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Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Ask Me Tees

It’s another glorious Friday! And it’s time for us to highlight more amazing black entrepreneurs! In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that we can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful dollar amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind.  Today we feature, Ask Me Tees.

IHTG:  Tell us a little about yourself (hometown, family life, etc.).

Ask Me Tees
Ayanna Smith

I am a Philadelphia native. However, I’ve been residing in Washington, DC for more than 20 years, where I now own an Escape Room Business (The Escape Lounge –, which is currently launching a web-based app called Ridlz ( I am 45 years old, married with two children, ages 3 and 8. All of this makes me very tired 😊.

IHTG:  What motivated you to start this business?

The idea for #AskMe Tees came about from a few interests, including my community advocacy efforts, my love for clever t-shirts and my ongoing desire to bring people together.

IHTG:  Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.).

Simple designs yet powerful conversation starters. #AskMe Tees™ are not just casual wear, they are part of the movement to help us get past our differences.

#AskMe Tees™ were born out of a need to address the dying art of civil discourse.

Many people make assumptions about others based on what they see, without even knowing the other person. Race, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, etc., are just a few of the things that divide us. However, the reality is we are more alike than different but we will never know if we do not talk.  No one is engaging anymore. When we look around everyone has their faces buried in a cell phone or electronic device. Looking people in the eyes when you speak is a thing of the past. It is getting to the point where engaging with others is becoming socially unacceptable. Some are even offended when you call them about something they feel was “textable.” That is a problem.

There’s a lot of e-fighting on social media about just about everything, and these battles have not gotten us any closer to understanding and unity. The art of civil discourse has been fully lost.  #AskMe Tees™ is designed to help tackle those issues in a light-hearted and fun way. Each t-shirt topic is meant to be a conversation starter. You pick topics of interest, understanding that your t-shirt is an open invitation to talk…to anyone who asks.

Our goal is for you to engage in meaningful conversations. Now, go out and be great!

IHTG:  How does your business give back to the community?

#AskMe Tees just recently launched but I’m certain I will find ways to support the many communities I belong to. That is my life’s work.

IHTG:  What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business?

Starting a business takes drive, ambition, perseverance, and logic. Book smarts are nice but not needed to succeed.

IHTG:  What is the best advice you’ve received since starting your business?

The best advice I’ve received is to be “present” in my business. When owners allow others to manage their business the quality often changes.

You can learn more about Ayanna and Ask Me Tees by visiting her website: