Following close to her parents’ footsteps, Tonda Peterson-Bryant taught Special Education for eight years before bravely changing direction, deciding to be an entrepreneur, and starting her own concierge service.
“I miss my students,” Peterson-Bryant told me in CC’s on Magazine where we met over oatmeal cookies and coffee. “I really do. But I do not miss the day-to-day schedule.” Peterson-Bryant ended up leaving education as a favor to her brother Morris, an NBA player who, at the time, played for the Toronto Raptors. He later was drafted to the Hornets, which is how Peterson-Bryant ended up in the Big Easy. As an athlete, traveling frequently and with such a packed schedule, Morris needed help with everyday tasks, so he offered his sister a full-time job taking care of his home and running errands.
“People like my brother can’t trust other people,” Peterson-Bryant noted in our interview. As a single celebrity, it was difficult for her brother to find a woman who wasn’t just interested in his fame. It was also difficult for him to find professional help.
“I realized that so many of my brother's friends (other basketball players, for instance) didn’t have someone like me to help them. But they needed it. That’s how I got started.”
By the time her brother neared the end of his 11-year NBA career, Peterson-Bryant had made enough contacts that were in need of her services to start out on an entrepreneurial venture. A woman with high expectations for herself, Peterson-Bryant plans on expanding her business to the national level.
“I’ve always loved helping people,” she told me. “Knowing that I’m making somebody else’s life easier in some way is so rewarding.”
Airport shuttle, grocery shopping, cleaning services, collecting dry cleaning, event planning, banking, pet care, and away-from-home care are all duties that Special T. Concierge is equipped to handle. “Basically, anything someone needs, Special T. Concierge can take care of it,” Peterson-Bryant said. There are no physical limits to the company's span (they'll fly to a different city if they have to) and, if a client has a new request that the company has never encountered before, Peterson-Bryant is confident she can accommodate.
Although Peterson-Bryant started her business with a tendency towards working for clients with some sort of celebrity status, such as Chris Paul and Robert Smith, she is now ready to expand. Currently, Special T. Concierge is building both its clientele base and its staff in order to accommodate new clients.
As a female entrepreneur in New Orleans, it’s no surprise that Peterson-Bryant has had her fair share of bumps in the road. Learning how to file the correct paperwork to make her company an LLC, making the logo, and creating the website have all been challenges for Peterson-Bryant; however, when I asked her what advice she has for other young female entrepreneurs in the city, she replied quite positively: “Keep the faith. If you know this is something you want to do, you keep to it, and you make it happen.”
For more on Tonda Peterson-Bryant and Special T. Concierge services, please visit her website.