"STILL I RISE"
Shattered, but I'm not broken
Wounded, but time will heal
Heavy the load, the cross I bear
Lonely the road I trod, I dare
Shaken, but here I stand
Weary, Still I press on
Long are the nights, the tears I cry
Dark are the days, no sun in the sky
Yet still I rise
Never to give up
Never to give in against all odds
Yet still I rise
Above are lyrics from Yolanda Adams’ inspirational song, “Still I Rise”. These are the perfect words to describe the testimony of Theresa Doby, Founder and CEO of Style and Spa of Peace, Inc.
Style and Spa features all-natural skin care supplement and beauty products for all skin types in the Serenity Vitamin Skincare, Serenity Holistic and Serenity Spa lines that improve skin tone and enhance beauty. All products are hypo-allergenic, and will not clog pores. This suite of products is designed to work together to refresh, refine and reinvigorate natural beauty from head to toe.
The company's product line also consists of the Evolution Men's Skin Care Collection, a full skin care regime that was developed to combat the unique challenges of the male skin and includes natural ingredients such as olive and almond oils that provide smooth, supple skin. The complete line is formulated for all skin types.
Style and Spa's mission is to deliver skincare products that include natural ingredients and beauty products that improve their customer's skin, enhance their definition of beauty and help them to confidently express what makes them so unique in this world. The company guarantees 100% customer satisfaction and their staff are strongly committed to serving their customers in a professional, encouraging, and caring manner.
I had the pleasure of doing a feature article on Theresa in the May 2010 issue of Enspire. It is rare for me to feature someone more than once, however the story of how this entrepreneur extraordinaire was able to overcome a major setback, is an inspiration to us all.
At the time of Theresa’s previous feature, Theresa was riding high and had been blessed and highly favored by God with the following accomplishments:
Theresa was riding on Cloud Nine and enjoying God’s favor and glory, however shortly thereafter, the world as Theresa knew it was suddenly turned upside down.
Theresa’s husband returned home from overseas to celebrate his birthday, as well as their six year wedding anniversary. He had a persistent cough. They both presented their own diagnosis. He contributed his cough to the air conditioning in his work office. Theresa thought that perhaps his tonsils needed to be removed. She scheduled a doctor’s appointment for him. However, after he lost movement in his left hand, she was urged to immediately rush him to the emergency room.
A team of four physicians watched over him that night. Together, they made a clear and straight forward diagnosis, her husband had Stage 4 lung cancer. After learning about her husband’s condition, Theresa was catatonic, living on automatic pilot, but throughout her challenge, she never lost faith in God. However she could not understand why this tragedy was happening and often asked God, “Why is this happening to me, to my beloved husband? How could this be?”
Theresa lived through an extensive eight months of consistent heartache and emotional pain. “On the surface it appeared to others including my husband, that I was strong, that I was coping and that I was facing my trial like a warrior. However, on the inside, I cried a thousand tears. Just as I wiped away the tears, another thousand welled within my eyes, flowing like the Nile River”.
Theresa’s husband’s physical condition began to deteriorate before her eyes. “It was as if I was watching a movie that had been fast forward, frame by frame”, said Theresa. In March, 2011, her husband lost his battle with lung cancer.
After her husband’s death she was in a daze. The pain was oftentimes too much to bare. Total darkness enveloped her for months with a pain that was so strong that oftentimes she felt like she could not go on. The loss of her beloved husband created a void, a deep hole and a vacuum that filled her every being.
In the darkest of nights, she reached out her hand to God and asked the Lord for his help and guidance. She knew that he would never leave her. She held on to her faith and knew that he would guide her.
“As a Christian, instructed in what the Bible teaches, I still found this trial and test to be extremely difficult. I was never quite prepared for it. The fear and sting of death still aide, among the best believers. The realm of death is an unfamiliar area not known completely to the living. It is the severing of relations from those we loved and for whom we lived and labored. My heart was broken like a bending reed tossed back and forth yet silently beating”, said Theresa.
The death of a spouse has far-reaching effects on the survivor.
As the surviving spouse, one must cope not only with emotional loss, but also with a myriad of changes in daily routines, as well
as a disruption of future plans. It’s not easy for anyone but it is especially difficult for an entrepreneur whose spouse played a
vital role in their business.
After she regained control of her life, Theresa asked herself, “What would Ronald want me to do?” As far as Theresa was concerned, failure was not an option. Her husband would have wanted her to go on, to be successful and to finish the work that they both started.
