Comedian, entrepreneur drops jewels for Valdosta

May 19—VALDOSTA — Tangela Shelby moved to Valdosta to fulfill her mother's wishes and become an entrepreneur — then the world went into lockdown two weeks later.

Shelby is a Fort Pierce, Fla., native and lived in Hinesville for the last 20 years, where she was a daycare owner.

"My mom passed away in 2019. She said she visited Valdosta when she was a little girl and she was begging all of us to move her and dad there. She said, 'I just want to go back there. Let me spend my last days there.' But she was so sick. So when she passed away in April 2019, I had a daycare in Hyattsville, and the Lord told me to move, and that's the reason I'm here; because of my mom."

Shelby had planned on picking up where she left off in the small business space, coming to town in February 2020 and eyeing space in Downtown Valdosta to open Irene's Elegant Accessories, named after her late mother. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown changed the direction of her entire business plan.

"I moved here on Feb. 20. I had only been here for two weeks and they shut everything down. It was the perfect storm. I sat alone (thinking) about what am I going to do? It was so tough for me. Because I wanted a retail space for my business and we couldn't even go to the grocery store half the time," she said.

After weathering the initial shock, Shelby said she leaned on her familial support system and switched her attention to e-commerce and social media around May 2020.

Quarantine not only enabled her to launch her business online but also pursue other part-time endeavors, such as comedy and motivational speaking, birthing a new stage name: JazzyTeez2.

"I opened up a shop and I decided to use social media to promote it and just connect with people since we couldn't even go outside. I used to be a DJ as well ... and my DJ name was DJ Teez, and I told my daughter, I said, 'I want to keep the Teez,' then she said 'You know what, mom, we're gonna call you jazzy, because you're jazzy and quick at the mouth.' I initially went on TikTok for my grandkids, just talking about life, making people laugh, dropping knowledge and it grew from there."

Overtime, Shelby's online presence amassed to more than 100,000 followers on both her TikTok as well as her initial Facebook page, causing support for her online business to skyrocket. This enabled her to start a side venture called Jazzy Teez Signature Items.

Thanks to the success of both lines, she said she runs shop for Irene's jewelry line twice a week on Facebook and has kept her signature items as the main online storefront.

Despite lockdown restrictions being lifted, Shelby said the online space has served her well and is no longer looking into a brick and mortar store at the moment.

She said her target audience is an older demographic with a more relaxed style as well as fans of her comedic work as many of her merchandise items contain her signature lines such as "Shh ...You Talk Too Much."

"I feel like I officially made it. In addition to my jewelry, I now have merch thanks to how it all blew up. Unfortunately, my first Facebook page got deleted but I'm building it back up. I'm really just working two days a week when I'm running sales for Irene's, and it doesn't feel like work. I love making people laugh, I love helping people and I love having my own business that lets me do all this," she said.

For more information on jewelry sales days as well as signature merchandise, visit https://jazzyteez1.creator-spring.com/.