In today’s world, fashion is not just about looking good, but it is also about feeling good too!! Ever went shopping and found items that looked good on the rack, but looked different after trying them on? Ever went shopping and felt that the quality of the clothes wasn’t worth the money? Well Boss Up Magazine got the full scoop from a person with this same experience, who decided to find a solution! Creating fashion that not only makes you look good, but makes you feel good too, meet Melanie Sowell!
Right outside of Chicago, IL, Owner and Operator of BlackRoyalTee, Melanie Sowell, provides more than just creativity with her products; she delivers a message! Melanie has always been a creative soul, but decided to design jewelry to serve as the starting point of her creativity. Melanie says that she loves t-shirts, but had a difficult time finding really soft and comfortable shirts. Not only that, but shirts that were well made and held up after several washings, became difficult as well, which made Melanie take her creativity to the next level to create a solution. This solution soon became known as BlackRoyalTee. (You Go Girl!)
For Melanie, jumpstarting her business came with a few challenges, but none that would stop her grind!!! Melanie tells us that figuring out prices for merchandise, which type of tax status would be beneficial for her business, and the necessary product quantity were her biggest challenges.
“Things were a bit overwhelming at first, then I just took a deep breath and said to myself that I’m not the first person to start a business and I won’t be the last. If other people did it and were successful, there was nothing stopping me from doing the same. I now take every day as it comes and learn from everything that I do. I don’t stress about anything anymore and embrace challenges as they come because I know that I will come out better for it.”
So what is BlackRoyalTee? We’re glad you asked! BlackRoyalTee creates merchandise with empowering and uplifting messages for People of Color. BlackRoyalTee designs T-Shirts, tote bags, and mugs that transform, which is the company’s exclusive mugs! These awesome mugs transform to display empowering phrases when a hot beverage is added. (Dope Right?!) Currently, BlackRoyalTee has about thirty pieces of hand crafted jewelry, four different mugs, and various t-shirts that are not only in constant rotation, but are all limited editions! Melanie says that once designs are sold out, they are then retired to make room for newer designs. For production, the product creation process can take as little as a few hours, to as long as six to eight weeks! Melanie tells us that making jewelry can take a few hours to make per piece, but mugs carry a lengthier process. Melanie first creates the product design, and then she works with manufacturers to make sure the design displays properly on her products. Once she reviews and approves of everything, it goes into production! (BOSS Status!)
Bar far, the most popular product is the Transformation Mug. I love the concept of transformation – you think you’re seeing one thing and then it changes before your eyes into a work of art. The difference between my mugs and other mugs you see on the market is that a small portion of design is displayed when the mug it cold – the hot beverage reveals the design in its totality.
“The majority of my designs are geared toward People of Color. I feel that it is extremely important that we have the option to shop in places that cater to us. I’m very blessed to be able to make a living by doing what I absolutely love – creating. I owe everything to my God above – none of this would be possible without His hand guiding me every step of the way!”
So we got to the nitty gritty and found out exactly what inspired Melanie to create BlackRoyalTee and this is what she had to say,
Quite frankly, my inspiration came from the marginalization of the Black woman. Comments like, “Your pretty for a black girl”, or “Braids aren’t professional in the work place” – oh so irritating!!! I wanted to design a product that celebrated who we are, how we are created. God made no mistakes in us – we’re beautiful in every way imaginable. So, when designing my Black Girl Magic Mug, I purposely chose to have just the words “Black Girl” displayed during the cold phase because, at first glance, that’s how the world characterizes us – we’re just Black girls. BUT – when you pour in your hot beverage, mug transforms into a heart with shooting stars and the words, “Black Girl Magic’ appears – and that’s exactly what we are – MAGIC!
If you’re interested in having your own business of designing products, Melanie gives the following advice,
Just do it! Don’t let your inhibitions or “Life” get in the way. Too many times we’ll say, “Oh, as soon as the kids get older, I’ll start my business’, or “As soon as I save up a certain amount, I’ll start my business”. If you wait until your situation is perfect, you’ll never start. Take the plunge today, if you’re passionate about what you and driven to succeed. it will all work out in the end!
Make sure you keep up with Melanie and BlackRoyalTee on social media:
Instagram | Twitter: @BlkRoyalTee
If you’re Interested in purchasing products from BlackRoyalTee, you can do so at:
To learn about all upcoming events of BlackRoyalTee, you can do so at:
under the “Hang With RoyalTee” page.
Until next time…
“Boss Up and Be Blessed”