If you grew up in a small town then you’re probably familiar with the phrase “small town mentality,” describing the individuals that are okay with where they are in life and don’t typically seek opportunities outside of what they are used to. Talesiea Ealy, an entrepreneur and creative, is the opposite.
Talesiea grew up in Menifee, Arkansas, located in-between Plumerville and Conway with a population of about 300. As a passerby, you wouldn’t give much thought about the community and its inhabitants, but Talesiea sees the inspiration that lies within it. Talesiea’s mindset was bigger than where she grew up, but she doesn’t allow that to discredit her roots.
As an emerging entrepreneur Talesiea faced inward challenges, but never fully let go of her aspirations. She deeply values her family and the community in which she was raised. Through her lifestyle brand, Dotted., inspired by her late grandmother, Talesiea inspires, uplifts and motivates others. She says, “I wanted to continue her legacy by bringing awareness to the beauty of our individual uniqueness. It is time that we stand boldly and confidently in the truth of our identity.”
Tell us who you are and what you do.
My name is Talesiea Ealy, and I am the creator of Dotted., which is an inspirational apparel and lifestyle brand. I currently work in retail and have my bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I’ve always known I wanted to help people create a better life, but I would’ve never imagined I’d get to do it like this.
With Dotted., I do all things that bring me peace while inspiring others to do the same. That typically looks like creating apparel that reflects positive thinking/living, YouTubing, and creating a virtual community that thrives on building one another up.
What inspired you to create your brand and what is the message behind it?
Dotted. simply means to live a life marked with freedom, confidence, and boldness. Through life’s experiences, we get marked by different things but Dotted. reminds us to take control of those things that try to realign our identity. Fortunately, we have the ability to control our life’s story!
The name Dotted. comes from my late grandmother’s nickname, Dot. Growing up, I heard stories of how she impacted people’s lives and how just her presence would shift the atmosphere in a room. I wanted to continue her legacy by bringing awareness to the beauty of our individual uniqueness. It is time that we stand boldly and confidently in the truth of our identity. We make our homes, communities, and even the world better when we live freely and authentically.
The term creative scared me because my art didn’t look like others. However, I recently had a moment that made me to embrace my identity as a creative.
Was there a defining moment that helped you to realize your potential as a creative?
It’s so funny that you asked this question. To be completely honest, I had trouble labeling myself as a creative. The term creative scared me because my art didn’t look like others. However, I recently had a moment that made me to embrace my identity as a creative.
I officially launched my brand in November of 2019. There were several starter designs, but there was one t-shirt that never sold, “Marked with Freedom.” I was so surprised because it was my favorite shirt. I was planning to revamp my site in February 2020, so I decided I’d retire that design then.
Fast forward, COVID came into the picture and my brand, on the business end, was silent. I was discouraged and really considered slowly fading Dotted. out without anyone noticing. On top of that, my grandfather passed in June of 2020. In his last days of life, he didn’t really talk much at all, but I knew he could understand everything that I said.
My last conversation with him that day was that he didn’t have to worry about our family and that I would make sure that everyone was taken care of. He couldn’t respond, but I knew he got the message. A few hours later, he passed. In the pain of his passing, I had a weird peace and this overwhelming drive to live. Later that night I checked my email and saw an order notification from Shopify. It was my first order in months. My heart dropped. Within minutes of my grandfather passing, I got an order for the very shirt that never sold last year, “Marked with Freedom.” In thanking that person for the order, she told me “I hope you never give up… you are a real inspiration.” Then it all made sense. The peace. The will to live. The urge to create.
Creating was never about the image for me but all about how it made one feel. Art heals. Long story not so short, that was my defining moment. I’ll never give up on the chance to empower people to live, and I’m blessed to be able to do it in a creative way!
Why do you feel that it’s important to elevate Black voices as it pertains to your current industry?
Black voices provide a Black perspective. Authentic Black perspectives are needed in every industry, but I believe it brings balance to the lifestyle world. For years the media created this stereotypical idea of what Black living looked like and Black lifestyle creatives are challenging that norm. You can be Black and love plants, anime, luxury, classical music, fashion, build healthy home dynamics, and the list goes on. Representation matters, and we are shifting the identity of the Black community by bringing light to different ways of living. I love it!
Has growing up in a small town influenced your decisions or creative process?
I think I dreamed bigger because of it. It was never a limitation. In a small town, everybody knows everyone’s business and that was no different for me. My community was extremely supportive of me growing up and that helped build my confidence. I believe I am able to be freer in my creative process because of that supportive foundation.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming creatives who want to start a lifestyle brand?
As a growing brand, I’m still figuring this thing out. However, I’d say tell your story! People want to know you. Before they buy a product or click a link, they want to feel connected. Secondly, build relationships with integrity. In the lifestyle industry there are enough people that will “sis” and “boo” you and not mean it. You want lasting, trustworthy connections with your supporters! And lastly, just do it and do it for you. If you do it for others, it’ll be easy to give up. Find joy in what you share, and go for it!
What do you hope to achieve in the near future as a brand?
Life transformations! I have sales goals of course and other resources that I plan to launch through Dotted. but more than anything I look forward to hearing the stories of people being inspired to live.
How can we stay connected with you?