Behind the Business: LaShonda’s Transition from Teen Mom to CEO

LaShonda Prim, a transformational speaker, author, entrepreneur, and storytelling genius, is the founder of Dazzling Divas Empowering Women Toward Success. Her mission is to motivate women to overcome obstacles, vision success, and embrace change. Her messages are birthed from personal life experiences and obstacles she has faced throughout her life. The messages are meaningful and full of inspiration that all women can relate to.

LaShonda, age 42, was born and raised in downtown Charleston, S.C., and currently resides in Duncan, S.C. She is the mother of seven beautiful children and is married to Aswad Prim. She served in the U.S. Army as a Unit Supply Specialist for five years. After being medically discharged from the military, she started working for the Department of Defense as a civilian for an additional five years. She then decided to resign from her government position to pursue her calling of motivating and empowering other women and young girls to “always MOVE towards your dreams.”

LaShonda is a cosmetologist by trade but now holds the title CEO and owner of Dream Essentials by LaShonda Renee’, a handmade all-natural skin and body care line, and Empire Nutrition, a health and wellness company. She has an AA in Business Management and a BA in Business Administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship. She has co-authored a collaborative Best Seller called Moments in Her Story part 2 and released two personal books: Journey through the Eyes of a Teen Mom in July of 2016 and Transformed by Grace in December of 2022. All are in effort to motivate, inspire, and transform the mindset of women around the world.

Her most recent project is the “Slay the Day” journals she created and published for girls after her experience with mentoring girls during the 2022-2023 school year. This journal focuses on helping girls to express themselves, create vision, and set goals. Her philosophy is “Let everything you do be done with integrity, in love, and excellence.”

We had the opportunity of sitting down with CEO LaShonda Prim to discuss becoming a transformational speaker, cosmetology, journals and future plans:  Take out cosmetology and replace with entrepreneurship

LaShonda, you have a compelling journey from serving in the U.S. Army to becoming a transformational speaker and successful entrepreneur. Can you share the pivotal moments or experiences that led you to follow your calling in motivating and empowering women and girls?

The one pivotal moment that changed my whole outlook from corporate America to following my purpose was one day I went to work, and I pulled into the parking lot not realizing that I was at my limit. I cried in my car because I did not want to go to work. I was talking about the book I was writing, doing volunteer work for my mentees at the high school, and also forming a women’s organization at the same time. When I went to my supervisor and asked for personal time off, she told me that I could not have it. I walked away from my job that day and went to speak with my mental health psychologists. She told me that I needed some time to figure out what my next move was going to be because it was stressing me out. I went back to work after seven days of leave and put in my two weeks’ notice. I couldn’t even sit at my desk to concentrate on doing my work; the only thing I was focused on was trying to figure out what my next plan was going to be. My supervisor tried to place me in another position, and every position they offered was worse than what I was already doing. Finally, they asked me what would I like to do? My reply was, “Do you have an area where I could work helping to motivate and inspire workers to be better?” They told me no, and I told them my two weeks’ notice is official. I began placing all of my effort into becoming the coach, mentor, entrepreneur I would have wanted to see growing up.

Your organization, Dazzling Divas Empowering Women Toward Success, has a mission to motivate women to overcome obstacles, vision success, and embrace change. How do you draw from your personal life experiences and obstacles to inspire and connect with other women facing their own challenges?

The inspiration that I share with other women when they’re facing their own challenges comes from a place of authenticity, humility, and vulnerability. The one thing that I assure women of when I speak to them is that I will always be real when I tell my story because that is all that I know how to do, and I have found that when I share my life experiences, good and bad, it always attracts the person or people that need it the most. That is when the magic begins to happen in other women because they heard my story, and now they see that they’re not alone, and there will be better days to come.

You’re a cosmetologist by trade, but you now own businesses like Dream Essentials by LaShonda Renee’ and Empire Nutrition. How did you transition into entrepreneurship, and what motivates you to create all-natural skin and body care products that promote health and wellness?

I’ve always had the spirit of an entrepreneur since I was a little girl. My grandmother used to sell a lot of items from her home, and I would help her. She taught me how to price, package, and profit from the items that we were selling. The summer of my 8th-grade school year, my grandmother passed away, but her legacy and teachings lived on inside of me. One day I needed my sisters to do my hair because I wanted to fit in with some of the other kids at school, and neither of my sisters was available to do it. So, I began doing my own hair, by trial and error of course, but what I noticed was that I was really good at it. I began braiding friends’ and family members’ hair, and this was my side hustle all the way through high school.

