We had the good fortune of connecting with Domonique Pugh and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Domonique, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
For Brown Girls is a safe space for Brown girls to discuss everything ranging from mental health and wellness, to self-care and sufficiency. The brand was created because when I was struggling with depression, I did not really know who to talk to. I was surrounded by friends and family, but I didn’t feel like my friends and I really discussed mental health seriously. I didn’t feel like I knew I could relate to anyone close to me about this subject. There is most definitely a stigma on mental health and therapy in minority spaces. Most recently the mental health conversation has been more common in our communities, however, there is still a lack of resources for those of us struggling with mental health issues, diagnosed or not. I am hoping For Brown Girls merch, books and events, like the retreat, will let Brown girls know that mental health affects your physical health; my wish is for it to be prioritized like any other type of maintenance. I created the journals and t-shirts as a way to foster needed mental health and wellness conversations in Brown and Black communities. I also have discussions with teens/young adults and I have activities that go along with the literature.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am an overall creative- I am also a caterer, I was featured with Voyage Houston a few years ago. (Center of Attention). I teach college courses and I am a writer. My dream is to take my talents into schools and help young people feel comfortable discussing mental health. I want my retreats to go to places like Bali and the Virgin Islands one day. I plan to use my talents to create so much more content! What sets me apart from the others? I’d have to say the variety in what I do. I strive to accomplish many things. Anyone who knows me knows I do not stop. If there is something I want, I create it. I am extremely confident in who Domonique is and my abilities. I am most proud of my determination. As a creative, it gets hard and you do get discouraged. Sometimes you do not think you are good enough. It is never easy, but therapy helps, friends help; trust and prayer help. You have to break through that imposter syndrome- It’s a lie! You have to live in your truth, work on yourself and also know you were designed for this. I overcome the challenges by taking the time I needed and working at my own pace. I believe in taking care of myself and taking breaks; I definitely prioritize my self-care. I get inspiration from other creatives; a lot of my peers are excelling in multiple areas and whenever I want to pick their brains or I want to run my ideas by them, they are more than willing. I want the world to know For Brown Girls supports a demographic that has been mistreated, forgotten and placed last for centuries, despite being one of the significant parts of creation, invention and innovation in the world. Black and Brown women are not celebrated enough and I wanted to curate a space just for them. My story is the story of so many young Brown girls and we are important; we deserve to put ourselves first.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
You came to the right person because everybody comes to me for recommendations! I know all of the good spots. My favorite spots in the city are more low key than anything. Keeping social distance in mind, I would take my friend to Discovery Green and we could do some site-seeing in the area. We would then go to the museum district, go check out a few museums and go to Lucille’s for lunch. Then hit the Drive-in theatre that evening. There are some farmer’s markets we can go to and there are a few cute bars on Washington Ave. – we can stop for drinks and go shopping/thrifting afterward. Another nice evening spot is Axelrad- they have a huge. kid-friendly space where you can play games, drink beer and wine and sometimes they have live bands and performers. I may take said friend to a sports bar if they are into that, or Barnes and Nobles in the Memorial area. There are some really good Ramen places over there and sushi. In midtown, we can stop by Soma Sushi as well! Eateries we could patronize: Grace’s, That’s my Dog, Burn’s BBQ, Exquisite Taste and some Black owned vegan spots like Soul Food vegan.. We could definitely go listen to some live music downtown, but I won’t say where- I can’t give away all my spots! Before my friend leaves, I would make sure we go by my family’s house. I am biased, but we have some amazing cooks in my family.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate my shout out to my friends and family. They are my backbone. There is something to be said about people who do not judge you, even when you are not at your best and support you through your growth.

My momma – she’s so good at listening to me and considering mental health related things with me; she walks this journey with me hand-in-hand.

My daddy- supports me no matter what. He makes me believe I can absolutely do anything.

My partner, Deionne- has been there every step of the way! Support like no other.

I could name multiple friends, but I do not want to miss anyone. You know who you are: you have been so instrumental in this endeavor. Thank you.

Website: www.forbrowngirlss.com

Instagram: @Forbrowngirlss

Twitter: @Forbrowngirlss

Image Credits
Shermaine Liggions; Latasha Woodson, Sharea Quarles, Aqeelah Bey

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.