The Empire State.
The city that never sleeps because its full of movers and shakers
Evelyn and I attended the High School of Fashion Industries and graduated in 2009, which feels like ages ago! She has mastered her social media efforts and grown a strong following helping women and mothers with beauty and skincare tips. It was an amazing opportunity to meet with her at Summers Restaurant inspired by both New York classics and light healthy California bites. The small business sources the freshest fruits and veggies all locally sourced. As her little one, Jackson - sipped on a smoothie patiently waiting, we spoke about how she has evolved within her craft, juggling her passion, while balancing family and personal life.
Who is Evelyn Garcia
“My name is Evelyn Garcia and I am a full time Mom and a Freelance Makeup Artist!”
Style of Makeup Artist
“ I would say natural glam. Being a nine year licensed makeup artist means, hustle hard! I’ve always had to hustle my way to just get to where I want to be. I never really liked working for anybody, so this is has been a dream come true. I never expected to have kids either, so the fact that I am a mom and I am able to do what I love it’s pretty awesome and a blessing. It also took a lot of free jobs for the first two years of my career. ”
Describe your brand Lolita Valverde
“It’s pronounced (Lo-lee-ta Val-ver-day) Valverde is my dad’s last name but I go by Garcia. He came here as an immigrant and he had to use his aunts last name which is Garcia, so when I was born I had to be Garcia. Growing up I always wanted to be a Valverde, I believed it was so unique. So it didn’t matter that it wasn’t in my name, I decided to take it and use it. Lolita on the other hand is like my alter ego. I always thought in my past life I was a 1950’s pin-up girl, so I was like Lolita Valverde - it’s catchy! It’s fun, sexy and creative.”
“Being on top of emails always networking and maintaing the relationships with my clients. Always touching base and seeing if they need my services for a special occasions, making sure to spread the word. Also constantly being mindful of my surroundings because I am a walking brand. Also completing a lot of invoices! I have to let clients know when I need to get paid Net 30, Net 45, Net 90 and sometimes even then, I still don’t get paid on time. I’m actually wearing my favorite shirt and it says "‘Pay Freelancers on Time’. Some of the hurdles and things that I face as a freelancer is how to write an email saying, I need to get paid while doing so respectfully but also maintaining boundaries as a professional.”
”We went to Fashion Industries High School and I was devastated that I didn’t get into FIT, I thought that was going to be my life since we we’re already in fashion school. I did get accepted into to John Jay and I was like fuck it! I don’t know why I thought I had to go to college to make my parents proud, so I was like let me just go for them. They’re immigrants and I know that’s what they want. But growing up they never asked that from me they always accepted me and what I wanted to do. I had to ask myself, is this what I really want? I always liked doing makeup, maybe I should just go to makeup school. I should do what I want to do, I’m sure my parents won’t be so mad at me. I ended up going to and it was an intense eight month course. That was the best decision I made for myself.”
You Tube or Instagram
“I don’t do You Tube anymore it’s so intense between the time for, editing, music and I had my daughter Penelope at the time it was just too much. I was trying to find myself between being a new mom, a You Tuber, and a makeup artist. So, since I no longer do You Tube anymore I decided since I have a really good following on Instagram, I might as well do videos there. IG TV is 10 Mins, the fact that I can do a little tutorial while the baby is napping, this was better for me. Also, the way I evolved was I wanted to focus on helping people who may not know how to do their makeup. I want my Instagram page to be not only for moms but for people who want to learn about makeup and beauty tips.”
Success & Family
“Being happy with what you do as a living but also financially free with doing what makes you happy. My favorite thing to come home to after a long day is my kids. When I am away from them, I miss their little smiles and my six year old daughter asks about everything. She become a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race so she has been asking me questions about LGBTQ community. So I make sure I explain all of it to her, I want her to be open minded and comfortable when she does see this for herself in the world and on television.”
“I’ve been in the game for nine years and the beauty industry just blew up and everyone is doing it. How I differentiate myself is having gone to makeup school, a lot of people starting out typically are self taught so I do have those unique tools that I’ve learned so from my teachers. I always take that with me where ever I go, I always try to utilize what I’ve learned in school.”
Favorite Beauty Product
“I really love most of the Fenty Beauty, By Rihanna collection - it’s really good. I like her concealers, lipsticks and bronzers. It’s also not really breaking the bank, it’s high end but affordable. Also, Jeffree Star he has this amazing concealer and it’s a game changer for me. It just blew all the other concealers out the window!”
