PORT TOBACCO, Md. – Prior to the pandemic, Benita Gibson was a newly single mom who had just moved back home to southern Maryland from California in order to raise her kids closer to their maternal grandfather. Her father Frank T. Sanders generously insisted on finding a home large enough to accommodate Gibson, her three children, and him so that Gibson could continue to be a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom for her kids.
Shortly before the pandemic hit, she decided to work at an Amazon warehouse where she ended up being wrongfully terminated due to a glitch in their system. The company allotted her unemployment when the pandemic suddenly hit, since the mistake was on their end.
During the pandemic, Gibson spent a lot of time coming up with new activities to keep her three children entertained. The activity that they kept returning to was applying temporary tattoos. Her son Harrison kept referring to the tattoos as “tattoons.” After copious amounts of trying to explain to him how it was supposed to be pronounced, an idea began to form in Gibson’s mind. She had spent many years working on her own mental and emotional health, and during that time she realized how critical the use of positive self affirmations are. She shares, “Positive affirmations have always been a big thing and helped me find myself. They have changed my life with how I talk to myself. You don’t even realize that in the quiet moments in your head, you define yourself externally.”
Creating an amalgamation of the two ideas, she came up with Tattoon Kids, a company that sells temporary kids tattoos that contain positive affirmations in every design. Gibson was inspired by her children to create the first three characters of her now twelve – Powerful Boy for her son Jackson, Talented Girl for her daughter Jazmine, and Strong Boy for Harrison. From there, she designed each character to have transparent skin on the tattoos, so that each child that wears them will see their own skin tone reflected back at them through their tattoo. Gibson explains, “When it’s all said and done, I want kids to see themselves represented in Tattoon Kids.”
Throughout the process of getting her company off of the ground, Gibson found the biggest challenge that she faced was the ability to generate capital for her business. Thankfully, her father saw an advertisement for Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator program. After waiting two months, she was accepted into the program. The program provided her with mentorship, business workshops, and one of the grants that factored into the over $20,000 she earned from Amazon. They even flew all of those enrolled in the program to Seattle, Washington for continued education for starting and sustaining their individual businesses. Since then, she has received financial support from family, friends, and even strangers who believe in her company’s vision.
While balancing family life and running a business has been a definite challenge, the silver lining has been that she is able to do the majority of her work at night after her kids have gone to bed. During that time, she works with her illustrator Fatih Reis who resides in Turkey. Gibson shares her vision with him and then he makes that vision a reality.
With a smile on her face, Gibson shares, “My biggest triumph is that I did it. To have a concept that comes to fruition is no small feat. Many people have ideas and they remain just that. I had an idea and just made it happen.” Her sales have grown by 40% in the last year alone. In the coming year, she will be branching out into hired entertainment for local birthday parties, private events, and school events. She also hopes to create Tattoon Kids into a comic book.
Gibson offers this advice to other women in the area who are looking to start their own company, “If you think about it too much, you may talk yourself out of it. Stay the course once you do it. You’re going to run into all sorts of challenges, but if you believe in what you’re doing, keep going. I promise you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
For more information about Tattoon Kids, please visit their website here.
Contact our news desk at email@example.com