Theresa’s respect and love for the Lord, has led her through the darkest days of her life. With God’s guidance and her hard work, Theresa was able to keep her business going. She knew that she had to maintain a relationship with God.
How was Theresa able to maintain her business and to stay afloat during this difficult time? “Since starting my company, I have been blessed to work with professional people. It goes two ways. As a business owner you should have good leadership qualities, people skills, and communication skills. When there was a good flow of revenue coming into the business, Style and Spa employed several people a month. When there was eight months of downtime and God restored me, I contacted the people whom I worked with and explained the situation. These companies still worked with me and some of them even did it for free. Other's stated that I could pay them back, even if it took five years. See this is the favor of God. God watches how we treat people as a business owners”, said Theresa.
Besides her faith, one of the primary reasons why Theresa was able to maintain her business, is that fact that she had a comprehensive business plan. According to Theresa, “Every company must have a business plan. Your business plan should be updated every year. As business owners we must face reality. There are some periods you have to cut back because of the economy. You need to set a yearly plan which includes a budget. We are now in the month of September, it's almost time to draw up plans for year 2012".
"Look at the promotions and campaigns you have done in 2011 to see which campaigns were successful and which campaigns were not. It's a time to restore and rebuild. I know this first hand. Sometimes you see right in front of you that products are not moving or the phones are not ringing. You may even ask yourself if you should close your business. My answer to this is a resounding NO! It’s important to remember the 4 P's: PREPARATION, PERSISTENCE, PRAYER, and PROFIT”, said Theresa.
Theresa feels that it is also important to have a strong support system. “In business you need a support system. You need to surround yourself with people who will help you propel to your destiny. It's a beautiful thing to have people or a person who understands that God has a calling for your life and they are willing to help you reach it without envy or jealousy.”
Today Theresa celebrates her husband’s life and takes comfort that he has finished his race, he has received his crown of righteousness and he is enjoying the presence of the Lord.
Theresa is moving forward. She has been accepted into a graduate program at Trinity University. She is pursuing a double Masters degree in Christian Studies and Bioethics. She was recently awarded three scholarships. God is restoring her.
How does she plan to balance school, ministry and her business? “Time management is the key. Mainly the double degree master's program classes are scheduled all day on Saturdays and I have one class during the week. I work without outside consultants. I have a staff of aestheticians that will be conducting in store promotions and a PR firm helping to place Style and Spa back on the map. We’re touching ALL aspects of the marketing plan”, said Theresa.
Theresa gives the following advice to entrepreneurs who are experiencing troubled times. “God is for you and your business. There is nothing too hard for God. God is able to restore and repair. Continue to press using all resources for advertising, networking and in due season you will reap if you faint not. In business we want that first million dollars. I've learned sometimes it's not all about money. To some business owners this statement is not real. But if your business is to help others than you will receive financial breakthrough”.
Theresa is currently working on a proposal to get Style and Spa's products placed in Sephora, Carson Pirie Scott and Walmart. They are also in the process of developing commercials to promote the product line.
“Yes, this is a tall order but I have faith. Doors have been closed
but this is a period of restoration. I will continue to market the business and to do free promotions so that customers can sample our natural skin care line. Customers will be able to review our company website where they can read comments both from men
and women about our products. We will continue to advertise on Facebook and will send out Twitter messages at least three times
a week. I understand people may think mailing postcards is
out-of-style, but there are customers who still like to receive them. Our current campaign includes mailing over 2,000 flyers
with product samples. PR packets have also been mailed to
several TV media outlets”, said Theresa.
Theresa owes her success to her faith in God. She believes that when you are in a test, it's for the glory of God and to build faith and character. “Sometimes there is a kind of necessity that the followers of God must be afflicted; for when we have no trials we’re are apt to get careless, and when we have prosperity we are likely to become worldly-minded”, said Theresa.
Sometimes I'm troubled, but not in despair
Struggling, I make my way through
Trials, they come to make me strong
I must endure, I must hold on
Yet still I rise
Above all my problems
Above all my eyes can see
Knowing God is able to strengthen me
Yet still I rise
Never to give up
Never to give in against all odds
YET STILL I RISE!!!!
No doubt with her resilience, her attitude, her faith and her determination, Theresa will continue to do great things.
IN LOVING MEMORY
This article is dedicated to the memory of Ronald Doby
and all others who have lost their battle with cancer.
Gone yet not forgotten,
Though we are now apart,
Your spirits lives within us,
Forever in our hearts.