Advice for Beauty & Skincare
“Skincare is always key if you want your makeup to look flawless and smooth- also face shaving! I know that sounds crazy, its life changing though! That peach fuzz on your face, that’s what might make your makeup a little blotchy sometimes and not fully even. Also, it’s always good to go to a dermatologist first to figure out your skin type - do you have oily, dry, combination are you acne prone or not. Then purchase products that fit you best. I always say don’t fall into the hype of certain products for example, Kylie Jenner’s skincare products. I am not a hater but there is so much better products out there, you are basing your purchasing authority on an endorsement, when it could actually break out your skin -so just be mindful.
Always know your skin type, remove you makeup before you go to bed, have a skincare routine in the morning, use SPF moisturizer and drink lots of water.”
Ghaze and I have known each other professionally for almost ten years. We collaborated around the beginning of his career, so it was a pleasure to see how he has developed within his talent and talk to him about building his brand.
"I had the perfect job at a large department retailer in the portrait studio. It was the end of my first week and I found out the company was bankrupt. I saw this as a sign to work for myself full time doing photography. I've been shooting for the past ten years, but in the beginning I wasn't at that professional level. But, I had a mentor who showed me the business and introduced me to the photography world with brands like Nike. From there, my dream started becoming more of my reality"
The Birth of a Passion
"I believe the passion was deeply rooted since childhood. Around my early adult years, I really had the desire to get involved with taking photos, So, I bought my first camera, I dove right in and started seeing my skills in the art of cinematography. I wasn't sure if I was good enough at the time. My friend who was in the world of photography said my photos were good as a beginner and from there I kept advancing in the levels of my talent."
"If I'm not already working with returning clients, my responsibilities are creating new content to draw in new business. I advertise work I've done with clothing and lifestyle brands to entice new brands and clients to work with me."
Expectation vs. Reality
"Before I started my business I wish I knew this was my passion beforehand so I could have put more time, effort, and money into my craft. But I'm still appreciative of the choices I made because they were informative life experiences."
"Ghazer Filmz is financed by its work. I have a great following of loyal clients and tremendous support from my family. The income I make through my photography is put right back into the business and allows me to acquire more equipment and grow within my talents."
Highlight The Features
"When it comes to competition, habits that have helped with my success is being patient and understanding. It's important to execute the vision a model or brand is trying to achieve and that may take some time. But those two traits are key. I also believe I've distinguished myself from others because I've learned from my mistakes, I pay attention to detail and I highlight the features to the best of my ability."
"What I would have done differently, when it came to creating the business would have been keeping in touch with connections I made doing freelance work. At the time I wish I would have understood the art of networking, I am a quiet person but It was important for my business that I set the tone and been more outgoing."
Learn From Your Failures
"I deal with failure by learning from it. It's business, you can't allow yourself to be in a slump. You have to keep going and tell yourself this is how I will improve when executing this for the next time."
Show the World
"My photography and cinematography is branded as Ghazer Films, Ghaze is my nickname. But I've thought about possibly renaming the company Creative Soul Art. My mission is to capture and interpret my clients skills and story through my photography and show the world."
"My advice to dreamers and future creators is to 'Be Yourself'. Don't be someone you're not. Network is key, so build your relationships with like minded people and don't be afraid of failure, keep going."
Curtis and I took an art classes together every Tuesday after school. I have enormous amount of respect for him as an artist and also a dear childhood friend. We have truly watched each other grow into these uncontainable creative minds we are today. Curtis is a young man who seems to leave a lasting impression with many.
The New Era of Art
"I am Curtis Bryant, an amazing black male who is a creative-pernuer. I have been working for myself for almost five years. It has been totally intense but rewarding. When I graduated college I was working at a hotel, doing special events as a bus boy. It was then I worked The Butler, movie premier party that I truly realized was my true wake up call. I met all of these amazing black celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Cicely Tyson, La La Anthony to name a few and I realized at that moment It for sure wasn't where I wanted to be."
" I attended Parsons School of Design, where I learned so much of the behind the scenes aspects of the arts. I realized I could do it all on my own, also - I have my own style. When I chose to leave my job I was constantly having to defend what I do. Growing up, my dad had his own food truck business. We would awake early and work a full eight hour shift a day. It wasn't something I wanted to do but it was ingrained in me from a child, so when I got older that's what I felt suited me best."
Responsibilities of an Artist
"In society, creatives like myself are likes the artistic Presidents. Lots of celebrities wouldn't thrive if it weren't for creatives building their websites, taking and editing their photos, etc. The creative process of making sure they are always amazing on camera and in print. These are all creative jobs so without us, the world would be some what stagnate or just a complete lack of stimulation."
Budgeting is Key
"100 % of my income is made from photography, graphic design, video and now I've been involved in curating. I finance the business by budgeting all the work I get and the revenue I make is put back into the business."
Healthy Work Habits
"Its important to lead your business with healthy work habits that will help your success. For me it's being on time, budgeting, sleeping, taking care of myself. Also, drinking lots of water, going to the gym, having some self respect and understanding when to say No."
