A family of entrepreneurs living out their dreams

Published 8:28 am Saturday, December 9, 2023

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Shont’e and Trey Mason, along with their 17 year-old son Josiah, are literally living out their dreams. Each has their own business and are laser focused on their visions of what will be.

At 44, Shont’e is the owner of Vivrant Things Boutique, a private styling boutique which caters to clients who have a love of fashion but don’t know where to begin. She has always had a heart for encouraging and empowering other women, and one day she finally decided to jump and become a personal stylist and have her own boutique. “I had no idea it would take off as quickly as it did,” said Shont’e. “The women really love it, and they like the one-on-one feeling, which for them is almost like therapy. It is more about the experience than the clothes. We laugh, we talk, sometimes they cry and ask for advice. Something just happens that is magical. It is good for them and it is good for me.”

Shont’e specializes in new, preloved, and vintage clothing. She schedules private styling appointments with each of her clients where she gets to know them and their personal needs. “We literally sit down and chat like girlfriends,” said Shont’e. “I try to learn as much about them as I can. Do they want to step out into a new career, jazz up their wardrobe, or are they just looking for something fun. I then create their own fashion runway for them by picking out pieces for them and doing a photoshoot.”

At the end of each day it brings a sense of joy and happiness not only to Shont’e but to her clients. “I have been in their shoes before as a stay at home mom who didn’t know her place,” said Shont’e. “It brings great satisfaction to me to see them smile and their faces light up. It’s as if they feel much lighter than when they walked in. And, they are leaving knowing that they have a very unique piece of clothing and won’t see anyone else wearing the same thing.”

Trey, 34, started cutting his own hair when he was 12 years old. And with the encouragement of his mother continued to do so through high school. “When I graduated, she gave me the ultimatum, it was either the military or barber school,” said Trey. “I chose the latter and went to Grace College of Barbering in Ayden, where I not only learned the trade but a lot about life and the discipline needed to become successful.”

The day Trey was hired at Rough Cuts, he felt like a number one draft pick, as it was the place in Washington at the time. “Cornell, the owner, taught me a lot,” said Trey, “particularly when it comes to customer service and dealing with any culture or background.”

After seven years at Rough Cuts, Trey would move on to other opportunities, with the big prize of having his own shop still in the back of his mind. “One day I stumbled across a space that was nothing more than an empty shell,” said Trey. “It was literally a concrete slab with no paint, no sinks, anything. That immediately got the wheels spinning in my head, I talked to my wife about my vision, and stepped out and opened my own shop, Trey’s Barber Shop, five years ago.”

Trey admits that there has been a lot of on the job training as he has gone through the good times and the bad. But said he is glad he has experienced it all. “I think big and I dream big, and it has been a balancing act for me,” said Trey. “Personally you want to grow professionally and surround yourself with good workers, which I have. I help to groom them as barbers and to achieve some of their own personal goals as well.”

As a teenager, Josiah already had visions of starting his own business. At first he wanted to be a YouTuber. His parents were very supportive and bought him all of the equipment that he needed. “I wanted a nickname and I came up with DJ Dawg, which stuck with me. I also needed a mascot and decided it would be a wolf. I got on my laptop and created a logo with an image of a wolf and the name DJ. Dawg. Now I know it might sound strange, but I had a dream one night and saw the logo as part of a merchandise line. When I woke up, I decided to turn my dream into a full-blown reality and make it happen.”

Josiah started saving his money and working hard to accomplish his goal, which was easier said than done. “I wanted to spend the money as soon as I got it, but with the help of my parents, I quickly learned some self-discipline.”

Only several weeks into the process, Josiah has been able to turn his dream into a business. His first order was for six customized DJ. Dawg hoodies. “The first day I got my “merch” I have never been happier in my life,” said Josiah. “I was so full of emotion over the fact that through all of my hard work, I was literally holding my first investment in my hands. And I can’t thank my parents enough for inspiring and supporting me enough to turn my dreams into a full blown business.”

Shont’e and Trey couldn’t be prouder of their son Josiah, and what he has been able to accomplish at such a young age. “It is important for us as parents to nurture our kids’ dreams,” said Shont’e. “My dad and grandma always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be and they would believe in me. We do the same for our kids as well.”

“For me it is dope,” said Trey. “ Josiah is the prototype for young black men. If you have a dream, you can make it tangible, make it real, and you can monetize it.”

For the three of them there is also hope that in some way they can serve as role models for others. “If you have a dream you always have to push through it,” said Josiah. “Just work hard for it. Save, invest, and don’t blow your money. You just don’t know where it will all lead you.”

“We aren’t just working for ourselves, but are inspiring others to start their own businesses,” said Trey. “Go buy you some land, or go buy you a house, and leave something for your kids. You can do it.”

“I do feel as if I’m a role model for the Black community, but it goes beyond that,” said Shont’e. “I see myself as a model for showing women that you can have anything. It doesn’t matter your walk of life, your financial status, race, or religion. My goal is to say, just unite. Everybody wants the same thing and that is to love and be loved.”

The dreams of what can be, continue to live in the hearts of Shont’e, Trey and Josiah on a daily basis. Shont’e envisions a bigger location where she can host events where she can bring women together and help to empower them. And one day, start her own nonprofit where she can provide clothing to women coming out of domestic violence or stay at home moms needing to get out into the workforce but have no money to purchase clothes. Trey is about to open his second shop in Washington, and one day sees himself and the family on a two acre tract of land in Chocowinity, where the nearest neighbor is at least one mile away in each direction. Josiah plans to expand his custom clothing line to include shirts, tank tops, hats, and his own designer shoe line. He also has his sights set on his dream building, a vacant space next to Belks, which he will name Stacy.