Day 2 of the ESSENCE + New Voices Entrepreneur Summit saw author, reality star and entrepreneur Toya Wright join professional and personal development expert Lucinda cross in conversation to shed her insight on A Mom-prenuers Journey. Although she was introduced to the masses as the ex-wife of Lil Wayne, the mother of two has carved out her own brand and identity. Today, in addition to her career as a celebrity and reality star, she owns two boutiques and heads up Toya Wright Publishing. She’s also the force behind the Before Bed Headz hair bonnet line.
Starring in the 2009 BET reality show Tiny & Toya proved to be the igniting spark for Toya. Although initially approached “to do this show based off of being a baby mother,” she insisted on telling her “real life.” As a young girl, writing in her diary helped her navigate her “rough upbringing,” so she decided to write her book Priceless Inspirations while doing the show and was pleasantly surprised when it hit the New York Times Bestseller List.
“I was so excited about that because that was the first thing that I did on my own,” she shared. “It was something for me. I was coming out of my ex’s shadow and creating my own name.”
That high didn’t last. Being too eager, she unknowingly signed over her rights.
“You have to really pay attention to these contracts,” she advised. “At the time, I was really young, and ready to get into business, ready to get on. I wasn’t really paying attention to all of that, but now I’m looking at everything with a fine-tooth comb.” Since then, she has bounced back through her own Toya Wright Publishing, publishing several books, including her latest, Learning Colors with Reignbeaux, her first children’s book. Though she admits maintaining her work-life balance is challenging, her passion for her career and love for her kids have both remained in tact.
Being a mompreneur has its ups and downs. “Mom guilt is real,” she shared, “but you have to equally love what you do for a living and love your kids and give both a great amount of attention.”
Her circle, which includes Tameka “Tiny” Harris, Kandi Burruss Tucker, Monica Arnold and Rasheeda Frost, helps her thrive. “I need women in my life who are going to motivate me, make me want to go harder,” she said. “I feel like there is enough room out here for us all to eat.”
“There’s nothing like a boss circle when we’re all winning, we’re all eating,” she gushed.