Registering My Business Name

Yes. I finally did it. I finally registered a business name. For a little over a year, I sat and sat on this.

I created the name on a plane ride to LA last year when I attended the ADCOLOR awards. Magic happens when electronics are taken away and all you have is a pen and paper.

I definitely felt empowered afterwards. I think the small steps are really the important ones because it all makes up the bigger picture. Plus, isn’t life really just a bunch of small steps?

anyways.

I got caught up in the name thing. I know a few future business owners that are in the ‘trying to decide on a name stage’ lol. It’s definitely important. After all, it is your baby. I really just wanted to use this post to encourage others to also solidify something that you’ve been putting of due to fear or procrastination.

 
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We Out Here: Black women thriving, surviving, and shaking the table

 
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POPSUGAR has been one of my favorite places to go to catch up celebrity fashion, travel inspiration, and relationship advice for years!

As I was scrolling through posts, I stumbled upon the We Out Here section of the site where there’s a plethora of articles tailored specifically for African American women. Topics like where to find the best black-hosted podcasts, how to manage your mental health, and Michelle Obama's latest outfit. (ugh love her so much)

Not only are we out here, but we're not going anywhere, either.
Read the open letter from the editors here

Let that ish go

It’s become a tradition of mine to take self care days in the middle and end of the year.

2 days here, 3 days there.

I relax mostly. Live out my ideal day or weekend - which usually involves coffee, shopping, art of some sort, or food. I also use some time for self-reflection and personal planning. So I started thinking about some of the big goals that I wanted to achieve in 2018 that I didn’t.

While I designed and sewed a lot of pieces, I didn’t get to launch the 10 piece collection that I’d hoped for. I also struggled with my business model and how to turn my skills into a second source of income amongst other things. I think every entrepreneur struggles with certain things business wise, but also personally. There’s personal struggles and battles that happen within while trying to grow and start a business.

One of my problems was letting go.

YOU CANNOT DO EVERYTHING CIERRA. I literally had to have a coming to Jesus with myself. I’m self taught in a lot of areas. A lot of my skills, I worked hard to learn over time and I’m a strong believer in ‘you can do anything if you put your mind to it’. So I tend to think I can do everything. But just because I CAN do it doesn’t mean I SHOULD. You gotta learn to delegate sis.

For example, there’s tons of designs sitting in my sketchbook that could have came to life that I just didn’t have time to sew - that I should have given to a seamstress to create in half the time. It’s what I’ll eventually have to do when the business gets big enough anyways. So this year, a goal of mine is delegating more off my plate to free up time, because time is money.

I also had a problem with letting go of the ‘plan’ I had for myself.

HA! A plan. How cute.

The only plan I needed to follow is God’s plan and not my own. I was a living-breathing oxymoron. Praying for guidance and still try to be in control. Plans are great, but plans also need to be flexible. I always notice the goals I set in the beginning of the year usually look a little different towards the middle as things progress.

So let it go. *cues petty lover by Jaz Karis.


How I Started Designing

Sometimes I’ll ask you guys what you want me to write about and this was one of them.

It’s usually along the lines of…How did you start designing? How did you learn how to sew? Did you go to school for fashion?

Sewing and designing sort of ‘fell on my lap’.

I’d always been into fashion as a young girl. We wore uniforms in high school, so I’d have to get pretty creative to be cute. I also had a bunch of siblings and not even money to buy the trendy clothes. I think all of those thing birthed the DIY interest. I became a pro at turning nothing into something cute. However, I didn’t put two and two together and went to college for communications, focusing my studies in business and public relations.

My senior year, I was thrifting and came across the most beautiful vintage black dress. It was only $5, but geeeessh it was a size 14 (10 sizes too big). I took it to get tailored and they proceeded to tell me it would be around $80.

I said eff that I’ll do it myself. So I went to Walmart and bought a sewing machine for the same price. From there, I started to learn how it to use it - watching YouTube videos with a lot of trial and error. Then I launched my blog and started sharing my thrift store projects.

Although my first love is repurposing items, I started to get the itch to create my own designs. First I had to learn the basics of sketching and then I had to school myself on how to design garments. I still think I‘m in the early stages of this process, but I’ve come a long way. Currently I’m working on my technical sewing skills. Things like creating patterns and sewing the patterns into actual pieces.

One thing I’ve always had to have throughout this process is patience and diligence.

Learning a new skill does not happen overnight and I always tell myself that when I get frustrated. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to mistake my way through things. How many pieces I’ve made too small, too big, or just ugly lol. I’m still finding my POV as a designer, but I tend to be drawn to vintage clothes, earthy pallets, and minimalism.

I’m aiming to put out a loungewear collection in 2019 as well as part 2 of my denim series. Super excited for you all to see this growth!

Life's Leaps

I took a big leap yesterday and bought my first new car.

It definitely gave me slight anxiety because it's one of the biggest purchases I've ever made as a 20 something (cues sza). As they were finalizing the paperwork my mind flashed back to a conversation me and my baby sister had the day before. I'd asked her how was the first day of school and she told me she was performing at the pep rally for the first time. 

Talk about nerve wrecking. I went on to tell her nerves are good. That means you’re getting uncomfortable. Keep doing that. Plus, best case scenario you kill it. 

I'd performed at many greek functions and was terrified each time lol. Yet each time it got easier and less scary. Same for presenting at my job. Sometimes I find myself blacking out when I talk in front of big groups - hence why I never started a YouTube channel lol. 

So my boss recommended I take part in a program that will allow me to present digital trends to senior leadership every month. If it was up to me, I would have said no, but I knew it wasn't a recommendation, but more of a necessary step to sharpen my skills. 

The nerves are still there, but I've worked hard to learn how to manage them better. I used to spend a week practicing, now I can get it down within 2-3 days...progress. I say all this as a small reminder to myself that leaps are just that. Leaps towards something I really want.

'Mamma aint raise no punk' - mom who was sitting next to me at the dealership.

I was fearful of the purchase, but also extremely excited because ya'll don't understand I've had that car since high school. I'd prayed for over 4 months for the opportunity and 3 times that day alone that it would work out. Just goes to show that God will give you what you asked for sometimes to test if you're ready for it.

Moral of the story is I got the car and my sister killed the pep rally.