"I distinguished myself from other creatives by being more of a people person, I get along with lots of people within the art world. I'm not boxed in to certain type of person, I can work with everyone. In regards to my photography I do not photoshop, I edit lighting and color so in a sense thats what sets me apart as well. We've been in this art world since we were kids, so you know its not solely about money to me it always has and will be about the art."
Creating The Brand
"What was unexpected in the process of branding was learning how to pitch myself to others, while doing it so humbly. Also expecting and accepting being broke. Before I started branding myself as a creative I wish I knew that I would always have to be my own supporter, being the creative one in your family is already tough. But when you become an adult and you're pretty much rebelling and you're telling yourself "I'm doing this for me" so you have to be your own support system even during difficult times."
Be Prepared For Failure
"I think about failure all the time because I think it's something you have to be prepared for. Especially people of color, we don't have time to stay down. You have to be mentally prepared and okay with the possibility of failing. Believing in something is important. For instance, I feel I am a very centered person. I look at myself at gym for example, deciding to stay an additional 10 mins on the elliptical even when I am tired - to me that's powerful. So when things are rough, or someone has disappointed me I look at it and say " you're those 10 mins on the elliptical ". Believing in something helps you get through it even when it doesn't seem possible."
"Branding myself, as my business supports my community because I'm from The Bronx, I'm black, I'm queer, I'm tall and I represent just being me. I promote and encourage others to be so as well, be yourself."
"I've always wanted to rebel when it came down to it since I am so confident in my work. I believe millennials are facing a lot of issues. I feel more so then ever in today's time millennials need to be more aware when sharing their ideas because people will steal your intellectual property. I advise my peers to post your B and C work and leave your A work to your website and clients. You have all these young creative minds killing themselves for these corporate titles but I always believed when it comes down to it, the corporate world need you more then you need them."
Just DO IT
"My advice to the creative leaders to come is just do it, don't give up, don't listen to anyone else that will change your mind, just do it, remember why you started, take care of yourself and keep a circle of supportive people around."
It was my senior year at the High School Of Fashion Industries and I was one of the first students to intern for credit. I interviewed and was hired at Baby Phat | Phat Fashion and assisted in their showroom located in NYC's Fashion District. I had the privilege of working with the designer Jerome La Maar, when I was eighteen, so it was an honor to sit with him in his gallotique and talk about his businesses located in 'The Boogie Down Bronx.'
The Fabulous Start
"5:31 Jerome was created to fill a void of a lack glamour, shine and fun. We're in the era of the minimalist and 5:31 is the total opposite. It is full of color and embellishments. 9J was created because there is a lack of change within the retail development. 9J, is the merge of a Gallery and Boutique, its a two-fold driven by threads and lifestyle, so I coined the phrase 'Gallotique', which allows 9J to be a place for new artist to show their work and create a platform for all that is new and next; always strong and unique."
"I am at the store everyday from 9AM - 12 AM. My responsibilities as owner is to make sure the lights stay on. What also helps my success is being a workaholic, I love what I do."
"Without sounding cocky, I don't care about my competitors. I currently have regular customers who do repeat business because of the experience they have at my store. I don't compare with my competitors because I don't believe I have any. I'm literally creating and paving my own lane. There is no other designer doing what I'm doing, there is no one who has my story and there is no one who can do it the way I can. I just know what my gifts are, so I like to highlight them."
Unexpected in the Development
"The unexpected process in creating the business was cost and budgeting; making sure the finances were together between inventory costs, store cost and security costs, as well as finding the right employees who are willing to work. I also wish I knew what the consumers wanted ahead of time. It took me five seasons to figure out what 5:31 Jerome's girl wanted, which is street glam. The store 9J, the consumer is driven more by lifestyle then clothing pieces and so we create the soaps and the candles. We create the simple things that people actually can afford."
Overspending is a BIG Mistake
"My biggest mistake was overspending on things I believed were more important, but had no relevance. For example, lining the pockets of my designs in silk, why?! Mistakes like that ate into the budget, I realized - No that's dumb use cotton. It was good because I've learned from my mistakes and now I know how to better merchandise."
"We all fail. Some of the most amazing minds and icons of our time have failed but they won because they didn't give up. I always say no matter how broke I get or how rich I become I am never going to give up on my vision. Some people may not get it, but I am a beast, I am like a Samurai. Honestly, I see myself as a MONK. I will chop off heads, I will chop off limbs, I will chop it off to get to where I have to go, if you're in my way. Failure is going to come but if you know you have a vision and you can create an outcome, good or bad its still an outcome. You have to do it, keep going and preserver through it - never give up"
The Bronx Community
"The store is symbolic to what I always felt The Bronx was. I always felt The Bronx was the best, the greenest, the prettiest. Since we were burning decades ago, we have some of the newest homes and setups. I think it shows its possibilities as long as you don't let anyone tell you its not. You're suppose to be this way or that way from the way you truly are. From the way you talk, from your sexuality, or what ever it is - Screw Them ! Creating your own world that is authentically you, thats what the store 9J represents. It embodies everything. New energy and the authenticity of what The Bronx is. It shows that its possible as long as you don't let everyone tell you to do other things."
