Close Up: Teresa Beaudoin
Teresa Beaudoin Credits Success To Family, Faith And The Importance Of Mentoring
After earning an engineering degree, Teresa Beaudoin spent several years as an engineer and a consultant. But her creative side won out and she became an actress in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, her mother began suffering from the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s back home in Shreveport, Louisiana, and Beaudoin decided she needed to be closer to her.
“I gave up everything and moved to Dallas, which I chose because it was a bigger city than Shreveport with better medical facilities—plus I was still single and I figured it would be an easier place to meet someone,” she says. Her mother moved in with her and for 18 months, Beaudoin took care of her, with breaks provided by her father and sister.
Meanwhile, through a friend, Teresa met her future husband, Reginald, and he quickly proposed. The couple and Teresa’s siblings were able to hire a full-time caregiver so her mother could move back home to Shreveport.
When she joined Reginald’s new promotional products distributorship, Already Gear (UPIC: Alrea724), in 2006, Beaudoin was totally unfamiliar with the promotional products industry. But she rapidly caught on. Today, she is the COO while her husband is the CEO; and their skills complement each other. “My engineering background allowed me to bring technical advances to our software and practices, and understand and master technical things that have equipped us to do business more efficiently,” she says. Plus, being married to her business partner makes communication easier. “We often talk shop at home,” she says.
Besides her role at Already Gear, Beaudoin still acts occasionally and spends a lot of time mentoring young girls. “My parents and sister have always been awesome mentors and they definitely helped me succeed,” she says. But she knows that not everyone is as lucky as she was, which is why serving as a mentor is so important to Beaudoin.
“I mentor a 9th grader now. I’m almost like another mother. I pick her up and take her places she hasn’t been; I show up to all her events; I give her advice; I encourage scholastically; I enroll her in extracurricular activities; I buy her and her sister school clothes. I also sponsor a group called Journey of a Young Lady, Inc. and provide encouragement in business entrepreneurship,” she says. She recently accepted an award for her efforts on behalf of the organization at a black-tie event. Her twin four-year-old grand-nieces are also a big part of her life and she spends a lot of time helping to raise them.
Besides mentoring, what do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I am a foodie, so I like to try exciting foods as well as cook them. I use an app called Foodspotting where I take pictures of the dishes I eat and review them. I also love to upcycle, which comes from my love of thrift shopping and my aversion to wasting misprinted t-shirts. I take old, used and outdated clothing or scrap materials and make new things. For example, I gave everyone pajama pants and shorts one Christmas that I made from overrun t-shirts at our business. I have also made zippered cosmetic bags from fused-together grocery store plastic bags.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy giving my customers unique and head-turning items with their logo on it. I like giving them something free they didn’t expect as well.
What was your first job, and what lessons did you learn?
My first job was an internship while I was in college studying electrical engineering. I worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, one summer. I learned that excellence is always rewarded.
What motivates you in business and in life?
My faith in God and belief that He has purposed me to be great in everything I do motivates me. Leaving a legacy for the young people I mentor is also a motivation for me in business and in life.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
When I started, I prayed and asked God for favor as I dove into an arena where I had no experience. I was able to win a multi-year contract which then led to more contracts. That was the start of exponential growth. I am most proud that when I joined Already Gear in 2006 the gross sales were less than $70,000. I helped to grow the company exponentially to over $1 million by 2011.
What advice would you give to an industry newcomer?
Learn this industry and the products we sell. Be familiar with trends, and by all means understand artwork. With those skills honed, you can build an awesome business. Be nice and fair to people. Don’t try to make all the money. The money will come when you do great business. And have fun! Make your business fun!
As an actress using her maiden name (T.V. Blake), Teresa was in several movies, including Jackie’s Back! (1999), Matchups (2003) and Chosen Life? (2004).