This HBCU Belle and Beau’s love led to building a family based on southern values. With their adorable son, they styled a shoot with mixed prints, effortless preppiness,and hues of green and blue. This fabulous family is not only stunning but business-savvy. Read below how this North Carolina doll takes care of her two gentlemen while balancing entrepreneurship in the South!
All Images by Ariel Perry Photography
Names of Family Members
Jacquelyn , Shaun (husband), Elijah (two-year-old son)
Where’s the mom from?
Hillsborough, North Carolina
Where is your current location?
Cary, North Carolina
What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
My favorite part about being a mom is seeing the excitement in our son’s eyes when he learns new things.
What do you love about raising your children in the South?
We moved back to North Carolina once we were ready to start a family. Having both our parents local and active in our son’s life is such a blessing.
What are some of their favorite southern dishes to eat?
My husband loves blackened catfish and candied yams. Eli will eat just about anything. His favorite southern dishes are fried okra and his Granny’s collard greens.
What dish do they only eat if you make?
My family loves my fried chicken and waffles. Eli loves my homemade sweet carrots.
Why did you choose this location to do the family photo shoot?
The light! I’m all about the golden light for family photo sessions. Even if it meant waking up at 6am on a Saturday.
What are your favorite lessons to teach your child?
Sharing – he is two and wants to play with all the toys.
What is your favorite southern activity to do with them?
Our son loves to explore outside. I’m not an outdoors kind of mom but he has turned me into one. Lots of nature walks and trails with this little guy.
Do you have any favorite restaurants you like to take them?
It’s not very southern but our two-year-old loves Asian food! Any place with fried rice, shrimp with grilled onions and peppers and he is happy.
What are some of your favorite books you read to him?
John Henry by Ezra Jack Keats
Every Little Thing: Based on the song ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley
Cut Day by Christin Armstrong
Who styled your child this shoot?
We styled him for the shoot.
What southern values do you hope he inherits as they grow up?
Good Southern Manners- Ma’ma, Sir, Please, Thank You and Excuse Me.
What advice did you get from your mother on parenting?
“Children need schedules.” We worked really hard to get him on a good schedule and now he is a little machine. He wakes up and goes to sleep like clockwork.
Where did you get some of the clothing items?
Quilted Vest – J.Crew
Shirt – J.Crew
Jeans – J.Crew
Shirt – J.Crew
Jeans – J.Crew Factory Store
Vest – Gap
Shoes – Salvatore Ferragamo
Hat – Old Navy
Shirt – H&M
Pants – Janie & Jack
Shoes – Old Navy
5 Things I love about Running a Business in the South.
1. Small Town Support
We named our company after my grandfather’s restaurant Greentop from the 1940’s. It was my family’s first start at entrepreneurship. Greentop was a gathering spot for many. When we launched Greentop Gifts, I enjoyed hearing family friends and locals talk fond memories of Greentop as children. We hope that Greentop Gifts will be people’s source of celebrations when they gather together. (Check it out at www.greentopgifts.com)
2. Shopping Local
We try really hard to support awesome local businesses as often as we can. With the launch of Greentop Gifts, we’ve been lucky to feature and work with some great local businesses.
3. Our HBCU Network
My husband and I are both grads of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. I am a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and my husband is a graduate of Morehouse College. We have been so grateful to our networks for helping us spread the word about Clarence Claus. To help spread the word about Clarence we utilized the HBCU homecoming season for a marketing stunt. We sent brand ambassadors to various historically black college campuses and universities during each school’s homecoming. Each ambassador wore t-shirts with Clarence’s face on them to drive awareness. The t-shirts were such a big hit on campuses that we now offer them along with hoodies on our site.
4. The Art of the Southern Thank You
One of the first things I purchased for our business was stationary. I wanted to be sure we had it on hand to send out thank you cards as needed. A friend from New York once texted me after receiving a thank you card in the mail and said ” So Southern of You!” I replied “Thank You” and laughed. There is nothing like a hand written card!
5. Business Lunches served with Sweet Tea
Raleigh, North Carolina has so many wonderful lunch spots that serve traditional southern food. I’m a Carolina girl who loves a Meat & Three! ( A southern menu staple where you pick 3 sides and one meat).1