IWD: 'We are powerful': Nova Scotia entrepreneur helping pave the path to success for other Black women


Tia Upshaw is an early riser.

Every day, the African Nova Scotian entrepreneur and mother of three wakes up around 4:30 a.m. and runs through a daily checklist.

Unread work emails — replied to. Staff at her company Top Notch Cleaners — checked in on. Orders through her online plus-sized retail store Coco+ and online vegan cosmetics store Lips and Lashes — fulfilled. Potential bookings at her Airbnb properties — confirmed.

After working through her early-morning to-dos, Upshaw takes her youngest daughter to school at 8 a.m. Then it’s back to work once she’s home again.

She proceeds to check her emails and schedules meetings and coaching calls with Black women who are participating in her 16-week professional development workshops under the umbrella of her non-profit organization, Blk Women in Excellence.

By 3 p.m., she’s ready to pick up her daughter and then is on her way to check on her cleaners again. After that, she’ll hop onto some meetings or calls.

It’s not until 10 or 11 p.m. that Upshaw said she gets to “unwind and hit the sack.”

“Some days are really stressful, but when I do lay down at night, I know I’m doing this for a good reason. I enjoy my businesses, I enjoy the financial stability and I enjoy being self-sufficient, so that gives me a little bit more peace, to know this isn’t going to waste.”

Upshaw’s success in the business world didn’t come overnight.