The Mavs Business Assist program launched at the start of the 2022-23 basketball season to support 100 diverse entrepreneurs and small business owners who call North Texas home.

Here at the Mavs, we also believe in the power of storytelling, and it’s our honor to showcase various MBA members throughout the year to highlight their extraordinary accomplishments.

Every entrepreneur has a story to tell.  This is especially true for minority and woman-owned businesses, who often have to jump through even more hurdles to see their business succeed. The Dallas Mavs are excited to amplify the voices of various minority entrepreneurs in the inaugural class of the Mavs Business Assist program. 

This week we share more about one woman who is brightening the world for kids nationwide!


Tiffany Henry remembers the days of sitting in the old Reunion Arena and cheering on the Mavs legends of the game like Michael Finley and Jason Kidd. Now she’s in a cutting-edge program with the very same franchise called Mavs Business Assist.

Growing up in Desoto, Texas, Henry dreamed of reaching for the stars — she just never imagined that she’d actually create them in brilliant colors for children to use! Henry is the founder and CEO of Cool Crayations, a business that reimagines a world splashed in vivid colors for kids.

Cool Crayations provides homemade, customized crayons and coloring sheets for tiny humans (the fabulous term Henry uses for kiddos)! The idea was born in her kitchen, where she decided to “create crayons with a purpose.” As an aunt and godparent, she desired to make more meaningful gifts and toys for the children in her family. Henry took a leap of faith in 2021 and opened an Etsy business, making life much brighter for homes worldwide. Cool Crayations has since exploded ever since, and Henry continues to empower and educate families “one crayon at a time.”

Cool Crayations is a woman-owned, black-owned business, and this month Henry is launching a new design to her “Black History Month” crayon creations.

“It’s an educational crayon box that incorporates crayons to teach kids Black history facts,” Henry said. “This particular box focuses on Black inventors and contains three mini flashcards that highlight three brilliant Black inventors. And attached to each flashcard is a cool shaped crayon (ready to be used for coloring!) that visually represents the Black inventor/invention.”

She said kids are visual learners, and they need an element of play when taught because it’s a recipe for success.

“So, aside from creating fun, cool-looking crayons, one of my company’s goals is to create themed crayon boxes that educate, empower and enrich the lives of kids,” she shared. “And our Black history box is the first step in that direction; this box is all about educating kids about Black history in a new and engaging way.”

The Dallas Mavericks recently had the chance to visit with Tiffany Henry to learn all about her fascinating life, what it’s like to be selected for the Mavs Business Assist program and how she hopes to color the world in the future.

MAVS.COM: Firstly, congratulations on your business endeavor and getting selected for the Mavs Business Assist program! Before we discuss that, can you share with our fans more about your background? Where did you grow up, attend school and what led to this moment? 

TIFFANY: Thank you, Tamara! Sure, I would love to share a little bit more about myself.

I’m a Texas gal – I grew up in DeSoto, Texas (a Dallas suburb)! I earned my bachelor’s degree in business marketing from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and I hold a master’s degree in advertising from The University of Texas at Austin.

I’m also an avid traveler, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and a regular community volunteer. Additionally, I love watching basketball, traveling and writing.

Speaking of writing, I was a very creative kid growing up. Whether coloring, painting or writing novice fictional stories, I loved anything that allowed me to think outside of the box and be creative!

I’ve also always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Before I hit double digits, I had a lemonade stand that would’ve made Simply Lemonade proud, and I had a successful business selling cross necklaces made out of beads when I was just a preteen.

So, I believe that my early love for arts and crafts and being a creative thinker coupled with my entrepreneurial DNA lead me to this moment! I truly believe that 10-year-old Tiffany would be proud!

MAVS.COM: I have to admit that I’m especially intrigued by your business because I’m also the cool aunt! And buying the same toys and crayons for kids isn’t as special as getting their own creation. How did the idea for your business spark?

TIFFANY: Well hello, my fellow cool aunt! Individuals like you are who I had in mind when I created my business.

I started Cool Crayations because, like you, as the godmother and aunt to several tiny humans (the fun synonym I use for “kids”), I was tired of always giving regular toys as gifts.

Plus, these days, kids spend a ton of time on phones, tablets and computers. So, I really wanted to give the kids in my life some form of screen-free entertainment. However, I wanted it to be something that was unique, personalized and enjoyable for them. Thus, I began thinking about screen-free activities that most kids like. Almost instantly, coloring with crayons popped in my head. Then I thought, what if I combined coloring with some of the things that they’re already crazy about – like unicorns, trucks and dinos – to create a unique screen-free experience that would really get them excited. Hence, the birth of the fun shaped crayon idea!

Personally, I thought it was a really cool idea! However, it needed to be kid approved. So, in 2020, I created and gave custom crayon name sets to both my niece and nephew as one of their Christmas gifts. As they opened their gifts, I loved seeing how excited they were to see their personalized names. And, instantly, I knew that I wanted other kids across the nation to experience that same excitement and joy!

MAVS.COM: It seems like your business on Etsy has a ton of success. How long have you been in business now and what has the feedback been like? Did it surprise you how accepted and needed your “creations” have become?

TIFFANY: Yes, it’s been so exciting seeing and experiencing all the success and growth my business has had on Etsy!

I started my business only a little over a year and a half ago, in 2021. When I first shared the idea for my business with some friends and family, they loved it. But the thought of actually launching my business was a little nerve-wracking because you never really know what kind of response you’re going to get from the public when you introduce a new business or bring a new product to the market. However, I didn’t let that stop me. And when I launched it, I received a ton of support and positive feedback! And since our launch, all of our crayon shapes have been well received, but our dinosaur crayons, unicorn crayons and pastel custom crayon name set have become three of our customer favorites!

You see, a lot of things that kids love and play with have evolved over the years – video games have gotten more advanced, dolls have gotten more diverse, etc. However, crayons have pretty much been in the same traditional shape for so long. It was time for someone to shake things up in the crayon world. So, honestly, I wasn’t really surprised that people liked the fun shaped crayon idea. It’s new. It’s fun. It’s unique. And while I wasn’t too surprised, I’m very grateful that our crayons have been so well received!

MAVS.COM: What have been some of the challenges as a minority business owner and then some of the highlights for you? What keeps you going?

TIFFANY: Starting a new business definitely comes with its fair share of challenges and hurdles. And I’d say that one of the top challenges for minority-owned businesses is funding. There seems to be a general lack of funding for minority businesses, and there are tons of stats that back that up. And if a business owner can’t get funding, then one’s business, typically, can only grow and scale so much. So, that’s a challenge, especially as a new business owner.

However, with certain funding, like grants, there are more opportunities opening up for minority businesses than in the past. But, there is still work to be done and progress to be made when it comes to funding in general.

As for what keeps me going – no doubt it’s the joy that our crayons bring to kids! When I do in person markets, I love seeing kids’ faces light up when they see our crayons and get to test them out! And I also really love hearing stories about how much kids love their fun shaped crayons! One parent told me that her daughter literally sleeps with her unicorn crayons; like, come on, you can’t tell me that doesn’t just pull at your heart strings and bring a smile to your face! Those are the reasons that I put my all into Cool Crayations and do what I do.

MAVS.COM: Ten years from now, what do you want to be doing? What would be a dream scenario?

TIFFANY: Cool Crayations is going to completely shake up the crayon game!

Specifically, I envision Cool Crayations revamping the coloring experience. I see us partnering with the NBA to provide kids with fun crayon gifts and souvenirs. I also envision our crayons being on Oprah’s list of favorite things and on the shelves of major retailers across the nation like Nordstroms and Target.

I also visualize Cool Crayations having its own storefront location in Dallas, and possibly even embarking on a national roadshow where kids (or adults too; no judgment here!) can participate in a big coloring block party!

I’m also an avid traveler. So, 10 years from now, more international traveling will definitely be part of the dream scenario. And it would also be really cool to have our crayons be international. So, when I am visiting a local cafe in Paris, I’d love to look out the window of the cafe and see our crayons in a toy store across the street. Or, as I’m shopping along Corso Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, I’d love to walk by a posh boutique store and see one of our purse and high heel crayon sets displayed in the window.

Aim for the stars, right?

MAVS.COM: What is the workflow like for you? Do you have another job or are you able to do Cool Crayations full time?

TIFFANY: I was in the corporate world for a decade, but in 2021 I took a leap of faith and fully stepped into the entrepreneurial world! And, currently, I’m blessed to be able to focus on growing and scaling my business full time.

And, honestly, my workflow varies depending on the day. However, the one constant thing is how I start my day. I always kick off my day with hot tea with lemon, a lighted candle and meditation before I get into the hustle and bustle of the day. After that, I determine if the day is going to be focused on fulfilling orders, marketing, operations or market prep.

And every crayon that we sell is handcrafted and made with love. So, a lot of my days include creating the actual crayons, packaging and shipping out orders.

MAVS.COM: Why did you decide to join Mavs Business Assist? What have been some highlights or moments/things that have stood out or helped you?

TIFFANY: Well, first, as a Dallas native, I’m a huge Mavs fan! Growing up, I remember the days of going to Reunion Arena to watch Michael Finley and Jason Kidd play (as you can tell, this Dallas native has been rocking with the Mavs for decades)! So, when I learned about the opportunity to be part of a program that blended two things that I love and am passionate about – the Mavs and growing my business – it was a no brainer for me. I knew that I had to be a part of this program!

In addition to that, I joined to surround myself and my business with like minded entrepreneurs, experts and thought leaders and members of an organization that I admire and wanted to learn from. Also, I saw it as an opportunity to be part of a supportive community that understood and is also passionate about the entrepreneurial journey.

For me, one of the highlights has been our in person sessions. From growth strategies to leadership advice, we’ve covered a range of different topics during the sessions that have been really valuable. And I’ve also really loved the networking opportunities – both networking with my fellow entrepreneurs and also executives from different organizations.

Speaking of, one of the things that’s really special about this program is the unique access to and connection opportunities with other brands and organizations that it has provided us. For example, one of the highlights for me was when the Mavs Business Assist program recently set up an entire evening for us to connect with executives from Coca-Cola and the Dallas Mavericks. From the VP of Marketing to the Director of Operations, there was a wide array of executives that we got a chance to network with, ask questions to and seek advice from. This program has opened up doors and created opportunities, like this, that you just wouldn’t be able to experience on your own – I mean, who do you personally know that could call up dozens of executives from one of the largest brands in the world and spend an evening of their free time picking their brain and asking their advice? That’s something exclusive to this program and it’s a major perk of being a part of Mavs Business Assist!

I also really love how the team that’s overseeing the Mavs Business Assist program regularly asks for our feedback. They genuinely want to know and try to incorporate what we would like to see and would be the most supportive to us, and I really appreciate that about this program!

Overall, I’m incredibly appreciative and grateful to be part of the inaugural cohort of this amazing program, and I would highly recommend this program to any entrepreneur in the DFW area!

MAVS.COM: Do you have any upcoming designs our fans should know about? Any chance we’ll get a Mavs-inspired crayon set with little basketballs? Also, I know that Valentine’s is right around the corner, so here’s your chance to share some ideas for parents!

TIFFANY: I like the way you think 🙂

I do have a basketball-inspired crayon box that is coming out. And, in fact, I’d love to work with the Mavs to customize it to be a Mavs-themed basketball crayon box! I think it would be something that my fellow Mavs fans would really love.

I also have two crayon boxes that will be available soon that I’d love to share with you!

The first is a new, enhanced version of our “Black history crayon box”!

It’s an educational crayon box that incorporates crayons to teach kids Black history facts. This particular box focuses on Black inventors and contains three mini flashcards cards that highlight three brilliant Black inventors. And attached to each flashcard is a cool shaped crayon (ready to be used for coloring!) that visually represents the Black inventor/invention.

So, aside from creating fun, cool looking crayons, one of my company’s goals is to create themed crayon boxes that educate, empower and enrich the lives of kids. And our Black history box is the first step in that direction; this box is all about educating kids about Black history in a new and engaging way.

Kids are visual learners. You can’t just talk at them and expect them to learn things, yet alone focus on what is being taught. However, if you add an element of play (in this case, crayons) when teaching them, I truly believe that’s a recipe for success.

This box will be available in our shop at the beginning of February!

The second product is actually two different Valentine’s Day crayon sets. For the kids, we created a set of heart crayons with fun facial features on them. Some of the faces even have adorable little eyelashes. We also created a fun, non-edible fruit arrangement – our chocolate covered strawberry crayons. Yes, you read right; we created a strawberry crayon that looks like it was dipped in chocolate!

And what I really love, and I’m sure so many parents will love, about both of these boxes is that they are a fun Valentine’s Day alternative to traditional candy and sweets. The heart crayons are currently on our website, and the chocolate covered strawberry crayons are a limited edition item that will be available starting January 31st. So, if you want either box before Valentine’s Day, be sure to order asap!

MAVS.COM: I believe it’s important to honor our mentors and role models who paved the way for us and taught us to dream. Who are some people in your own life who deserve a personal achievement award from you and how have they impacted your life? Here’s your chance to give them a shoutout!

TIFFANY: Absolutely! I believe in surrounding myself with a community of supportive individuals and people who will encourage me and give me genuine feedback. There are several people who have had a major impact on me and my journey. However, one individual who has significantly impacted my life and been an instrumental part of my entrepreneurial journey is my father, Norman Henry.

In fact, he’s an entrepreneur himself! He used to be the Executive Director of a nonprofit called Builders of Hope that built affordable housing in lower income areas of Dallas and he has given back tremendously and in so many ways to the Dallas community.

And personally, he’s given me a ton of invaluable advice. He’s been my sounding board, an advice giver, one of my biggest supporters, my in person market companion and also an amazing father! He’s also a Dallas Mavs fan, so I know he’s going to get a real kick out of being mentioned in a Dallas Mavs interview!

MAVS.COM: Shoutout to your father, Norman! He sounds like an amazing man and we are so honored to learn more about him! Well, last question here, is there anything else you want our fans to know about you or your business?

TIFFANY: One of the things that I really love about our products is that we literally provide kids with a physical tool that unlocks their creativity and imagination!

Our crayons provide kids with a unique coloring experience that blends some of the things that they really love (like dino crayons for dino lovers and rocket ship crayons for kids obsessed with space) into a new type of coloring experience for them.

Our crayons can also be used as a fun, learning resource – for example, our insect crayon box can be paired with learning activities that teach kids about different bugs and insects. And our crayon name sets can provide a fun, visual element that helps kids with learning and writing their names, or even learning vowels or the alphabet. Our crayons can also help kids with their fine motor skills, color recognition, shape recognition and hand-eye coordination.

Honestly, the possibilities and benefits are endless. And that’s what I really love about my company’s products; they’re not just pretty to look at, they also have real purpose!

And, ultimately, we’re focused on spreading joy to kids across the nation, one crayon at a time!

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