Tanya Perry grew up on the south side of Chicago, her neighborhood was called West Pullman, her family moved there when she was in 4th grade. She would walk to West Pullman Elementary School everyday and the bullies would chase her home! After graduating from West Pullman is attended Percy L. Julian High School (go Jaguars!!) she loved her school and would say all the teachers (especially the black ones) were mentors because she could see what she could achieve if she worked hard.

We interviewed Tanya for this edition of women entrepreneurs on www.shalenadiva.com and here are her responses on life and her busienss, Keeping It Real Greeting Cards.

Please list a quote or motto you live by and state why.

My favorite quote is a scripture: In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path. We have never been this way before but Jesus has, so I am aware of my dependence of Him leading me. I don’t trust myself!!! I might go the wrong way!

Describe your business. List location, phone number, website. Are you or your business on Facebook? Twitter? Linked In? Please list.

My business is home-based and our website is: www.keepingitrealgreetingcards.com. It is a greeting card company that was God inspired. Growing up as a young girl it was hard to find a card for my step-dad, don’t get me wrong, I loved him dearly but he was on drugs and alcohol and was at times very abusive, I would go to the store to find the perfect card and needless to say it was a challenge. I then realized I was not the only one, everybody has some kind of dysfunction in their family whether we want to admit it or not.  Out of hurt, keeping It Real Greeting Cards was birthed. We are on Facebook: keeping it real greeting cards, as well as Twitter under: No More Mask, you can also follow us on Youtube, our channel is: We Keep It Real TV


What motivated you to open your own business?

Not only is Keeping It Real Greeting Cards a business but it is also a ministry of reconciliation, as a licensed ordained Minister I see people hurting all the time, single mothers trying to get child support, fathers trying to see there children, mothers who did not protect their children, deadbeat dads, men on down low, you name it . People are wearing masks and we cannot be totally free until we let it go. So our Motto is: Healing Hearts One Card At A Time. If you and your sister haven’t spoken in years give her a Keeping It Real Card and let the healing begin, perhaps your dad was not a part of your life and now you are grown and you want to tell him how his absence affected you, then we have a card for that as well. We can even customize your card to fit your situation.


Did you have any initial fears or concerns that you had to overcome when opening your business?

This business has been in the making for almost 10 years! And of course my fear has always been how are people going to receive my cards, are they too direct, are people in denial, is it going to be targeted to the black community only, but with all the unanswered questions, I must still  move on.


How did you develop your concept?

I met a lady who was looking for the perfect card for her cheating spouse of 20 years and after looking for almost an hour, she finally gave him a blank card and wrote in it: Happy Birthday, and I thought, man that is the problem! The traditional cards are good but they don’t address real life situations, let’s face it everybody’s dad didn’t teach them how to ride there first bike.


How much capital did you need to get started? Did you use any creative funding sources?

With Greeting Cards, there is very little capital. Right now I am looking for Angel Investors!


How do you market your business? Do you use any creative marketing strategies?

The company right now is in its infancy so we are using tools like Social Media and attending Networking Events.

How do you manage employees if any?

Right now it is just me and my husband, until we get the increase.


What are some of your day to day struggles as a business owner?

Some of my personal struggles are to not get discouraged!! Dr. Seus said it best: Yard by Yard, life is hard, but Inch by Inch life’s a cinch. Just keep chipping away, one day it will break!


What brings you the most joy from your work?

When people who purchase my cards come back and tell me how there broken relationship was mended because they gave someone a card. One lady was a rape victim as a little girl and she had never talked to her mom about it but her mom knew because it was the mom’s boyfriend, so I put together a card and she stood there crying, she said this is exactly what I wanted to say to my mom but couldn’t, anyway she gave the card to her mom and her mom also began to cry because she was also afraid to talk to her daughter. That was the greatest reward!


How do you balance work life and family? Do your work demands affect your relationships?

When you know this is something you have to do, then you find ways to balance both.

Any advice you’d like to offer to anyone interested in your line of work?

Find your niche, even with internet, paper greeting cards are still a multimillion dollar industry because what comes from the heart reaches the heart.


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© 2015, Shalena D.I.V.A. – Personal Branding| Content Marketing| Product Creation. All rights reserved.


