Not too long ago Lorene Singleton used to write wish lists on the back of her receipts. At the top of that list was her desire to be home full time with her son, Tyler. At that time Lorene was working long hours as a print ad production manager while Tyrone, her husband, was home with Tyler during the day. With Tyrone working, Lorene was up with Tyler who wasn’t yet sleeping through the night. “It was so hard… the cycle of getting up, going to work, coming home, cooking… no one was getting any rest.” Then one day, a terrible accident coming out of the building where she worked put a halt to her thriving career, yet it put her on a path to her wish becoming a reality. “You put it out there and God hears you… you didn’t say how.” Now not only was she able to home with Tyler, she now had time to grow and develop the business that she and her husband now share, Kedar Productions. “Kedar Productions was in existence before I came along,” says Lorene. However when the two began dating, Tyrone was impressed with Lorene’s technical skills and was blown away by what she could do. “It was a hobby at first until Tyrone said to me, ‘it sounds like you want to grow this into something.’ He had the technical expertise of video and photography. By being in production, I knew about developing promotional materials and getting people to know who you are. He had someone who had the ‘know-how’ to do it. ”
Like many of us, Lorene’s mother had a business before it was “in vogue” so running a business was not foreign to her. Her late mother, affectionately called Miss Josie, was a care-giver to many of the neighborhood children while their parents worked. “I was raised in a house full of kids… I’d come home from school and couldn’t watch tv because there were like three kids watching tv in my room,” Lorene jokingly recalls. So when asked about the biggest obstacle to getting the business started she responded, “People who know you overlook and dismiss you, and they don’t support it. They think it’s some ‘thing’ you’re doing on the side.”
One of Kedar’s biggest breaks came as a result a school trip with Tyler’s day care to the Bronx Zoo. Tyrone filmed and edited the class outing, and Lorene sold the video to the parents of Tyler’s classmates. That one class trip production landed Kedar Productions a huge and elaborate wedding. The owner of the daycare remains one of Kedar’s biggest champions even now that Tyler has gone on to grade school.
Recently Lorene has been able to move in her gifts as a graphic designer and come into her own despite the fact that Kedar Productions originated with her husband. For this she credits her willingness to give unselfishly to her husband’s business, and the support she’s given to other businesses including Empire Auto Detailers and Tyler’s school. “I was impressed with the vision of Tyler’s school, so I asked what I could do and made myself available to the school’s director if she needed anything… but she probably thought I was going to hit her with a bill. So I designed all of these flyers, banners, and window decals, and brought it to her.” Once the director saw that Lorene was sincere in her generosity, she asked Lorene for help with the school’s yearbook. In just a couple of short months, Lorene photographed all of the students and some of the activities at the school, producing a beautiful yearbook that was given to all of the students.
Since then, doors began to open for Lorene as a graphic designer and she even made a small profit on the portraits she photographed for the yearbook. “Eventually people started asking what I charge… the little bit added up.” Rather than marketing her skills under a separate brand, she does so under Kedar because the brand is already established and her skills broaden the service offerings. It took her sister to point out the connection between her unselfishness and her new opportunities. “She said, ‘you’re going to get so many blessings because you’re not looking for anything, this is not by coincidence.’ I thank God every day when I say my prayers. I’m so thankful to God… they’re all blessings.”
Although Lorene gives generously of her time, she is happiest about being able to give more time to Tyler. “Wrapped up in work… I was operating on autopilot… I didn’t have the energy. Now I’m focused on raising Tyler, setting a good example, and helping him to know himself.”