and do what you love, your money then begins to work for you! But success isn’t only about how much money you make or where you live. Ultimately, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives, and waking up with a smile on your face because you enjoy what you do.
A woman of fashion, whose style, according to Fashion Bomb Daily, is “very alluring and sophisticated,” was disappointed after her finding after research that advertisers cater less to women 40–55 years old.
In fact, a report by Girlpower Marketing found that disposable incomes are highest for boomer women aged 45-54. They are at the peak of their careers, and statistically, are the least impacted by the recession. Boomer women buy 65 percent of new cars, 91 percent of new homes, and 92 percent of travel but, 91 percent feel that marketers do not understand them while brands are still having a hard time recognizing it.
With that in mind, Richardson put her foot forward and created Hey Lady ™, an informative YouTube original, and social media platform movement to change the stigma of what women over forty look like. The mission is to motivate, empower, and encourage women to live their best lives.
The platform features beautiful and powerful women over forty who have a passion for fashion, a love of travel, and an interest in owning or growing a business.
Hey Lady is a movement that is building organically. The objective is to use Richardson’s life as an inspiration to women around the world to know that life truly begins at forty. Expectations for the brand is that it becomes a global phenomenon where mentorship programs for young ladies are built.
“We are our biggest advocates and representation matters,” she explains. “When women see other women living their best life, this will hopefully reignite what may be missing in their lives. It is important to see positive images of women being more than a mom.”
This year has not been without challenges. Between product development and production, Richardson’s workload has been overwhelming. However, her top challenge is brand awareness and brand recognition. “My audience must identify my brand based on visual indicators as my logo and colors, but l need to elicit feelings and emotions in my target audience, and this is not my lane,” she states.
She addressed this challenge by hiring seasoned professionals that have produced and are implementing a strategic communications plan (public relations, social media, and content marketing). “The plan is for my company to gradually gain national publicity and social media followers, and so far I’ve been reading feedback about how much our supporters are inspired by and believe in our message.”
Besides being a mother of an amazing seventeen-year-old son, her biggest accomplishment to date was taking on a new business venture by launching Hey Lady ™. “I stepped out on faith and believed it would happen,” she states.
And although she’s no stranger to business—representing a fortune 500 company and securing over four thousand clients consistently for eight years—building a lifestyle platform for women, that is organically turning into a movement was a completely new entrepreneurial move for her. While 2020 was about launching the business, she says, “2021 will be about continuing the movement.”
An individual who pushes others to create their best work, she is passionate about life. She’s a daughter, sister, aunt, and mother of a seventeen-year-old son whom she co-parents with former fiancé and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Kordell Stewart. She has no regrets in life and serves as a beacon for all to follow. She stand by her favorite quote, “I don’t make excuses, I make adjustments.”
Hey Lady💋™ is a brand that is geared towards women 40 and up. Thank you for thinking of us! What was your inspiration behind creating an age-specific brand?
There was no brand specifically targeted to the forty and over demographic. I noticed that advertisers market to millennials and seniors for the most part.
The peak earning potential and spending power between the age of 45-54 is higher than any other group. I wanted to shed a light on an otherwise forgotten group of women. I also wanted to change the narrative to show that LIFE truly does begin at forty.
In the fashion industry, there are not only a lot of brands geared towards women 40 and up, but there also aren’t many brands geared towards plus-size models either. What will Hey Lady bring onto the scene for plus-size models like myself?
Our clothing runs from small to 6XL depending on the garment. There’s something for everyone!
Let’s Talk about Wine Down Wednesday! You host Wine Down Wednesday to showcase women in all walks of life on IG Live. As you know, there are many Wine Down Wednesday platforms currently. What sets your platform apart from others?
What differentiates our Wine Down Wednesday is that we feature a different “Lady of the Week” from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. We talk about a myriad of topics. Additionally, we are providing a platform for mentoring women who want to become business owners or are already business owners and need a bit of guidance to get to the next level.
Tania, being a 15-year entrepreneur is AMAZING. What tips can you give our readers about sustaining their entrepreneurship? What keeps you going?
Remember, it’s your calling and it wasn’t a conference call therefore you need to block out noise from friends and family who may mean well but don’t understand your vision. Turn your passion into your purpose and it will never feel like work. Failure is not final.
You’ve done acting, you currently own and operate an insurance agency among all the many other attributes you possess, which of your many endeavors give you the most value of satisfaction?
Launching Hey Lady💋™ has truly given me the greatest joy and satisfaction. This brand is growing organically. The response to what we are doing has been overwhelming. Also, seeing women wearing the Hey Lady💋TM logo is so gratifying to me. It means that women want to be part of the movement that is being created and they relate to the message of “ Being a lady never goes out of style!”
I absolutely love your tagline “Being a Lady Never Goes Out of Style” and you hit the nail right on the head with this one. Why is this tagline important to your brand?
I wanted the brand to be synonymous with being a lady. When I think of the word lady I think of class, sophistication, savoir-faire, and style. I want ALL women to know that you don’t have to show it ALL to feel attractive or to get “noticed!” Somewhere along the way, the messaging has changed about having standards and respect for oneself. When I think of a lady I imagine, Michelle Obama, Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad, and Diahann Carol. All of these women had an air of grace and class.
Inspiring and encouraging women to be their very best is something that many of us as women love doing. With that said, what obstacles have you encountered in the industry that you have had to fight to get your desire across to mainstream?
Growing my brand has been organic and has taken a life of its own. Over the last three years, I have been testing the market specifically through Pinterest. Because I had an established audience the challenge was now to turn followers into customers and for them to believe in what we are selling. The growth in sales has steadily increased since our launch.
You know we could not have this interview without addressing your time on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. How did being on that show attribute to success in your other business ventures? What is one thing you took away from that experience and why?
Being on the show taught me how to leverage my following as a businesswoman. It showed me the importance of owning my intellectual property as well. It also showed me the importance of being a champion for other women as Reality TV typically shows the opposite. Because being a lady never goes out of style.