  1. ShalenaD.I.V.A on February 15, 2011 at 10:45 am


  2. Double Saving Divas on February 15, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    We love your ministry of healing through greeting cards! Keep up the great work and we pray God’s blessings on your business.

  3. www.shalenadiva.com via Facebook on May 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    ahem… “Clearly you need to realize that I am not the only one with issues. You need to look at the man in the mirror. Please tell your little girlfriend that I thank her immensely for taking you off my hands. I hope she remembers to give you your meds.” I probably would’ve sent that–not really–but at least felt that way a few years ago, but now i wouldn’t bother. But I love these “ghetto” greeting cards that keep it real. LOL!

  4. Robin Goings via Facebook on May 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Give me a minute I’m going to get mine together! Matter of fact, we should start our own line of cards…This could be good!

  5. Willie Ross via Facebook on May 11, 2011 at 5:08 pm


  6. Janice Brown via Facebook on May 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Love it..

  7. April Isaac via Facebook on May 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    It would be as blank as his love for me and his kids.

  8. April Isaac via Facebook on May 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    When he looks for the words imma say its that empty space between your ears find the echo and let me know if it hit you yet. #spacecadet.

  9. Roger Duncan via Facebook on May 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Great concept. I just posted the link on my page. Doing my little part to help the sistah out. My greeting card couldn’t be printed, the words I would spew would burn the paper.

  10. www.shalenadiva.com via Facebook on May 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Yall are worse than me. Her greeting cards are so real.I LOVE THEM.

  11. Gene Steele via Facebook on May 11, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    I’m sending one to Shalena!!!! LOL!!!!

    Seriously they should have one that reads “You were so aggravating it made leaving you easy”. That would fit great!!!

  12. Robin Goings via Facebook on May 12, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Graduation Card For The Absent Parent…Where where you? Our daughter just graduated from high school with honors. You were there the night I conceived her but absent all 18 years. You call every blue moon and wonder why she doesn’t want to be bothered. I did a good job raising her. She’s a smart, beautiful young lady with a very promising future. She’ll be attending college in the fall. Thanks for all of the false promises over the years…

  13. www.shalenadiva.com via Facebook on May 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

    @Robin, I think this was therapeutic for you. You should really check out Tanya’s cards because they are heartfelt and on point. But I like what you said. Have you ever considered writing those things in a letter and sending it to him? I comend you for holding it down for your children and nurturing them. That is most important! Kudos to YOU!

  14. Roger Duncan via Facebook on May 12, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Shalena and all here devoted followers. Lol..check out khan academy page..anyone that has kids in high shool or college can benefit well from this page, its amazing..please let me know what you think.

  15. www.shalenadiva.com via Facebook on May 12, 2011 at 10:24 am

    @Gene, I have one for you:
    “Unlike most creepy crawly things that I squash underfeet,
    I’ll let you live another day in agonizing defeat.
    It must be cold knowing that you’ll never be
    Man enough for any woman, let alone me.
    So sit and wonder what could have been
    The love reserved JUST FOR REAL MEN.”
    Disclaimer: Gene and I are only kidding. We are just friends who enjoy picking with each other. SERIOUSLY!
    What yo got Mean Gene?????

  16. Robin Goings via Facebook on May 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    http://www.shalenadiva.com- Yes, writing my card was most definitely therapeutic. I did check out Tanya’s card. I love them! I was just writing what my card would say. Both of my childrens fathers know how I feel and where we stand. I’m NOT one to bite my tongue. I’m over them both lol

  17. www.shalenadiva.com via Facebook on May 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    @Robin–Cool! Just let me know! I’m glad you’re over them, too! Good for you!

  18. www.shalenadiva.com via Facebook on May 12, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    @Roger–I joined the Khan academy page. What does it provide? Thanks for the heads up!

  19. Roger Duncan via Facebook on May 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Based on what I have been able to see, it provides tutorials on almost any subject that you can take in school. I’ve only viewed it from my phone so far , but based on the reviews I’ve read, people that were failing classes like math or whatever else benefited mightily from it. Over 2100 video tutorials available, all for free.

  20. www.shalenadiva.com via Facebook on May 12, 2011 at 9:15 pm


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