by: We Rise and Shine
A famous quote states that style is a way of saying who you are without having to speak. Although this quote originally relates to fashion, it can also be applied in business. More often than not, a potential customer will make an inference of your product or services based on the presentation of your brand. For this reason, Contemporary Brand Stylist, Ahyiana Angel, has built her career around helping entrepreneurs establish a presence that appeals to the larger community and potential clients. Before she was able to guide others, she had to navigate through a few career changes to discover her true purpose. This is how she did it!
What prompted you to make the transition into entrepreneurship after working as a Publicist for the NBA?
I thought coming out of college that I would never be an entrepreneur. As I got into the corporate world I realized that my personality wasn’t best suited for corporate America in the sense that I am a leader and I’m also a creative who prefers to not be bound by the confines of traditional corporate life. Three years in, I started feeling like there has got to be more out of life. I was the co-creater of the Crux New York jewelry line and I thought that was going to be my way out and then my business partner and I decided to let that business go. At that point I started thinking, “What am I going to do next?” I honestly did a lot of praying and soul searching and trying to figure it out. I began to wonder “what is my calling, what makes me happy, what’s in it for me that could be potentially good for other people?” Then it came to me, “you probably need to be writing.” I always wanted to write a novel. I went full-speed ahead with researching. It seemed like it could be doable. I went with it and didn’t look back. Now, as I made my transition into being the Contemporary Brand Stylist, I realize that everything that I did prepared me for where I am today.
What is a Contemporary Brand Stylist and how did you discover your profession?
My background is in public relations, which is strongly based on image, and selling a certain look in terms of overall presentation. I recognized that it was a strong suit for me, and I noticed that a lot of woman of color are embarking on entrepreneurship. I also observed that although there are a lot of great ideas, many of us do not have a strong understanding of how to brand and style our businesses presentation. At that point I realized that I wanted to help people present their ideas for their business, or themselves, in a way that is more appealing to the general consumer and in turn generate an increase in exposure and revenue.
As a Contemporary Brand Stylist I offer consultations, which entails an evaluation of the client’s digital presence, identifying their strong points and weaknesses, and informing them of where they can improve and how they can improve. I’ve had a variety of clients from small businesses to television talent and I always make sure that after their consultation they have action items, they feel like there was value in the call, and they walk away with resources as well as information that they didn’t know before. I want everyone to be the best that they can be in their business, and I want to guide people as to how they can have a crisp polished image.
What were some of the greatest obstacles you faced since launching your business?
Time management because there are so many things that need to get done in a day, and you also realize that the things you get done reflect you and your business.
Awareness - The market is oversaturated so it’s challenging to wade through fog and let people see that you are there and you’re a valuable source. You are going up against people who have a perceived value and don’t really have a concrete background or knowledge base, but they are your competition.
A smaller challenge is getting family and friends to support you. They can very well know people who can benefit from your service, but they don’t really take the time to know and understand what you’re doing. That is why I started Lifeaccordingtoher.com and the @LifeAccordingToHer Instagram because I like to promote other people and I want see everybody win. I had so many fascinating women around me doing amazing things and I wanted to create a space that says: “You rock girl! I love what you’re doing and I want to continue seeing you doing your thing.” I also wanted it to serve as a place where other people can feel comfortable encouraging each other, and be inspired by someone with a similar career path.
Which of your personal attributes have played a major part in your success?
1. Being an idea generator - I’m always thinking of new ways to do things and approach things from different angles.
2. Being fearless - You have to be your biggest supporter and almost have no fear as to what is going to happen next. You can’t be afraid of approaching the people you need to approach, and having conversations that you need to have.
3. Being driven and motivated to just do it - I think that a lot of it is that you have to be a self-starter and self-motivated; you can’t wait for other people to push you.
What resources have been most helpful to you?
I live by canva.com because I create my own marketing materials and I designed my website, workbooks, etc. so I use that as a source of creating materials. I also use Photoshop, and iMovie for my videos.
Who are the women that inspire you most?
Oprah - She really wants to see other people succeed and she’s a giver. I think that is why people gravitate to her and her message. She shares quality information that makes you want to watch her shows.
Beyonce - Her work ethic is very admirable. She’s still trying to find ways to push herself and give her audience more. That’s the entrepreneur that I want to be, someone that is constantly coming up with new things and giving more.
Mara Brock Akil - She is telling stories that are similar to the stories that I want to tell; stories of modern contemporary women and the trials and tribulations in their lives. She also does a good job touching on the issues that the everyday career woman can identify with.
For a woman who is feeling trapped in her career, what do you recommend she does to get unstuck?
Find someone you can talk to and brainstorm career future ideas with. Talk it through because it can help you come up with some solid ideas and a plan. Use other people as a resource, and venture out and find different things that you’ve never done before. Take classes, take trips, try learning a new language…challenge yourself outside of work. You will really feel like you’re living and that will rejuvenate your spirit.
What have you learned about yourself?
I’m way more driven and goal oriented than I knew. I’m able to be diligent about getting things done. This journey has also made me realize that I am truly an artist. I am also more of a giver than I thought I was, and I’m really passionate about seeing other people win. Lastly, I’ve discovered that I’m an encourager!
What can we expect next from you?
I just released a workbook for aspiring writers called “A 15-Step Guide To Traditional Publishing” that is available at AhyianaAngel.com. My new novella, Inside His Heart, will be released at the end of May. I’m also going to be a panelist at the Beauty + Books Makeup Mixer in New Orleans July 4 during the Essence Music Festival weekend. I’m pretty excited about connecting with the women that are coming out.