Monday, May 21, 2012

In the Tee-iabo Designs came to bee!

PictureTeaching autistic and down-syndrome children was the profession I ventured into after graduating from college.  Unfortunately, my husband's line of work made it difficult for me to pursue this field.  Relocating quite often to support his advancing career meant for me, finding a new job each time we moved.  My hubster is the primary bread winner in our family, so we pretty much went where his job took us.  I've always been supportive of his career, and have tried my best not to complain no matter how frustrating it was to start over again.   

I needed to find a job that I could put in my back pocket, and take with me so to speak.  Then suddenly I had an "Aha moment!  Why not start my own business?  One problem though...doing what? 

It was during the Spring of 2008 when my "Aha moment" would come to bee (pun intended.)  My son was playing basketball for the YMCA & I decided it would be fun to make him a basketball t-shirt.  Ha-ha...well the t-shirt did start out with a pic of a basketball.  Several mistakes and trying to cover them up led to this outcome: 

Totally not what I had in mind!
***My very 1st "Bee" t-shirt design was for the "Arc of Chester County" field day.  It was artistically on the same level.  lol***

Needless, to say my son never wore this t-shirt!  I was getting ready to throw the shirt away when an idea came to me..."bee" t-shirts!  My artwork needed some intense help to say the least.  So, I began spending my extra time surfing the web looking at pictures and gathering information about "Bees".  One day I came across a picture of a "Bald-faced Hornet."

Baldfaced hornets may be best described as large, black and white, heavy-bodied wasps about ¾" long.

I liked the way he looked so I sketched it, added some animation and thus, my designer bee was born.  In March 2009 I trademarked my "Bee" and "Tee-iabo Designs", became a reality.

Meet  "TB" ~ short for Tee-iabo Bee.

Tee-iabo Designs (Tee-ah-bow) is dedicated to the memory of my late mother Bobbie Davis-Tiabo.  The concept was to create interesting/humorous designs that have never been thought of before using the "bee" as my theme.  Most people are deathly afraid of bees thus, making them an unpopular subject.  I figured by adding an artistic twist & sharing their history it might enlighten some people's perception about this fascinating insect. 

Without a mentor or anyone to show me how to make tee-shirts my earlier designs looked like this:

I had to figure it all out on my own through trial and error.  Persistent in my task to learn, six months later I was painting like this:

A year later both my drawing & painting skills went from "WTH" (what the hell) to "WOW!" 

In the beginning of my adulthood I never dreamed of becoming a clothing artist.  Human resources director, social worker, teacher were the positions I saw myself in.  These were my dreams.  However, before I knew it a husband, and two kids later often found me wondering "what happened to my dreams?"  Don't get me wrong, I love my husband & my children dearly.  Wouldn't trade them in for anything in the world. I just wanted to be defined as something other than an ordinary mother and housewife.  I wanted to follow my heart’s calling but, it didn’t come with directions.  No, GPS to guide me.  Now, today I'm redefining myself, discovering new dreams, and guess what?  Life is good and I love it. 

I CHOOSE... to take ownership of my actions & to accept culpability for their consequences.  If yesterday, I did it wrong, today I have a chance to do it right.  Past failures do not define me, but I will allow the lessons gleaned from them to refine me. This is not a random affirmation; it is my reality. 


  1. I remember when we all came to your house and you were harboring Bees on tha back patio remember?? somebody got stung..and they used the "tobacca from a cigerette"lol...I had no ideal..they were your
    Proud of you cuzzo!

  2. I think that t-shirt is the bee's knees!

  3. @Bronxstar LOL! Yes, I do remember that! However, back then I had no idea that the bee would become my friend as well as my livelihood. Who knew?...

  4. You think so...LOL! My son would not be caught dead wearing it. I keep it to remind me how far I've come as an artist.

  5. I couldn't BEE more tickled that you answered a question that has been floating around in my head recently: What was the inspiration for the name of your business. I love how serendipitous (wink) this story is, Sonya. And I'm also glad that God has allowed our paths to cross. You, your designs & your spirit are truly a blessing. I wish you nothing less than the ultimate success.

  6. LOL! Aww...thank you! However, I can't take all of the credit for this post. Mama Bear aka Kenya prompted me a while ago to do so. Thank you MB. I'm glad our paths have crossed as well.

  7. Lots of improvement in your designs.. I can't stop looking at the first design you made... Sonya your creativity is really wonderful.. I fell in love with the " 2 cute 2 trouble designs" Try and see if you can start selling all this in big shops around you.. Yes you can girl:-))

  8. I love this post and its a nice revisit of Tee-iabo came to Bee. I love those basketball shirts. You have come a long way since the first shirt but I loved those too. I'm proud of you girl and I love Antoinette's quote.

  9. Thanks May! I'm working on trying to few items into some shops. We'll see what happens.

  10. Thank you Kenya! The bee-ball shirts are actually coming back,but as a redesign. A few changes need to be made. Thanks again for the idea.

  11. Isn't it funny how our greatest plans for our life go out the window when children come along ! lol My studies did exactly the same thing. Somehow though there seems to be a higher plan for all of us and we are given what we need instead of what we want. Your true calling was realised with one tiny little bee x

  12. Great inspirational story! Who knew. It's always great when a challenged can be turned into something positive


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