There is something special about a relationship between mother and daughter, but not everyone gets to experience this bond with their parents. Not everyone has the tools to break generational trauma, but that is not the case for LaPorchá Preisen.
Not only does she nurture her relationships her children, she is already planning a brighter future for them compared to what she was given.
“I had my oldest child when I was 13,” Preisen said, adding, “And I got kicked out because he was a white kid.”
Preisen was in and out of foster care. She was removed from the home and her own child was taken from her.
Because of those experiences, she wants her children to be able to earn money if they want to and supports their entrepreneurial spirit.
She said when she had a girl she was excited because she finally got to “dress cute,” (having always been a tomboy) and her daughter also fell in love with fashion. When her daughter Leiilah turned six, she made it known that she wanted to make other people feel beautiful, so they decided to try and make homemade makeup. “Easier said than done,” Preisen said, laughing.
She said she wanted to figure out what her daughter’s way was for the client’s look and it turned out to be lip gloss.
When Leiilah turned 7, Priesen decided to create an online business, selling homemade lip gloss and lashes, for her daughter as a birthday gift. When she turned 8, they added bags, purses, hats and accessories to the business. “Every time someone makes a purchase it goes into a business account for her college fund,” Preisen said.
Leiilah said she wants to go to college to become a Marine Biologist, and said her favorite sea creatures are vampire squid. “I am also into gymnastics and want to be a chef too!” the ambitious youngster said.
All of the items sold at Unique Boutique are homemade by the family, with 8-year-old Leiilah leading the team, with the exception of the purses and lashes. The lashes are hand-made by mom. “It’s a family operation. Her cousins all help too,” Preisen said.
“I feel great [about having her own business] because I can sell my presents and I get to make people feel beautiful with my own product!” Leiilah said, adding, “And I get to see other people be happy!”
Leiilah said her favorite things to make are the lip glosses. She said there are an assortment of colors including green, yellow, purple, red, orange, blue and silver. She said to make it the ingredients include pigment powders combined with oils. Once it is the perfect color and consistency they put them in tubes for sale.
Her other favorite products are her customized purses. They come in a large variety of shapes and colors. Leiilah also models her own products online to promote and sell them.
Preisen was able to keep in contact with her child and was eventually free of the system.
Breaking the Pattern
“Being in the foster care system you learn a lot about what you don’t want to do as a parent,” Priesen said, adding, “My parents were great examples of what I didn’t want to do and what I needed to do.” She said both of her parents lives were in chaotic states by the time they were 30 despite having a strict upbringing.
As a mom she knew she had to provide, so she started doing hair and nails at a very young age. “I had to perfect every craft I knew to make sure my son could eat,” she said. “I have been braiding hair since I was nine, doing hair since I was 13 and doing lashes since I was 16.”
She said because she was a single mom, and because her parents didn’t want her, she has made a point to be there for her kids.
Her biggest goal for her daughter was to never let her be part the system, to never let her be sexually, emotionally or physically abused by anyone.
“So when I found out I was having a girl, I was extremely scared. I was young and I was fresh out of the foster care system,” Priesen said. “There is always that chance that you could lose your kid because you are out of the foster care system. She also was my first girl. So I was scared to have the relationship I had with my mom with her.”
Her kids need to know not only independence but where they fit into today’s society so that her future is set, Priesen said. “That’s what made me want to start her business so young. It’s the fact that black women are still paid so low on the totem pole. … In the U.S., black women are still the lowest paid employees across the nation.”
She hopes her young daughter will be able to “accomplish everything I never did,” Preisen said.
You can find Unique Boutique on Facebook and Instagram. All of her products can be purchased there.