Tyrone struggled with finding his purpose in life after growing up as an orphan. He went through 14 arrests on 21 charges between the ages of 18-25 on offenses ranging from possession of marijuana to weapons-related charges. “I’m telling you, every time I went to jail, I was sitting there thinking ‘TJ, what are you doing,'” he said. But the way to get credibility where he was from, and thus to find acceptance among the only family he’d known, was to do time and make it out to tell the story.
All of a sudden I wanted to be that honest man
It was not until he started dating his now-wife Shakana that he wanted to be better so he could provide for her and prove himself worthy of her companionship. “All of a sudden I wanted to be that honest man that wished he had saved his virginity for this woman that wanted to take her and give himself to this woman,” he said. “I decided to prove her right. She said you can be more than what you are right now. I needed to get my life back focused on not trying to destroy my life.”
His new purpose became providing a better life for Shakana.
He began working a straight collar nine-to-five sales job, but he found himself unfulfilled. The true turning point was when Shakana was let go from her job. She had been born with a heart defect that left her vulnerable to airborne illnesses and the time she often took off to address her health issues made her an undesirable candidate for employers. “I knew that I needed to open a business so that my wife would never have to hear again that she was being fired for being sick,” he said.
CBD had just become legal for medical use in Texas, and Tyrone decided to seize the opportunity to start a business in what is projected to be an $80 billion industry by 2030.
“All across the country, Blacks have been historically disenfranchised to this industry, and they limit who has access to it. it’s not the Blacks in Compton who open up dispensaries. It’s the white boys,” he said. Data show that while Blacks are 3.43 times more likely to be arrested on marijuana-related charges than their white counterparts, fewer than 5% of owners in the CBD industry are Black.
In spite of the data, he ventured into the legal side of the business and launched the business online in September 2019. Three months later, the Howards opened a The High Society storefront in Pflugerville. Then COVID-19 tested the strength of their business resolve early on, before they even had an opportunity to celebrate a grand opening.
As they look to celebrate their first anniversary as business owners, High Society Relief is reflecting the resilience of its founders. Tyrone credits his wife with both his personal turnaround and the success of his business, because she motivated him to change and believed in his ability to be more.
He hopes that ten years from now, he can say he is the owner of “several CBD franchises, having a few thousand acres of hemp farms producing quality hemp for the state of Texas, having our distribution company actively sourcing and fulfilling hemp and CBD related orders” and most importantly, he is taking care of his wife and family.
I want to find ways to give back.
“Me and my wife don’t have any children between the two of us, I have a son from a previous relationship. We put off expanding our family until we were sure we could afford the life we wanted for them – so I’d like to have kids and begin to do that,” he said – “after securing the wealth for generations in asset funds I’d like to begin creating generations.”
“I want to find ways to give back. Becoming active in politics, fighting for black education in areas like financial literacy, economics, and capitalism. I want to mentor youth struggling and at-risk to show them your tomorrow doesn’t have to be today. You can go from having nothing to working for it all if you are willing to put that four-letter word in, Work.”
High Society Relief is celebrating its one-year anniversary September 17 with a virtual party streamed live on the company’s Facebook page.