We had the good fortune of connecting with Tennielle Clark and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tennielle, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I was scared and rightfully so! During this time of economic imbalances: the rich are reaching astronomical wealth and the poor are getting evicted, losing health and insurance and there is less and less food on the table for their kids. I was scared to take my vision from a dream and jump off the porch into reality. With She Speaks Bougie, I wanted to do something that would have more than an economic impact but a sounding board for black women to feel comforted, understood and just plain wanted. Instead of thinking about the algorithms and the sponsorships….I decided to create a podcast first. My mission was to let these women hear my voice and know that I was just like them and that whatever I bring to the show will be for them. My intention is to curate each episode for her; guest hosts, Ads , diverse topics that myopic. This business is going to start with her in mind. The next stages will be apparel, candles, mugs and the sort that will one day be housed in my brick and mortar store.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I had the idea for She Speaks Bougie for years! I started several businesses throughout the years and I won’t say that they failed. I will say that I was close to what I wanted but those weren’t it. After the birth of my son, I put my life coaching practice on hiatus. I had a few clients and had just received an opportunity for a contract position to coach with a company in the silicon valley area. I went on maternity leave and I just enjoyed my kid. I loved his little toes and kissing his face. I got lost in the mundane days of feedings and diaper changes. I needed all of that. It sounds strange but I started to figure out who I was when I didn’t have a title to fall back on. I even stopped posting on my social media platforms because my life wasn’t breaking news. I was a mommy, wife and human that needed to sleep. During the break, I successfully sleep trained my son (much to my husband’s chagrin) and had time to come up for air. When I caught my breath, I realized that the passion I had for individual coaching wasn’t there. I had so much to share with everyone that wasn’t just about setting goals, losing weight or being vegan(which I failed at when I became pregnant). I was evolving. I got into up cycling furniture again, making organic baby food, photography and more. The more I was finding the things I liked was the more I was acknowledging the parts of myself. These parts honored my mother, my sister and my friends. They helped me leap over postpartum anxiety and I could laugh again. I mean, it’s hard not to belly laugh when your husband mocks the baby for crying and as an act of revenge, he pees in DADA’s mouth. That deserves all the laughs. For about a month or so, I would have these amazing conversations with friends. We would laugh about life, cry about our fears and talk about the things around us. i enjoyed the moments with them because I knew that we weren’t going to get the chance to have them as often as we used to. I am now at the age where my friends are in serious relationships, they have children and their careers are consuming them. So, at the end of every call, we would say “I love you and we have got to do this more often”. After a bit, I would get a text saying ” have you started your podcast yet? I miss you and your voice”. I always wanted to start a podcast but I was so afraid to do it alone. I wanted to have a co-host but it never panned out that way. One date night, my and I were in our room. He told me to get some wine and write out what I would want my podcast to look like. I got a giant sticky paper and posted it to the wall. With that glass of wine in my hand, the baby asleep and my husband guiding me……She Speaks Bougie was being born. The launch of my culture and wellness podcast is to illuminate the uniqueness and vibrancy of the black woman experience. I have curated everything from the episode topics the types of products my audience wants to purchase. Listening to my podcast is like going to brunch with your girlfriends; there will be laughing, a few tears and a lot of encouragement.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
This is a hard one because I am such a homebody! When my best friend comes to visit, the first place I take her to would be true food kitchen. The food is healthy but there is flavor for every pallet. My favorite location is the dallas location. The parking is easier to handle and the restaurant’s interior is so up my alley. If they are up for a dope breakfast spot, we have to go to first watch. I should own stock in this chain because I cannot get enough of their egg and goat cheese omelet! If i am in a mood for awesome vegan food, I have to take her to bamsvegan; he is awesome and you have follow his IG page in order to see where he is going to set up shop for that weekend. Personally, I love that concept because I get to see the city in a different way. To keep the trend of vegan restaurants, I just discovered a spot in Grand Prairie called it’s so vegan. Their nachos will get you right every time! Outside of food, I love to go to the museum downtown; there is usually a spot where you can see live performers practicing their moves….for free. There is a park across the street for little kiddos to run loose and play in the water fountain. There is a dope farmers market downtown

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to start my “thanks” off by crediting the book by John Maxwell. Even though my encounter with him was a bit iffy (never meet your heroes), his book ‘Failing Forward’ CHANGED MY LIFE! I abandoned the way I attributed failure to my efforts in pursuing my dreams. I learned how to pivot and keep adjusting until I hit the sweet spot. I have to thank the Urban League of Greater Atlanta- Young Professionals for the vision to use my success to uplift the communities that need help the most. Thank you to the United Way for accepting me into the VIP program. I know honor the concepts of community engagement and how to sit on national or local non-profit organizations. I am equally grateful for the family and friends in my life that that have prayed for me, pushed me to do better, showed up at my speaking engagements, used my products or even referred my businesses to their circle. I truly thank you. I would be remised in not mentioning my husband. He is the love of my life and the true man of my prayers. This man has invested in every business I have ever dove into. He has purchased items to help my business grow. I will never forget the nights we are mixing sound and choosing images for my website. He has bought into my vision and I am inspired to keep going. Even though it has been 7 months, I owe everything to my baby boy. He has given me joy in my life and connected me to the things that matter. He is the moon and the stars.

Website: www.shespeaksbougie.com
Instagram: shespeaksboujee
Twitter: shepeaksbougie
Facebook: Tennielle Clark

Image Credits
Dana Ferrer Vett Vandiver