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Second Shift: How a single mom balances two jobs

Sketxhy Chix designer Tonkia Grant talks about her line and how she makes a living in New York City.

Tonika Grant Tonika Grant, here in a shirt from her Sketxhy Chix fashion line. Credit: Provided

Name: Tonika Grant
Age: 33
Home: Brooklyn, New York
Lives with:Her son, 10
Number of jobs: 2

What's your primary job?

I work with HASA (HIV/AIDS Service Administration). We help people with HIV and AIDS find the services they need and help them get on their feet. ... I work Monday through Friday, from 8: 30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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How did you get the job?

I was in my second semester of college when I had my son, and I needed to find a job to support myself. I didn't want to be [dependent on someone]. I was on my way to get food stamps when I saw an ad for the job on a bulletin board, so I applied for it and got the job. Then, I took a class [for my training].

How old is your son now?

He's 10 so he's in school, which is a big help. He goes to an after-school program, which gets out around 4:45 p.m. My little sister also is a huge help. She also helps with my fashion line when I'm at work.

Right, you also have a fashion line with your cousin. Can you talk a little bit about that?

It's called Sketxhy Chix and it's female apparel with attitude. Everything we have is all cotton and great for sensitive skin. My cousin and I started the line a year ago. When we started, we had no idea what to do. We were clueless. Luckily, my brother is a phenomenal artist, so he draws all our designs. But it was a lot of Googling in those early days. People can make purchases online at sketxhychix.com.

Since you work full time, how do you have time to focus on the fashion line?

I work on the line when I get home from work.I am the brains behind the designs and oversee all the production and social media. My cousin does the accounting, numbers and website, and my sister takes orders when they are emailed to us. Being a mom, entrepreneur and a case manager are all full-time jobs, but I love it.

What is the hardest part about being a single mom and working multiple jobs?

The hardest part is finding quality time to spend with my son. By the time I get home from work, we only have about four hours together before he has to go to bed. But he is just so sweet and helps me put all the packages together to mail out. He tells me he wants to start a business of his own someday, but making video games. I like that I can influence him and be a positive role model in his life. You don't have to be a basketball player or a football player to motivate a [young boy]. So that's satisfying for me.

Are you happy with the way your life is as far as your jobs, or are you hoping anything will change?

I'm definitely happy with the way things are, but I would love for my passion to become my paycheck. Right now I'm still conformed to the 9-to-5, and I'm thankful because it's so hard to find a job right now, but hopefully the line will take off. But I really do love my job and the clients I have. Everybody touches you in unique way.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence

 
 
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