DominiqueLashae, An Eye for Fashion
II was given the opportunity to chat with Terrica Williams, owner of DominiqueLashae. In the time I’ve known her, I’ve realized, she truly has an eye for fashion. I met Terrica at work. She has always been full of joy, in spite of overcoming brain surgery. I can count on her to speak encouraging words when I need them, engage in my petty when the time is right and dance to Cardi B to add a little ratchet to the work day. Her eye for fashion shows in the way she wears her hair, the clothes she wears and the shoes that decorate her feet. Keep reading to learn more about her story.
TN: Ok Terrica, we will start by just talking about your story. Nothing scripted. Just you. Who is Terrica Williams?
TW: OK *laughs* I feel like Terrica Williams is a different part of DominiqueLashae. Although, both are the same person, people are dimensional. Once we learn our dimensions, we can operate in different things and in different times when necessary. Terrica is the compassionate, real sweet, cry about anything, you hurt my feelings, can we all just get along type person. Then there’s Dominique Lashae. She’s the BAWSE (read: boss). She has a whole different attitude in how she approaches the business.
TN: *laughs* OK BAWSE, where were you born? I think I remember you telling me you weren’t from Memphis.
TW: Well, I was born in Madison, IL. Being from up north for a long time, I realized it’s a different culture than down here.
TN: Completely understand. What’s your religious background?
TW: I grew up in church so I’ve been in church my whole life. Then, I had those, what I would say, are unrealistic expectatations of the church girl. In high school they used to call me Virgin Mary so when I walked by they would say “Hail Mary,” making it seem like I had to be perfect. With those expectations, it made me feel like I couldn’t feel sad. You know, they would say things like, “if you love God, you can’t feel sad, you ain’t supposed to be mad because you love the Lord.”
TN: Are those still your views?
TW: No, 32 years later, I know I can love the Lord and still be sad. That’s why He said He’s a comforter. Why would we need a comforter if we weren’t sad about something? I’ve learned over time that God doesn’t want us to be superficial. We can have our moments when we doubt and when we are in disbelief. We get to have those. I’ve been forced, I feel, to have that transparency.
TN: Why do you feel forced to be transparent?
TW: Well, in 2016, I had brain surgery. During that time, I went from just having migraines to them saying I’d have to have surgery to make sure it’s not cancerous. Leading up to the surgery, I remember thinking, God, this can’t be you. If you love me, you will not allow me to go through this. I remember telling God what I don’t do and telling him about the people that do things I haven’t done. At the time, I was looking for justification. Throughout that process, I realized we go through things and it’s not about us. Three years later, I know that without that experience, I would have never reached the people I’ve been able to reach. I understand now that God puts us in positions where we can’t do anything but trust Him.
TN: That’s powerful. Being able to look back and see God’s hand in your situation and to learn that He wanted to use you to impact the people in your world. Would you say your brain surgery led you to God and a relationship with Him?
TW: Prior to the brain surgery, I changed churches and my new pastor, Pastor Tony Alexander, required a different level of relationship with God. At this point, he pushed me to know God more. I never knew God as friend and now I do. He [God] cares about my feelings. I think the more I experience things in life, the more I get to know Him. Like, now, I know Him as a Healer and a Provider. I was off work for 6 months, didn’t have any money coming in but I didn’t lose my apartment. I didn’t lose anything. God was showing me He is a provider. He taught me not to trust in man or in a job.
TN: Whew! So God was able to show Himself faithful in the midst of your trials. What’s even more powerful is that out of your struggles, DominiqueLashae was born. Tell me about that.
TW: So the day of my surgery, on that cold table, they told me they were about to put me in a medically induced coma. I felt I was about to die because, to my knowledge, when they put you in a coma, you’re about to die. It was in that moment I had the thought, “die with memories, not dreams.” In that moment, I adopted that quote for my life. I asked myself, “what is something you always wanted to do?” What’s the one thing I make excuses for not doing. That’s when DominiqueLashae was born.
TN: How did you choose the names?
TW: Those are both of my middle names. My parents couldn’t decide which name they wanted so they gave me two. My dad wanted Dominique, my mom wanted Lashae. At first I thought that was so ghetto, like, why do I have all these names?! But I realized this goes back to being dimensional. I’m a different person when I’m mama versus when I’m sister or friend.
TN: What’s your vision for DominiqueLashae?
TW: Working in corporate America, I don’t want to go to work looking like somebody grandma, like I have 12 kids and I’m barely making it. I don’t want to look like that. I still want to be cute. My vision is that we can be sophisticated and sexy. We can have the best of both worlds, we don’t have to choose. If I want to go for dinner after work, I don’t want to go home and change. I want to be cute walking out the door.
TN: To back up some, DominiqueLashae is Terrica’s fashion line. It’s the way she able to illustrate her eye for fashion. She always walks in work looking real cute and I’m usually nearly begging her to style me! So Terrica, what’s your inspiration?
TW: Ok, so I like Willona, from Good Times…
TN: *laughing* Willona?! You took it all the way back!
TW: Yes, I love her! And I Love Lucy. I loved how they had this classy, chic look. You know fashion always comes back. So now, I like to provide old school fashion and color blocking. Big arms, pleated skirts, polka dots. You know, things like that. Plaid, mixed prints. Back in the day, they did that!
TN: Ok, what are some obstacles that got in the way of you achieving your goals?
TW: During this time, I’d say the biggest thing I’ve learned is to be careful of your circle. You have to have a solid circle of people to push you towards your goals and hold you accountable. Also, be mindful of the people who attach themselves to you and why they attach themselves. You have to ask God to sanctify your motives and intentions. That way I move out the way and God gets the glory. It’s not because of what I did. It’s what God did. I’ve learned you have to let some people go. And that’s ok. Pray to God to show you people’s intentions. And when he shows you, you gotta let them go.
TN: What’s your why behind what you do?
TW: I would say my daughter, she’s 12. She understands the concepts behind things now. After my surgery, Haleigh was the first person I wanted. I just feel like, if I go out and inspire the world but I miss it with my baby, I missed it. She gets to see the realness, the tears. She gets to see me crying, wondering why my eye still isn’t opened. It was supposed to be opened 2 years ago. It’s my goal to show her that regardless of what you go through, God is still there. He cares. My biggest inspiration is to show my daughter you can still love God in the bad things. To show her to trust the process and push through. She listens to me but she’s watching me. So I have to be the example.
TN: Every time I’ve seen you, before the surgery and after, you’re happy and cordial. You’re always smiling. You inspire me to keep pushing. I think, if you can push through your struggle and still trust God, I definitely can.
TW: What I’ve learned is it’s a choice. It’s a choice I have to make everyday. My question was to God, why did you put my scar on my face? Everybody can see that. Why didn’t you put it where I can cover it up? He took my choice away. He told me, that’s why He allowed it. If it were left up to me, I wouldn’t share my story. As a result, I have to share my story and He gets the glory. I have to humble myself and talk about God and how I overcame with God’s help.
TN: I’m sure that is tough but you do it gracefully and beautifully. What’s one piece of advise you’d give people aspiring to be where are?
TW: First, I’d say to thine own self be true. Be true to yourself to examine your life. Then, assess your skills. Fix what you can and ask for help for what you can’t.
TN: That’s awesome advice! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. It was such a pleasure! I can’t wait to see what God does with you this year!
Support Terrica, visit her website, DominiqueLashae. Buy something! Stay tuned for more chats with friends!