Today we’d like to introduce you to Renay Thomas.
Renay, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My journey has been a roller coaster ride to say the least.
My grandmother raised my brother and I but she was also a foster partner. Growing up in the same household as foster children I feel I was exposed to a lot of different things typical kids weren’t. Seeing different social workers come in and out of the house, different kids from different backgrounds and traumatic experiences helped me realize at an early age what I wanted to do in life and that was to help kids in some way.
Originally, I wanted to be a teacher but that was short-lived. I then went to obtain my medical assistance certificate to become a pediatric nurse but realized soon it was impossible to obtain a job because I wasn’t bilingual. I struggle for two years not knowing what to do. In 2012 I checked in school again but this time to obtain my bachelor’s degree in human service as I wanted to be a social worker. I study for 4-5 years and in those years started to see my true passion was at-risk youth (specifically teen girls). I graduated with my bachelor’s in 2017 and the following year checked into Pepperdine University to obtain my master’s in management and leadership.
I decided to launch my women’s boutique S.T.Y.L.E by Renay (struggle till you live effortlessly) July 2019. My boutique was created for two reasons 1) to uplift women through a little Style and Fashion and 2) to help fund my non-profit for at-risk youth.
Fast-forward to now, I’m one year away from graduating with my masters, I’m running my own business, I just finished writing my children’s book for terminally ill kids and I’m one step closer to opening my nonprofit organization.
Has it been a smooth road?
Lack of support and confidence have been my main struggles through this journey.
Prior to launching my women’s boutique in July I was consistently looking for the support and approval from “friends & family” and when I didn’t get it I wouldn’t move forward because I didn’t have confidence in myself.
However, I sense I have to do what’s best for me regardless of those closest to me support me or not because they’re a million strangers who will believe in me whom never met me and those are who I’m doing this for.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with S.T.Y.L.E by Renay – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I own an online women’s boutique S.T.Y.L.E by Renay offering some of the latest apparel, lashes, sunglasses, handbags and more. I’m most know for my sunglasses and handbags because that’s what I originally started off with.
What’s sets me apart from others is that the money I make isn’t just for personal gain. 15% of every order is donated to one of three nonprofits that hold a special place in my heart: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Free Arts for abused kids and happy hats for kids in hospitals.
I’ve also used so of the money I’ve made to write a children’s book for terminally ill kids which will be available soon. The book has four short stories that are related to kids suffering from cancer, sickle cell and more.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What I love about Los Angeles is the diversity. Everywhere you turn you see different faces and I love is because I’m about to learn from others.
In my experience my least favorite thing about LA is the lack of support.
I’m a firm believer in collaboration over competition but it seems like everyone wants to compete vs come together and work.
- Apparel & Handbags under $50
- Sunglasses under $15
- Mink lashes under $13
- Website: www.stylebyrenay.com
- Email: email@example.com