“My mom always says that I just can’t keep things simple … I wish I could. But the way that my brain works, I struggle with keeping it simple,” Dr. Sagashus Levingston tells Madison365. “So if I had kept it simple, maybe it would have just been a book tour where we would have launched ‘Covet’ in five cities.
“But instead we are doing this,” she adds, smiling.
“This” is a 45-city “Nothing’s Wasted Tour” to kick off and create conversations around her new book, Covet: The ‘Disrespectful’ Health and Wellness Journal. Unlike a traditional book tour, Levingston will appear in-person and virtually in conversation with more than 180 powerful female entrepreneurs representing more than 100 organizations across 45 U.S. cities in an effort to “draw attention to critical health and wealth gaps for female entrepreneurs, particularly Black mothers.”
Levingston, the founder of the Infamous Mothers brand, is an author, speaker, and influencer who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She says that the tour’s events are free, but amazing products, packages, and bonuses will be made available.
During the pandemic, Levingston was working on building the Infamous Mothers brand and really investing her time in helping women focus on their health goals as part of dealing with COVID. And she was working on Covet: The ‘Disrespectful’ Health and Wellness Journal, the journal that asks its readers important questions that are not often asked and makes them be honest with themselves like only a personal journal can.
“We were launching ‘Covet,’ a book that was created for entrepreneurs. By the time ‘Covet’ was done, we had already created a card game, we had a podcast, and then we’ve started a new book called, ‘A Pot To Piss In.’ And we were finishing up our new website,” Levingston says. “So, I was like, ‘Wait a minute. Are we launching ‘Covet’ or are we essentially launching the entire brand?’
“On top of that, while we’re on the road, we know that it would be a waste to only focus on the things that we’ve done when we know it’s very important to bring awareness to our entrepreneurs and the ecosystems and helping them make their dreams come true,” she continues. “So why don’t we just take everything on the road? All of our products, all of our services … Why don’t we have conversations with women across all the cities? Why don’t we find out and learn from the organizations and companies that help and make these women’s dreams come true? And why don’t we make this a conversation about nothing being wasted because if there’s ever a perfect example of not wasting time, energy, or resources, launching all of this and doing all of this at the same time is a perfect example of it.”
The “Nothing’s Wasted Tour” is noteworthy, Levingston says, because of the issues they are exploring, the community that they’re building, and the awareness that they’re raising around health and wellness as it relates to entrepreneurship and motherhood. It officially kicked off Monday, June 20, with Madison entrepreneur Qiana Holmes and runs until Feb. 28, 2023.
“We are out of here in the streets doing extraordinary things with entrepreneurs. We are problem-solving. We are providing solutions to so many people’s pain points and at the same time we’re making our dreams come true,” Levingston says. “And a lot of times the representation isn’t there. When we think about entrepreneurship – I will say this a million times – we always think of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg. But how many people can name women entrepreneurs, mom entrepreneurs, and women of color entrepreneurs?
“So this tour is really about raising awareness, normalizing the roles that these women are playing in the economy, normalizing the challenges that women are facing – moms in particular – moms who are mothering outside of that single story that we have of what a family should look like,” she adds. “And these women are out here just doing the work and it is beyond amazing.”
Prior to this 45-city tour launch, Levingston had been at her house a lot during Covid laying relatively low, but still working really hard. As Levingston announced the tour on social media she mentioned that she has returned from “two years underground.”
“This is our sixth year running Infamous Mothers and we would create these beautiful events or beautiful programs or beautiful products and beautiful services. And we didn’t have the capacity to keep going after we created these things,” Levingston says. “We would create it, we would sell out and then we would need like six months to regroup to gather enough money to do the next thing, to gather up enough womanpower to do the next thing.
“I’m so grateful to the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation and UW Health Foundation and American Family Insurance’s Institute for Corporate and Social Impact because they gave us the sponsorship and grant support that we needed to not have to keep doing these smaller things and then going back and interrupting the flow of our work and our ability to show up for our clients.”
For two years, Infamous Mothers has used those resources and created so many different things including product services programming.
“We updated our technology, we updated our processes, we brought people on board and we built out our small business so that when we come out – which is now – we can keep going versus going back in,” she says.
And after two years, Sagashus is ready to go out.
“Heck, yes! If you’re going to be gone that long, when you come out, you better have something to show for it,” Levingston laughs. “I love building the work. I love writing the books. I love creating the games. I love all the things that we do. But what I love more than anything is sitting down and having conversations with the women. I missed that. And it’s hard to bake the bread, eat the bread, and buy all the ingredients for the bread at the same time. And that’s what I was doing before.
“This sponsorship has made it possible for me to buy and then bake the bread and then later go ahead and enjoy it. And this is the enjoyment part – this is the part where I actually get out and meet these women, talk with them — and then from there, people are able to come to our website, buy our products, buy our services, listen to our podcast when we launch it and enjoy our social media. So, yeah, I’m excited about being back in front of women because I feel like my house is in order as a small business.”