INDIANAPOLIS — A self-made business owner in Indianapolis is making girls and women feel special with custom-created tutus for special occasions.
But Tanesha Triplett's business business is more than that.
The tutus led to a mentoring program and a new project to give girls confidence and self-love.
"This is my full-time job now," Triplett said. "I do tutus for all ages, all sizes, so they're for birthday parties, gatherings, pictures, maternity shoots, things like that."
Tutus by TT offers custom-crafted items in an online store. Triplett has sold hundreds since 2016.
But they are more than just fashion accessories. Tutus, Triplett said, transform - boosting self-esteem and confidence for girls and women who wear them.
"Once you put on a tutu, I feel like it just automatically puts a smile on your face. It just makes you feel like a princess," Triplett said.
To carry that joy even further, Triplett started a mentoring program last fall. "Tutus with a Purpose" meets twice a month to help girls ages 7 to 13 grow in self-worth.
"Confidence building, teaching leadership, we do a lot of activities, too, team building activities," she said. "So it's more than just the looks. You have to have a purpose."
And it's working.
"I've seen a huge difference. We've had girls when they entered the program, they would not speak to anyone. They were so shy. And now, they're probably one of the loudest girls," Triplett said.
Her latest project puts pen to paper with positive affirmations.
"I feel like I am smart is the most important one. Brains before beauty," Triplett said.
A coloring book called "My Thoughts Matter" features characters in tutus, based on Triplett's nieces, along with words to inspire.
"Each page has a different positive affirmation. It reminds the girls that, 'I'm smart, I'm beautiful, I'm kind," Triplett said. "I don't feel that it's something we're taught, so I feel like to have that confidence and not be singled out and know that you are one of a kind, you're unique, I feel like that's just something that we need and I feel like that's something that gives you joy and confidence."
Triplett has sold 100 copies of the coloring book so far, with more on back order. It's all part of a growing mission to encourage young women to be their best - that started with a single stitch.
"I hope they learn to love themselves as they are. That's my end goal," Triplett said. "If I can make a difference in one girl, I feel like my job is done."