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HomeNEWSBLACK GIRL MAGICSince I'm a Navy Vet, I Interviewed My Sons For Military Children...

Since I’m a Navy Vet, I Interviewed My Sons For Military Children Month

The lives of military kids are often overlooked, but are rich in lessons and experiences that prepare them for military service themselves. Even prepares their mindsets to want to make a difference in the lives of others. Did you know there are 1.6 million kids with parents who are actively serving across all branches of the U.S. military? There are over a million youth of all ages living in military homes, experiencing parental deployments and frequent relocations that result in constantly changing networks. Millions more than that are children of veterans and reservists. They serve and sacrifice just as their parents are doing and have done. SwagHer Magazine happens to know two amazing military kids!

Chaz Cross and Joshua Cross are brothers who live outside of Charlotte, NC with their parents who both served in the U.S. Navy. Their mom (Kim Cross of Zhi Bath and Body) was an Avionics Technician and their dad, Jeff, was a Seabee, so being familiar with the military is daily life for these two. They are part of a long line of family members who are serving or have served in the military, and they are also young business owners. Based on growing up as military children, life lessons from dad and watching mom run a skincare business, these two teens have stepped up and jumped into the world of entrepreneurship. Read the conversation below with their mom getting to know how her military teens feel about running businesses and what’s to come as we celebrate Military Children Month!


JOSHUA CROSS – Owner of Bee Bracelets 


Kim (mom): Hi Josh! Happy to sit with you  to get your thoughts on having a business at such a young age. How are you feeling today?


Joshua: Good


Kim: So first, we’ll talk about school, then your future and business. What is your favorite subject in school?


Joshua: Math.


Kim: Why is math your favorite subject?


Joshua: I learn a lot and after all the work, we get to play games in the last 15 minutes of each class.


Kim: Very good! Great subject to like best. So, what are your hobbies? Any sports you like to play?


Joshua: I like to play football, but I haven’t really been able to play for a while. I like gaming, of course, and one-on-one basketball with my brother.


Kim: What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you have any goals?


Joshua: I either want to be a content creator or go to the military. I really enjoy learning about military history, plus I’ve got a lot of family members, like you and dad, that served, so. But my main goal is to be successful in whatever I do.


Kim: Aww, thank you fella. So, can you see yourself making paracord bracelets 5 years from now?


Joshua: I mean, depending on how things go during those five years, either I will still be making them, or someone else will be making them.


Kim: What do you mean by that?


Joshua: I’ll have someone else making bracelets for me.


Kim: Is that one of your goals? To teach others how to make paracord bracelets and expand your business?


Joshua: Yes, for sure.


Kim: Sweet mindset you have already. So, I see where you want to go in the future but go back to the beginning for a bit. Why did you want to start your business?


Joshua: Mainly so I could decorate my room to suit my tastes and to give some of the money back to charity. We do that, as a family, with a coat drive every year, and I think that

It is a good thing to do.


Kim: How do you make your paracord bracelets stand out from other businesses that sell the same thing?


Joshua: I’m seeing that most people that sell their bracelets, like on eBay, have a single color braid or a single kind of braid for the most part. The majority of my bracelets are different contrasting colors and different kinds of braids…each one is unique.


Kim: What is your favorite paracord braid?


Joshua: It’s a three-way tie between the shark tooth, piranha and corkscrew.


Kim: Sweet! So, what do you like most about making paracord bracelets and keychains?


Joshua: It’s easy and they are durable, so they last a long time. You can pretty much adapt them to any size you need, especially if you use it for part of your survival gear when you go camping.


Kim: Cool! What’s the hardest part about making paracord bracelets or keychains?


Joshua: It can be hard if it’s a new braid. Depending on what braid it is–like the corkscrew was difficult to learn.


Kim: Is that the one that looks like DNA?


Joshua: No, that was even harder.


Kim: I see. I like that you challenge yourself to learn hard things. So, what’s the easiest part of working with paracord?


Joshua: As soon as I get the knot down, I can make bracelets or keychains without looking.


Kim: That’s really awesome, kiddo! You make it sound so easy. Last couple questions, what are other things can you make using paracord?


Joshua: Hair accessories, belts, shoelaces, keychains, bracelets, ankle bracelets, and they look weird to me, but necklaces too.


