She’s Pretty and Black Owned: Meet Tayler Jones

Tayler is a professional actor, director, and teaching artist who makes self-care more accessible as the founder and Head Beauty in Charge of Beauty of Detroit Box. She has taught drama and improv to youth for over six years and is currently teaching in and outside of the public school system. Both as a performer and teaching artist, she uses the mediums of theatre for social change and community-based performance to give voice to underserved and underheard individuals and communities. 

Tayler earned her Master of Fine Arts in Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young from Eastern Michigan University. She completed her acting training with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Wayne State University and Moscow Art Theatre School. She has led intergenerational storytelling and improv workshops for youth and seniors as an Associate Artist. She has also devised original works, directed youth artists, and performed in theatre pieces that span social topics like housing inequity, pregnancy loss, social isolation, homelessness, pressures students face on social media and in the classroom, and injustices in our educational system. 

Knowing how emotionally and physically taxing it can be as an educator, artist, and advocate when you’re trying to make an impact in the community you serve, led her to reevaluate her burnout, by taking a more preventative and holistic approach. She realized that beautifying Detroit began with her. In order for her to show up for her students and family, she needed to show up for herself first. She makes practicing self-care easy with thoughtfully curated self-care boxes that delivers a themed set of self-care essentials, making it a more convenient and cost-effective way to embrace the beauty of the present moment, reconnect with yourself, discover quality goods, and support small businesses.

What inspired the start of The “Beauty of Detroit Box “? 

My answer is two-fold. For many of us, lockdown forced us to be still, take time to self-reflect, examine ourselves, our habits, and beliefs, as well as rethink what we cherish and value. The pandemic was a pivotal moment for me because I was graduating from a dark industry, the theatre industry. Have taught for a number of years in and outside of the public school system through various youth-driven theatre companies, most of our courses went online or got canceled due to depleted funding/participation. I needed to supplement the income I would be making from performing professionally and lecturing. I reflected on how my graduation, just like many moments of celebration for others, felt like a huge letdown. Not only did I not hear my name called to walk across the stage, but my friends and family assured me that my gifts were “on the way.” Given the scarcity of the essentials (looking at you, toilet paper) and shipping delays, I considered this a prime opportunity to support small businesses in metro Detroit.

Taking a daily inventory of my new normal and the reality of my habits magnified where I was most disconnected from myself and those around me. I didn’t always feel like I was showing up as my best self, and sometimes I felt depressed. To combat the monotony of daily living in a pandemic, burnout, and stress with working from home, I wanted to make self-care more of a priority, easily accessible, and celebrate everyday moments. The struggle changed when I gave myself grace, was intentional about self-care, and began to romanticize my life. Plus my love languages are quality time and gift-giving, and I wanted to share that sense of connection to self and community with others.

What has been the biggest challenge of running a brand like “Beauty of Detroit Box “?

My biggest challenge has been gaining visibility and building an audience. We also spend a great deal of time and thought on curating aesthetically pleasing and quality boxes, so sometimes it can be a challenge to determine what products we should include based on our criteria for beauty and excellence for that seasons theme. I am so grateful for our customers and subscribers who are genuinely excited by the unique and useful goods inside, are repeat fans, and refer our boxes to the special people in their life. We plan to continue to diversify our curated collection and increase our marketing efforts even more. 

 How does “Beauty of Detroit Box” impact the community?

This is my labor of love for the people, small businesses, and the city that has shaped me. Sometimes we need to be reminded that Detroit is iconic and that there is still beauty here, that is why we source items from the majority of small businesses in the city. We are also changing the narrative around self-care and ultimately transforming our communities. We make our self-care packages unique, accessible, and convenient for you to be the best version of yourself. When we have compassion for ourselves and are able to explore and understand our own feelings and needs, we have more empathy for others. It makes our community stronger and our quality of life so much better, but it starts with us. We have to be the change we want to see. Whether you have roots in Detroit/MI or not (although we are all connected through arts, culture, the auto industry, etc.), we can all relate to needing to combat burnout and cope with mental health challenges, as well as more time for self-care and connection.

 We are not a gift basket or generic beauty box with toxic items you can just get off a shelf, in fact we are a lot more than that – we offer a variety of unique and useful quality made goods that are natural and one-of-a-kind from all around Michigan. Each season’s box features an inspirational theme, bath and body items, on-trend accessories, cozy home goods, and Detroit pride to nurture and celebrate the beauty in you. Subscribers enjoy beautifully packaged self-care essentials and resources that inspire a positive mindset, confidence, and well-being. We give them permission to pause, as well as the ease and reliability of self-care from the comfort of home. Our gift boxes have been a thoughtful and unique way to show up for someone when you want to connect, show appreciation, or can’t physically be there. I love being a part of their special moments and being there when they need it most. We also value community engagement and love meeting our customers where they are. We are constantly told that Beauty of Detroit Box makes a difference, whether it’s customers excitement over finding the perfect gift or how much their gift recipient enjoyed it, business/product discovery, or sharing helpful self-care and mindset tips on our social media.

Where do you hope to see your brand in the next 3-5 years?

I would love for Beauty of Detroit Box to be a household name, as everyone’s go-to gifting concierge from social to corporate, as well as a hub for mental health support and community conversations. I look forward to doing more community outreach and beautification projects in the various neighborhoods across Michigan and beyond. I would also love to provide self-care essentials and resources to underserved communities, college fairs, mental health summits, and more.

 What advice do you have for the next generation of entrepreneurs?

I would tell them to do it scared; no risk, no reward. Don’t lead with fear, but love. When you have an, “if not me then who” attitude, you step into a leadership role and work to execute your dream. Many businesses start by becoming the solution to a problem that wasn’t easily accessible, a gap in the market. Being purpose-driven, being bold enough to go after your great big idea, and having a heart of service allow more abundance to surround you. You’ll need a supportive community of like-minded people to be inspired by and learn from, so be resourceful, and know who or where to go when you need support.

What does being “Pretty and Black Owned” mean to you? 

It’s the embodiment of celebrating yourself. It’s being a reflection of grace, class, and hustle. It’s unapologetically shining your light (your beautiful gift to the world) and sparking a light in the next woman. It’s being an inviting/friendly face in a crowd and a trusted name in the community. It means having an eye for the best of the best and seeing the best of it in others. I love being pretty and black-owned because I am the standard, not an exception to the rule. I am excellent and uphold the rich history of black ownership, especially in a majority-black city. It’s knowing that black dollars don’t circulate in communities that look like ours unless we are diligent and intentional about who we spend them with. One of the shared values, is quality, and respect. It’s knowing and owning who you are and putting the next person on. I love being a reflection of my beautiful, innovative, and resilient city, as well as helping the community discover a treasure trove of local majority women-owned businesses from hidden gems to nationally known ones. Being Pretty and Black Owned is a way of life; it’s being dedicated to showing up for yourself and your community!

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Jakia Cheatham - Myles

CEO/Founder of Pretty Women Hustle Magazine

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