"So far its been interesting because we've been trying to partner with some designers. Up until recently they didn't know what The Bronx had to offer. Now they are seeing it on my Instagram, Snapchat and they want a piece of me. We've had Ms. Tina Knowles come shop here, June Amberose and Swiss Beats, who are from The Bronx and are big supporters. Partnerships are starting to flow in and now I get to pick and choose."
"Difficulties I faced when working in the corporate world is the lack of freedom and freedom is important. I can create when I have freedom. I couldn't imagine sitting at my desk for so long and not being able to get up and leave when I wanted to, but, I am also appreciative of structure because it gave me so much"
The Worst Boss
"The worst boss I ever had became my older sister. I was told that I needed to be stronger, and I was a young kid working in that type of corporate fashion environment. I just remember me saying how much I hated her. Now, I am a Samurai, because I was taught to be tough. For instance I was told not to talk to the assistant, you go straight to the top. 'No' is not an answer, it just an option and that is not one of them. She taught me to be tough and I'm appreciative of that experience because now I have thick skin."
Look Beneath the Surface
"The best piece of advice I've ever gotten was from my grandma who told me to always look beneath the surface. You flip and its something way better more dynamic. So now I always see everything with two sides. The worst advice I've ever gotten was from a former business partner who told me to not invite a certain group of people to one of my shows, because it wasn't the image of my brand. That was the worst advice I ever took because I know I would have been further along if I followed my instincts. I don't like excluding anyone."
Nothing is Glamorous
"My Advice to future creators starting out today, is to not worry about your peers. Leaders lead and followers will follow. Nothing is glamorous and you have work for everything you want. Lighten up and don't be too intense and miss out on amazing opportunities because they have no personality. We're in Fashion were not curing people. This industry is meant for you to be engaging, its not that serious at the end of the day and I think people forget that."
A woman who wears many hats, Sara Racey Tabrizi is the Founder of Athleteist clothing brand. Sara and I met four years ago during Po Johnson's video shoot "Do It Again". It was great to talk about her kick ass athletic brand and her perspective on being "humbly cocky".
Mommy, Wife, Model,
"I just got married and had a baby. I still model and act. I was on that lovely show America's Next Top Model (Season 2) and it set the standard for me. Especially, with what Tara Banks said to catapult me to that sexy model. So, I signed with Ford Models and then I signed and I'm currently with Elite Models NYC and Innovative Artists. I've done a bunch of stuff throughout my career but the same with what you were saying to me, you kind of move past that point in your life and you hit a certain age where you want to own and you want to be in charge of your life and destiny.
"If you are a creative person as I was when I was a kid, it just comes to you. Its funny because I've been creating this line way before this athletic boom hit. Right now I'm getting back into shape after having a baby three months ago, back into modeling, acting and branding Athleteist. I love print making. I did a lot of fit modeling and I acquired so much information. I was like an apprentice listening to buyers."
The Consumers Personality
"Athleteist is that athletes personality; that is humbly cocky. You know you're the shit when you have that full adrenaline rush, but humble when you know what it took to get there and how grateful you are to reap its benefits. The brand is in the athletic realm, lifestyle driven. I just interviewed Nate Burleson, the former wide receiver of The Detroit Lions and he just loved it. He kind of embodies what a humbly cocky person is. I created my company with the intent to develop the perfect brand to define who I am. My enthusiasm for sports has never left since my days as an avid basketball and volleyball player in high school and college. As my career in New York City grew I found a common thread with people in the industry who were also true athletes ready to sweat and get dirty. It's not just a brand its who you are. You love your sneakers, your high heels and high fashion. You relish music that motivates you, your career is your passion and so is your sport. You are the Athleteist. "
"My responsibilities as an owner is to figure out cost, competition and create spread sheets of financial and buying analysis. Honestly, habits that have helped me to be successful is being a bull dog and persistent."
Dripping Lip Logo
"This is not my first business I had a brand called Hard on Politics. It was very sexy, with a catchy phrase like 'I'll show you my stimulus package' that sexy undertone with my dripping lips logo, and it was very successful. It catered to a certain type of person. But it wasn't my passion, plus politics got me so frustrated. So I decided to leave it to the other people. I wanted a brand more aligned with me being a tomboy and what I love - athletics. Now while wiping baby drool off my clothes, I've been making them as well. My Athletists premium quality capsule line is in the works and to be released soon."