After graduating, I made the decision to attend cosmetology school versus going to a four-year college because I didn’t feel like I was college material due to me being a teen mom. However, I did not know that it was just like being in college; we studied anatomy, the chemistry of the hair, skin, nails, and business, etc. This opened a door that I didn’t even know existed. I fell in love with the idea of making something out of nothing and turning problems into solutions. Dream essentials was birthed because when I left my corporate America job, I only saved up six months of pay because I believed that I would have taken off as a world-renowned speaker by my third month. I didn’t have any income coming in at the time, and I had no way to purchase personal hygiene items for my oldest son, who played soccer at the time, and I felt really helpless and defeated. I then began to figure out how to make products that we could use without having to spend money. I bought black soap, Shea butter, and cocoa butter in bulk, and I began to make the products that we needed to sustain our family. Empire nutrition was a solution to my health problems. I have a rare medical condition, and obesity was the number one contributing factor, so I had to lose weight. Being the business-savvy woman that I am, I began looking into the business opportunity the company offered, and I made a decision to show others how they too could live healthier lives and earn additional income while doing it. I found the problem and created the solution.

You’ve authored several books, including “Journey through the Eyes of a Teen Mom” and “Transformed by Grace.” Could you tell us about the key messages and lessons you hope women takeaway from your writings?

Some key lessons I would like for women to take away from these books are that you have the ability to discover your purpose in life by knowing the importance of self-love and having clarity of who you are. I also would like them to know that it doesn’t matter what happened in your past; what matters is how you change now to build a better future. The last thing that I would want women to know is that life teaches us unexpected lessons, and that is just a roadmap of God redirecting you to who he has already created you to be.

Your “Slay the Day” journals are an exciting project for girls. Can you share the inspiration behind these journals and how they help girls express themselves, create visions, and set goals?

The Slay the Day journal was created when I had a mentee that did not have very good organizational skills and felt like her voice was not being heard. She also didn’t know how to express how she was feeling to her parents and her feelings didn’t matter. After encouraging her that her voice did matter, , I went home after our meeting at school and created a folder with activities in it where she could journal and express how she felt. When I followed up with her at our next meeting, she told me how much the workbook helped her to keep up with everything, and she was very grateful for it. I decided to create it for all girls because it teaches them to be confident in who they are and the abilities that they possess.

Your life philosophy is “Let everything you do be done with integrity, in love, & excellence.” How do you embody this philosophy in your work as a speaker, author, and entrepreneur, and what impact has it had on your journey?

I learned the true meaning of integrity when I joined the military, and it meant doing the right thing even when no one else is looking. I was also taught that everything I did should come from a place of love and do it to the best of my ability, which is in excellence, not expecting anything in return. As an author, speaker, and entrepreneur, people are always watching to see who you really are. They want to know if you are the same person every day, all day, on the stage and off the stage, on social media, and in real life. So I learned early in life that how you treat people is how you will be treated, and that has ultimately shaped my philosophy of doing the right thing and doing it with love and excellence. I am not the person who gets the glory; God does.

As a board member for Mothers Against Violence and a Kingdom Girls tour ambassador, you play an active role in community engagement and empowerment. How do these roles align with your personal mission and values?

These Mothers against violence and Kigdom girls have not been actively participating with the community. However, I am a committee chair for the Girls Who Brunch organization that has grown to an international organization that helps cultivate, inspire, and empower girls between the ages of 9 to 17, providing mentorship workshops and exposing girls to a diverse perspective and different way of thinking.  This is exactly why its in alignment with my personal mission and values.

Can you share your perspective on the importance of mentorship and community involvement in empowering and inspiring the next generation, particularly for girls and young women?

Mentorship and community involvement are very important in this day and age because there is so much working against our young girls and even young women today. With social media being the ultimate teacher of our girls and young women, I feel as though we have a responsibility to show them that there are successful women in their community that look like them, that came from the same places that they came from, and went through some of the situations that they’re going through. As a mentor, I have the ability to create vision within young women and girls, showing them what right looks like.

Looking ahead, what are your future goals and initiatives for Dazzling Divas Empowering Women Toward Success and your entrepreneurial endeavors?

My future goals for Dazzling Divas empowering women towards success are to teach women how to turn problems into solutions. If you can solve a problem for someone else, then you can generate income. What’s your vision luncheon Jan 2024, women spring into action retreat April 2024, and I would like to bring back our single mothers’ holiday retreat in December of 2024.

What advice would you give to women and girls who aspire to overcome obstacles, pursue their dreams, and make a positive impact in their communities?

No one can do you better than you, so be great at who you’ve been called to be and just do it! You are the change that women and girls in your community need to see.

What is your definition of a Pretty Woman Who Hustles?

A Pretty Woman Who Hustles is a woman who does not allow excuses to control her ability to change and become the best version of herself that she can be. This woman believes in who she is and the abilities she possesses. She is beautiful, bold, fearless, and will let nothing stop her from being everything God has called her to be because she is a Pretty Woman Who Hustles!

Jakia Cheatham - Myles

CEO/Founder of Pretty Women Hustle Magazine

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