Milford business helps keep financial dream alive for Black business owners

MILFORD — Tia Woods dreams of helping bring exposure to Black brands and helping those in her community build and keep wealth.

With her business, ITS The Room, Woods, an author, small business owner and elected official in her hometown of East Hartford, now shows off the latest Black brands in a new space inside the Connecticut Post Mall. 

“ITS The Room was started with a common goal — to help other creative professionals begin and establish their own successful ventures,” said Woods, who started the business in 2019 with her daughter, Tiana Allman. 

ITS The Room is a retail business focused on expanding and exposing Black brands, while also giving designers an opportunity for legacy and wealth building, Woods said.

“We give people a chance to build wealth and leave a legacy,” she said. “The goal is to attract people to come in and buy and help keep money in our community. I want to help people in our community build wealth.” 

ITS The Room offers black business owners of all kinds — from clothing brands and beauty products to artwork — an opportunity to sell their products year-round in the storefront and online. The store features a large selection of ever-changing local, small, or independently designed products showcasing the best of Connecticut and beyond, she said. 

Her hope is to support other small businesses by “encouraging and assisting designers to increase sales — not only with a physical location to showcase their products, but a flourishing online presence providing business owners with essential tools and skills to gain a larger audience and stronger brand recognition," she said.

What started small has expanded to feature some 27 vendors, with products from pocketbooks, knit hats, shoes, clothing and oils. There is even a small library offering books from Black authors, from children's books to self-help options. 

“I am happy to give space for people to put their items on store shelves,” Woods said. 

To help generate foot traffic at her mall location, Woods has hosted poetry readings and book signings, but she has gone big for her latest effort – a runway show at 4 p.m. on Jan. 21 at the mall's central court.

The free show will feature about 10 designers who will be taking the stage for ITS the Room to showcase their designs. There also will be a VIP after-show event at the store. For information about the show or after show visit itstheroomct.com or email info@itstheroomct.com.

Woods said the show is dedicated to bringing together different designers of all skill levels. These designers will display their work across five categories — urban wear, high fashion, evening elegant, urban active and night life casual.

The event will also feature two award-winning poets, T'challa Williams and her daughter, Tiana, plus comedian Micha Jean. 

"I found my purpose. My heart is with my community, and I want to see all of us flourish,” she said. “It is scary, it is. But if dreams don’t scare you, you’re not dreaming big enough.” 

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com