Mistakes in Market Research
"When I get excited about something I'll spend my money in creating it, without researching and getting people's opinions. I love screen printing and its not that Hard on Politics wasn't successful, I just recall printing too much. So inventory was something I was kicking my own butt financially."
O.P.M + Investors = Finance
"A lot of my own money has went into Atheletist, from work that I've done in commercials as well as considering investors. I don't deal well with failure but I've learned when it comes to investing in your business, make sure it's with other people's money. "
Know Your Market
"Advice that I can offer entrepreneurs starting today is: know your market and know it well, understand your business and how to explain its mission clearly within three seconds, and have a lot of self confidence."
Céline Bossart, is a freelance spirits and travel journalist/media consultant and creator of THE STAYCATIONERS, an editorial hotel review series on tastethestyle.com. We both had the privilege of attending the Fashion Institute of Technology and surviving the campus dormitory life in the center of NYC.
"For about two and a half years, I ran the digital media at a luxury concierge firm, which gave me a lot of creative freedom and indirectly ushered me into the world of lifestyle bloggers and journalists. About a year into that, after I’d attended a bunch of great events and met so many amazing people, I was inspired to do my own thing on the side, and Taste the Style asked me to come up with my own series, so that’s how THE STAYCATIONERS was born. Now, I spend my time consulting/freelancing and running the series in my spare time."
A Hotel Review Series
"I met Cyndi Ramirez (founder of Taste the Style) at an influencer brunch in late 2014. We stayed in touch and I ended up writing a cocktail piece for the site, and right after that was when she suggested I ideate my own series. I came up with THE STAYCATIONERS that same day, and the rest is history."
Your Brand In Three Words
"That’s hard! I would like to say “genius,” but I’d be half kidding. Hmm...probably fierce, aspirational, and endearingly bougie.".
Responsibilities As Series Creator
"I pretty much do a bit of everything, from establishing partnerships with hotels and brands and scheduling shoots, photographers, and guest staycationers (often bloggers, influencers, or models). I also write most of the actual stories, too. I’m lucky to have an amazing business partner, Cyndi; she does a lot of the planning and execution with me and the two of us together are pretty unstoppable."
A Motto To Live By
"Be nice, have good taste, and get shit done."
"The world needs less bigotry and hatred, above anything. We’re very lucky to be in an industry filled with creative, kind people who have open hearts and level heads...I’ve felt throughout the course of this election (and everything that’s followed) that most of the people around me are cut from the same cloth in terms of just being general proponents of the protection of basic human rights. You could call it a bubble, especially since we live in a very progressive city (New York), but I do wish everyone in the world could be on the same page when it comes to this subject."
Biggest Sacrifice Running Your Own Brand
"Time. I don’t sleep much. I’ve always worked relatively full time (whether I’m in-house or freelancing), plus I contribute to a number of magazines and outlets, so between work, freelance writing, running THE STAYCATIONERS, and saving room for socializing, I give up sleep to make time for everything."
"For me, success is making lots of money and working less than you had to in the beginning."
Learning From Mistakes
"Definitely. I learned from my very first job that if you stop giving a fuck about something, don’t bother doing it anymore. Knowing this has helped me focus my energy on things I actually do care about."
Your Greatest Success
"I’m really proud of what THE STAYCATIONERS has become. It’s at a point now where I’ll be sitting at an airport gate waiting for a flight and in small talk, someone mentions that they follow/read the series. That actually happened. So surreal!"
Go-To Pick Me Up
"After a long day of work I enjoy watching Netflix. Also, anything can be remedied by a good cocktail."
What You Wish You Knew Before You Started
"It’s a learning curve, for sure. But I like the way we’ve done everything and I don’t know that I’d change anything about what I knew or felt or how that influenced the way we did things. I was very starry eyed and hopeful, and slightly naïve probably, and I think that gave me audacity."
Habits that Helped Make You Successful
"It’s more of a feeling than a habit, but passion over everything. And not being afraid to talk to people."
"I don’t really think THE STAYCATIONERS necessarily has a direct competitor. But we do distinguish ourselves by setting the bar REALLY high in terms of our aesthetic and presentation. We don’t put anything out that isn’t beautiful or well-executed. This is what we’re known for, I think -- every time I meet someone who’s familiar with the series, that’s the first thing that’s brought up or complimented. And that means a lot."
Brand Collaborations and The Community
"We’re connectors of brands and of people. Our shoots have spawned lots of collaborations and relationships, and I’d like to think that we entertain people to some degree. That’s the whole idea of media, at the end of the day."
