Wear Your Dreams Out – Tea and Entrepreneurship


“You can never be anything great unless you love it.” – Maya Angelou


Verna L. Hamilton celebrates MOSHOOD’s 21 years of business (from her personal collection)

Books do not teach us how to be a business owner.

Even though the New York Public Library’s lions are named Patience and Fortitude, these essential character traits are not acquired by frequent library card use. Similarly, successful businesses are not achieved via textbook case study lectures and Socratic discussions.

Case studies are the notes written from those who’ve actually lived off the pages. Every person who owns a business is a case study-in-progress. The lessons we learn from living through various scenarios are seldom forgotten. Therefore, experience is a master teacher and we educate ourselves by studying those with experience.

(Yes, I see the raised hand. What is the question?)

For all my former, present and future students: there remains no room for mediocrity nor excused absences from excellence.

Tea drinkers are traditionally scholars. We are what we drink. Drink tea.

As every cup of tea requires hands to lift it and lips to drink it, we pursue education as the toolbox we use to pursue and to build our dreams. In other words, do your own homework since no one can take the exams for you.

Speaking of test preparation, let’s have a fortifying cup of tea.

(Welcome to all new Straight From The Leaf readers and Tea Philosophy supporters! Tea is a fine study partner, so please feel free to make a fresh pot for a clear mind.)


MOSHOOD (Fort Greene, Brooklyn)

MOSHOOD lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Bryant Park, what?! This is Brooklyn. Go hard or go home.

(What to wear? Cue Moshood in red. Enter from Lafayette Avenue.)

Fulton Street now is a fashion runway. All are welcome, or least those who can squeeze near the sidewalk without stopping traffic. Lights, camera, and plenty of action surround this major celebration.

Signature T-shirts are also available for sale at the far side of the runway.

“I remember when you started,” the woman said to Moshood, “I told you that your prices for those T-shirts were too high. You’ve got to come down and take those [African] masks off everything. Now here you are 21 years later.”

Native New Yorkers can attest that Fort Greene demographics are considerably different now compared to two decades ago. The Lagos, Nigeria-native Moshood opened his store doors long before Fulton Street became an upscale tourist shopping destination. The live models featured in the store window arrived before the national and international accolades.

Moshood remains. Let the music play, the singers sing, and all the people rejoice!

People celebrate openly after success goes public. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, celebrate privately even when failure seems inevitable. Then they keep going.



P Moshood and myself at the Brooklyn flagship store

Pick any reason to shop Moshood Creations at 698 Fulton Street (www.afrikanspirit.com):





Customer service

Personally, it is the store’s welcoming atmosphere that keeps me returning. I leave confident that each garment will be uniquely stunning for years to come. As share compliments received with him and Madame Zoe, joyful laughter punctuates the air.

“Wear Moshood. Wear yourself. It’s all about pride.” Moshood reminds everyone.


Wearing a white linen Moshood tunic



I love tea.

I drink tea.


(Does it show?)

Studying tea in all its permutations and the people who both cultivate and drink it is a lifelong pursuit. Guess what? There are tea drinkers located all over the world.

The thought of my visiting every tea-producing nation quickens my pulse.

(Pausing over a wonderful thought.)

In spite of my speaking at major venues, there was a time I questioned the tea industry’s  general relevance as well as my specific role.

(Where do I fit? ‘I have a blog and a tweet.’ It wasn’t humility. It was fact.)

What do I have? I have a blog, a tweet, and a voice.

I can read. I’ve read that a tree will grow in Brooklyn.

Small acorns grow into huge trees, don’t they? If I commit to growth each day, what will my 21 year celebration look like? I can think, write, and do.

(Speaking of writing, where are my notes?)

Yes. My notes include dressing well for my dreams, perhaps a leather bag?

Let there be tea.

Cups up!