Natasha Erwin

Safiya Nelson | July 14th, 2017
Natasha Erwin (Photos by Todd Youngblood)

Natasha Erwin (Photos by Todd Youngblood)

I’ve often wished others could walk a day in my shoes, one day I thought, “many are walking in shoes that are very similar, how can I encourage them?” January of 2016 I conceived Fitted Hatline, LLC, a company that was established as a result of an idea I had to design hats. I soon found that hats, however, was only the push I needed to get to the ultimate plan. In effort to build revenue to begin my journey, I designed a t-shirt with four very powerful words on the front, “I Set the Standards”.

As my T-shirt sales grew, so did my purpose. Like many, I have a story. I have always believed my story could inspire and encourage others, I had no idea that just may be the mission God has for me. I Set the Standards became a movement. People everywhere were reaching out to me, buying tees and sharing their testimonies about how they set the standards. This blessed me! The true meaning of “I Set the Standards” is knowing you are the compass of your fate, reaching your own level of greatness and not what others expect or desire of you. I spent most of my life trying to be accepted, to fit in and belong. I was never happy “trying”.

At some point I had to decide to be happy with myself, therefore knowing I did not need the approval of others, hence “I Set the Standards”. My ultimate goal is to see people everywhere setting the standards and wearing it on their shirts. I Set the Standards is not just a brand, it’s a way of life. When you visit I Set The Standards web page and see CEO/Lady Boss, Natasha Erwin’s smile radiating from the inside out, it is difficult to comprehend the odds she has beaten, the challenges she has overcome, and the darkness she has navigated to discover her own sunshine. Born to drug addicted parents, and later adopted by Christian family members in Charlotte, this Harlem Girl at heart has become the personification of inner glow. Now she helps to lead others on that journey of self-discovery, self-acceptance, and value realization. She indeed has triumphed over many tragedies and now serves as a source of inspiration to others who once sought approval and external acceptance because they never felt like they belonged.

What does “I Set The Standards” mean?
I Set The Standards came to me because I spent a lot of time appeasing other people, and as a result -it made me unhappy. Then I finally came to a point in my life where I reached my own level of greatness and that greatness became what makes me happy. It was birthed out of hearing “I would be like my mother, that I wouldn’t be much or do much ” and one day it dropped in my spirit “I Set The Standards.” As I thought about what these words meant, it was the voice that conquered every negative word that was ever spoken over my life. Those words literally changed my life. Understanding Natasha, I Set The Standards is for every person that was ever told they wouldn’t amount to anything and/or for every person wanting to take a stand in their lives against imposed mindsets that become belief systems that trap us.

Natasha shared how I Set The Standards began; however, it quickly evolved she went on to explain, and became different things for many people. People began to own it as theirs. They began sharing their testimonies about how they set the standard at school, they set the standard at work, and they set the standard in pretty much whichever arena they found themselves. Doors opened for speaking engagements for Erwin. I began publicly speaking to people about self-esteem and self-acceptance and encouraging them to set their own standard. When I shared what it meant, people got it. I wanted to encourage people and empress upon others that they too can set their own standard.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
I live with Bail’s Palsy, which has paralyzed one side of my face, this also contributed to feelings of not being enough and not measuring up to society’s standard of being beautiful.

Although Erwin shared her confrontation with this stifling dis-ease, her inner beauty still outshines its darkness. I viewed pictures of Natasha and had no idea. This made me think symbolically of how the things scarring us and causing shame, are often undetected by others. You may not have a debilitating dis ease, but what other things has life presented you with that may have left you feeling paralyzed and no one else knows.

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