Side Hustle and The Corporate World
"I still kind of work in the corporate world by day, but it’s different because I do so on a freelance/consulting basis. I struggled for a long time to find a rhythm that allowed me to continue my side hustle, but I’m in a good place now. I discovered that all I ever wanted or needed was just freedom."
Best Piece of Advice and Worst
"My dad once said to me, “If you want something, just take it.” He was joking as it was in response to a comment I made about a cute car I saw on the street, but I think he was half-serious in a broader, more philosophical sense. It could also be considered terrible advice if taken literally, I suppose."
Advice to Offer
"Don’t be basic. Try to ensure that what you’re doing isn’t something that’s already being done. You have to have idiosyncrasy and appeal. Devote your time and energy to things that you actually care about. Your time is valuable. You don’t have to catch up with that random person from college who’s in town if you don’t want to, so if you’d rather stay home and work on something or treat yourself to some alone time, do that. It took me a long time to get over always feeling obligated. Also, network smartly."
Amber and I met at The High School of Fashion Industries when I was coming to the end of my senior year. After transferring high schools, I ended up in a 'spanish language' freshman class. Not an ideal situation for a soon to be graduate. At the time she was a freshman, full of energy and willing to help. Still to this day I recall her gratitude for showing her the ropes at the tender start of her career. Her vibrant spirit helped my experience be painless as I cruised through the course, and also gained a great friend. It's always great to see how you can impact others. While, also reflecting on how others have moved you.
Who is A.V.
My name Is Amber Veronica Wayans, but I prefer to go by A.V. . I am an artist, painter, model, actress and creative director. I believe that art isn't limited to any particular medium. As a painter, I work with acrylic on canvas but hope to be leaving that medium soon.
Art to me is the very essence of my being. I think that if we look at it on a base level I am Gods creation so within me is the desire to create and take part in the arts. Art is a cleanser of the mind and spirit because it forces humans to be present to think but more importantly to feel. Art has been my education it is the way I've learned to study and understand other people. To me art is another form of communication and it isn't limited to words, pictures, or music notes.
Fire, Believer, & Lover
If I was asked to describe myself in three words it would be fire, believer, and lover. I have a very big flame and at certain times if you reach out and touch me you will get burned. Also, my temper can be a bit wild, but I am learning to tame that. But, that fire isn't always a bad thing, it tends to draw people near. Allowing me to purify the hearts of others who come into my life looking for a healing. But that is the very essence of my name - Amber, it's the color of fire described biblically in Ezekiel. I'd say believer, because if you have one conversation with me what you will learn is this woman loves and believes in God, The Lord of Heaven's Armies. That is what comes first in my life. It is basically impossible to have a conversation with me and not hear about how my day or week has been impacted by the power of God, whether it be a spiritual experience or a physical one. I used to be shy about my faith because of all the backlash on religion. But, if I kept it personal I'd never have the opportunity to share the wisdom gained in my relationship with Him. Lastly lover, Gosh - I love big, hard, and long. Most of my friends I've had in my life as long as I've been alive and unless we met in college we've been friends for close to ten years or more. I believe in maintaing relationships, living from my core and showing people they are loved. I am nostalgic so memories are everything to me, I live to make a memory I can't forget with a person I love. I am extremely loyal and stand by the sides of those that I love. I'm learning I can't make everything right and it is important to also be loved back. My heart is so big I often forget I need to feel love too.
The Human Experience
Some of my biggest responsibilities as a creative, is staying creative! That can be hard because like in many things you may fall into a dry spell and just aren't inspired. I've learned not to wait to be inspired but to go out and find it. Have conversations with people, go to the art store, just walk around and work in another creative field until it hits me. Staying productive is a huge responsibility. Also, creating work that means something. I never want to be a fad or a short lived moment in time. The type of work I'm drawn to is a reflection of the human experience and so my work can't be aimless.
I don't think I have a personal motto, there isn't something I say often enough. If I did, it might be don't be afraid to fail, failure is just saying you did it but the strategy wasn't the right one. Find a new strategy, redo the plan. I used to be so terrified of failure so I didn't try at anything, at school, relationships and at my art. The thought of, WHAT IF I SUCCEEDED?! Then I'd have to live with the fact that this 'potential' that everyone saw in me was real. Then I'd have to live with the fact that, I was great. Do you know why it's harder to be great than it is to be mediocre? Because the mediocre circle is so big you're never alone. But to be great you have to stand alone and that is hard to do
Human Body Sketches
I started drawing when I was about five, my sister used to draw clothes and I used to draw just to be like my sister. I wanted to be as good as her but clothes didn't compute with me. I remember I loved art class in elementary school and when it came time for middle school I wanted to go to a school for the arts. I painted a bird in the seventh grade and I remember being so into it I used to get into this zone when I was painting. I couldn't hear or see anyone when I was working. In high school it was different I felt everyone was good at their craft. When I studied at The High School of Fashion Industries and majored in art, I swear there were some masters of their craft in my classes. My senior year I had this professor Dr. Seunarine and she definitely pushed me in a way no other teacher did before. She made me better. She made me look for the answers to my own questions, research, and do the work. A well known fact about me is that I'm lazy so I've always needed someone on my back to push me in the right direction. During a last minute effort to take my art to the next level, I discovered my style except I didn't know it was my style yet. I decided to focus on parts of the human body for my assignment and little did I know I'd want to focus on the human body experience as the subject of my work for the duration of my life.