Kim: Do you plan to add any of these to your line in the future?


Joshua: I plan to add the hair accessories and shoelaces. Belts are debatable but probably not. Leashes will most likely make the cut too.


CHAZ CROSS (Owner CrossTs)


Kim: Hey Chaz! I’m so happy to sit and talk with you to get your thoughts on starting your business when you were almost 14, son. How are you feeling today?


Chaz: I’m good. Thank you!


Kim: Let’s dig right in. So, you’re 15 now—a high schooler. What is your favorite subject?


Chaz: World History. The teacher is really nice, and I actually enjoy learning about different events throughout history. It’s cool.


Kim: Ok, good! Any hobbies or sports? You run track, what else?


Chaz: Yes, I do. Track is a lot of fun and I have cool coaches. The running is great, but I prefer the high jump. I also enjoy playing basketball and drawing.


Kim: What are your goals? Think of now and for when you get out of high school.


Chaz: My main goal is to attend A&T State University. We’ve got lots of family that went there–grandpa, aunt and uncle, cousins on both sides of the family, so there’s that. I love the campus and vibe. For now, I want to have a successful tee company.


Kim: Yes, you do. A legacy of Aggies. So, how did you get into designing T-shirts?


Chaz: Well, I didn’t want to ask you and dad for money for shoes when I wanted them. Mrs. DeeDee, your friend, knows I love shoes, knew I could draw, and that I was interested in making shirts like she was, so she invested in me and my business so I could start. That was really cool, and I appreciate her a lot for that.


Kim: Ah yes. She’s an amazing person. She believes in you like we do and it’s a wonderful thing to have people in your corner that believe in you and motivate you to succeed. So, do you see yourself making tee shirts 7, 8, or even 10 years from now?


Chaz: Yes, I do. It’s pretty fun and it keeps me from being on the Xbox a lot. I’m fine with that.


Kim: So outside of making tee shirts, what do you want to be when you grow up, son?


Chaz: All kinds of things. I’m interested in many things so picking one thing right now is kind of hard. A business owner, a pilot, and professional runner are all at the top of the list. I like my engineering class too, so I don’t know.


Kim: Well, you have time and it will come. What do you like most about making tees and hoodies for yourself and others?


Chaz: Coming up with really nice designs is my favorite part. It’s the easiest part also since I can draw. Your help converting the drawings to actual designs I can put on shirts is great too since I’m still learning the technical part.


Kim: Glad to help fella. What’s the hardest part of making a hoodie or tee?


Chaz: Weeding custom designs to prepare it for application onto the tee or hoodie. It’s not really hard, just time consuming. There’s no hard part, really, it’s just fun.


Kim: Great mindset to have. It’s hard to do something you don’t love to do. What designs do you currently offer?


Chaz: I’ve started with a really cool lion head with a full mane and a lioness with a crown. I also do custom word clouds that describe the tee’s owner. That’s actually where I started. It was my first real design.


Kim: I remember that one. It’s a really cool custom tee. Any new designs on the horizon?


Chaz: I’m working on new designs and products like custom socks and pants (like tights or sweatpants), but will focus on them over the summer. I don’t really have the time now because of school and track. I have to keep my grades up, and my track times low.


These two teens, like so many others, have strong support systems to help them navigate life as a child of military members.  It’s imperative to support kids like them during the month of April, and every day of the year as they sacrifice selflessly, as do their parents.  Show support this month by wearing the color purple and using #MilKidStrong to celebrate the military children in your community.  You can support Chaz and Joshua by spreading the word about the amazing products they make, or even by purchasing a tee or bracelet!


Cross Ts




Bee Bracelets 



IG: @beeebracelets




Kim Cross | Kim Cross is the owner and Happy Skin Formulator at Zhi Bath & Body, a natural skincare shop based in Charlotte, NC. Zhi Bath and Body is a small, veteran-owned natural skincare business. She has been in the beauty industry for the last 30 years; working both as a stylist and skincare formulator.  Having dealt with severe psoriasis for over 20 years, she knows the hardship of finding products that are gentle, good for the skin, and smell amazing. 16 years of research and formulating has resulted in a goat milk skincare and soy candle line that is simply amazing. Helping you love you…naturally. IG: @zhibathandbody @zhiandme


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