Millennials, Success & The World
I think right now the world needs to focus less on how things look and get to the root of things. The millennial generation is so built up on perception of success. Success to me is not defined by how much money I make but by the purposeful things I accomplish and create. That including a family. For me success is being a good mom, wife, friend, boss(one day) mentor,etc. Proverbs 14 v 1, says 'a wise woman builds her home'. That is success to me.
Go-To Pick Me Up
Besides taking off my bra I either lay in bed and listen to music or watch whatever TV series I'm into. Right now I'm bouncing between How To Train A Dragon and Royal Pains.
Learning From Mistakes
I wouldn't call my last relationship a mistake however I learned so much following. During my last relationship I had a miscarriage and it led me to develop the art project I'm working on currently. It's called the when you're 'Hurting Project', it is for women by women. I realized after my miscarriage that my experience was very physical and I relied on my body to help me heal from the outside in. The project focuses on the positions that comfort a woman when she is hurting. I photographed different women with different stories in the positions that they go to when they are hurting. Now I wouldn't say my child loss or a relationship was a mistake but it wasn't the time and if I gained anything it was a platform to talk to women about serious issues so we can identify healing and know how to seek it out when we are hurting. The point of my work is that we all have a human experience and as much as we are searching for love we are searching for healing. By doing what I do and going through some of the things I have, I consistently think 'how can I shed light on this'.
The Greatest Experience
I believe my greatest experience so far in terms of my craft has been giving up everything in my life for it. I mean quitting my job, going into complete isolation and creating an entire body of work. That is my greatest success thus far. I am doing it - I am an full time artist. I mean it's that simple. My work isn't about sales for me it's about impact and in order to impact anything I need to be doing it so here I am.
A Creative Business
The first thing I would suggest to a person who's starting a creative business is to have a strategy. Winging it hard, is nearly impossible. Talk to people in that field. Also have a core group of people you can troubleshoot with when you run into problems. Have a solid core of friends who are in it with you emotionally to pray for you and with you when it gets hard. Also, become good friends with your local winery! But if it is for money rethink it because money is like wind it comes and goes, so your purpose must remain the same.
Workspace & Inspiration
I actually hate that my work space is in my room because it messes with the vibe of my home life. If I had to pick a favorite thing, about my space it's seeing the accumulation of my work in the corner. So when I look around my room I see it right I front of me. I am working, I am a progressive, functioning member of society and it keeps me going in a way because I want more. I can't wait to add to my catalog, the work I have yet to produce is taking up space in the walls of my mind. My go-to for inspiration is conversation with friends. Like I said before, as a creative you need core groups of friends who are creative, who in a way have surpassed you so when you talk to them you see things in new perspectives. It always excites me about my work and where I am. I feel refreshed and renewed so I really am grateful to my friends who take care of me in this way I really love and appreciate them. A big creative thank you to Carly, Curtis, Mia, Cito, Blanko, Mr. Damis, Jelissa, Dija, Kai, Jo-Cline Dante, and so many more.
Creative Rut Remedies
When it comes to my work I need music. It locks me in. I may pick a song or an album and listen to it for eight hours straight. I remember I listed to Sam Smith's Nirvana Ep for an entire day as I worked. It was the perfect moment my emotions were completely attached to EP and I was so present in that moment. I need music it feeds me. Some days it's early 2000s R&B or sad break up music, Kirk Franklin, or Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton. The point is music moves me and my brush.
I think my style is different from other artists because of my line work. I've seen others with similar styles but our stories are different and our styles stand apart in a room. I am a mix of contour line drawing and kind of hatching. I used different types of lines to create the whole image working with the negative space. It's the way I see and no one in the world shares the exact same perspective.
Desires & Dreams
My desire is to get into philanthropy work with children In the next 2 years I will be attending a teaching program hopefully this fall in order to learn how to accurately curate the lessons for the types of children I want to work with. I don't want to give to much information away just yet but every project I work on is for the public in a way that should closely hit home for its observers.
Words of Advice
I was working at a clothing store part time and still managing 36 - 40 hrs a week. I was also going to school full time and trying to balance curating other people's projects as well as starting to develop my own. Unfortunately, I was never painting. I barely produced any work. I had ideas but was too tired to get in front of a canvass. I don't believe I picked up a pen for a whole year outside of doodling when I was in class. I think if you're going to have a corporate or retail job you have to find something close to what you want to be doing on a creative level, so you are inspired enough to do your own thing when you come home at night. My love fuels me. My faith in my God. My belief in my purpose. The most simple way to put it is that I love God and so I put my faith in him and I found my purpose where he was and if I really believe what I believe is real I will keep living my life in a way that exemplifies my creation. That which is created(me) so I should create. I believe I am here to shed light on the human experience and that is what I will do.
Bre and I became friends during our tender beginnings at Fashion Institute of Technology. It was our freshman semester when I remember meeting Bre in the lobby of our dormatory; Coed Hall. She was sweeter then apple pie as she spoke about racing with her horse back at home. With a background in design, it's a pleasure to reunite with an old friend and speak about her equestrain line branded, Bre Avery.
Accessories, Apparel & Home
My name is Bre and I eat, sleep, and breathe design. I started with accessories and I am just expanding into apparel. I began my career in apparel so I’m very excited to be getting back to that. My designs are kind of like children. I put everything I have into them. They define me. If someone asked me to describe “Bre Avery” in three words those words would be; modern, edgy, and vibrant
I strive to make items that look good on every body, every shape, every age, and everything.
Do what you love and the money will come. It’s so important to be passionate about what you do. If you work hard and keep at it, you’re going to be a success.
I first learned about textile design when I was fifteen. I was taking an art class with someone who ended up being a very good friend and mentor to me, Herbert Reichert. I told him I didn’t want to go to college for art, but I wanted to do something with design. He told me to look into F.I.T’s courses and textile design really stood out to me as something unique.
The World: needs more of? Or less of?
The world unquestionably needs more kindness and sympathy and less judgement and negativity.
Meaning of Success
Success to me is owning my own company, being my own boss, and choosing happiness above all else.
Favorite Thing to Come Home to
Definitely my dog, Pippa! She is always so happy to see me and that makes any difficult day instantly better.
Mistakes Leading To Success
Oh absolutely. I truly believe you can learn from every single mistake you make. The key is to get past being frustrated and let that go so you can move on and learn.
The first time I saw my wallpaper installed in someone’s home. I was so astounded that someone I didn’t even know would want something I made hanging in their home like that. It’s so much more permanent than your wardrobe or accessories. It’s very impactful to see one of your designs where someone spends every single one of their days.
The internet. You can find suppliers, manufacturers, inspiration, mentors. You can find anything you could possibly need!
Style & Design
I strive to interpret printed designs in a way that is fresh and unexpected, while pairing that with a clothing or apparel item that is very versatile. For my most recent collection, I created deconstructed, digital snake prints and put them on pencil skirts.
Your Company & The Community
A percentage of all my proceeds are donated to animal rescues. My favorite organization is called Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue. They help rehome and retrain retired racehorses and they do such a wonderful job.
Difficulties I faced working in the corporate world … all of it. I really, truly hated the corporate world. Unfortunately the majority of my bosses were stifling, rude and suppressing. I tried to make the most of it and was able to find some really amazing coworkers in every job I held. The other downside was the pay in fashion really is not there. It’s hard to support yourself and live in New York City on the salary people expect you to work for. I actually ended up leaving fashion and working for an internet company to make enough money to launch my own business.
Biggest Lesson Learned Owning a Business
Learning to believe in myself and what I am doing! I really had to force myself to believe in myself. I faked it. I struggled. I had a very hard time and once I got over that I really started to flourish. It’s very difficult to choose to be your own best friend instead of your own worst enemy, especially if you hold yourself to impossibly high standards.
Go-To for Inspiration
Pinterest! I could get lost for hours on Pinterest, and I routinely do when I’m just not feeling very creative. That wealth of visual imagery really helps pull me out of a rut and get inspired again.
Concept & Idea for Business
It really came down to a succession of things. One of my professors my senior year at F.I.T insisted I try to start my own business. I didn’t take it too seriously at the time. After that, my first boss told me the same thing and then I started to really consider it. I spent the next few years building up a library of designs and brainstorming what my first collection should be. It wasn’t until I met my fiance, Michael, that I actually made the leap. He really pushed me (in a good way) to hurry up and get started.
Words of Advice
Ask a ton of questions. Don’t be scared to start conversations. Don’t settle for less than your perfect vision. Insist on quality. Never, ever, ever give up. You’re going to encounter people that tear you down, that don’t believe in you, that speak ill of you, but keep on going anyway!
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