Talking Passion & Fashion at Walsh University
Hello all, Thank you for taking the time to stop by At the Desk!
Last Thursday, I was given the tremendous opportunity to speak at Walsh University on my journey into business ownership, my style, and what its like to go after my passion! I had such an awesome time connecting with the ladies at Walsh University that today I wanted to share with you the questions they asked me and the answers I gave them!
Would you rather be an innovator or a leader?
Both! Entrepreneurship is about innovation! I am always thinking about how I can reinvent the experience for my clients! How can I make my processes simpler, better, more appealing? Where can I add the fun in? So innovation is my thought preset but leadership is my heart! Leadership to me is being able to inspire others to believe & invest in your vision! Naturally, since my business is client based, I am leading my clients and they are entrusting me to lead them! Also leading is about execution, I have to lead the project & those involved with said to the finish line. When I have a fun idea I am leading myself to execute properly. And when you have a team they are depending on you to lead, whether it is through projects or just sheer optimism. I am happy to say that I am both an innovator and a leader!
How does it feel to be in your mid-twenties with your own business? And what obstacles were you faced with while building your business?
Weird! I am only 24 and sometimes it doesn't even feel like I own my own business. Creativity is my passion. Creating for small businesses is something I have found solace and calmness in. And on other days I am fully aware and slightly stressed out running my business. It is a learning curve! I am only about a year into owning my business so everything has a new "fresh" feeling that I want to experience. Ups, downs, sideways, and diagonals!
Being young is one of my obstacles! When I go into any meeting the only option I have is to be prepared and come swinging with the best pitch, with the best client education, with the best coffee date experience! When I started Auden & Company, I kind of just started. I didn't really have a portfolio just one business. I had no credibility even though I had the knowledge. I knew in order to get the portfolio I needed to hustle and win some people over!
Which I did! With that hustle came the balance between side hustle and day job, long nights & early mornings eventually presenting me with the opportunity to attack my business full time!
Being that you have two minority aspects, African American and a woman; how do you feel that these aspects have affected your ability to succeed? (Positively and Negatively)
This for me can be answered in many ways! Automatically my mind goes towards presenting only my best self. Never allowing a slip up especially during meetings! I think media both tv & social, has not presented the black woman in a positive light which is something I might be battling against for years to come. I have gone to meetings and hosted workshops and people are surprised how mature and eloquently I present myself.
When I was figuring out the nitty gritty details of how Auden & Company would run, I made notes of client interactions and on a scale of how professional they needed to be! I struggled with the idea of rather or not I should put my face all over my visual branding or let my work speaks for itself. I didn't want any business to pass me up because I was an African American Woman! I wanted to be judged on the quality of work!
I made the decision to make sure people knew that I was behind Auden & Company! Because I worked day in and day out to continuously grow this business! I knew that the right clients will fall into place! But the fact that I even had to battle with that decision is quite frankly ridiculous and I see that now.
Being a black woman business owner does have its perks, one being that since we are the fastest growing sector of entrepreneurship there is a lot of funding opportunities, for if and when I need to pursue cash injections!
What advice do you have for ladies who dream to overcome a male-dominated workplace?
Would it be cliche if I said create your own! That is just the entrepreneur in me! For those women who may go into an internship or corporate workplace my advice for you is to have a voice! You have the skills and the knowledge to support your position in this workplace. It is so very very important that no matter what you don't lose that anchor to your self-worth in the business place.
Trust your gut! Your gut will tell when to speak up for yourself and your idea and when to sit back and observe! Never let anyone confuse that passion you have and the confidence that supports that passion as bitchy or emotional! Do not be afraid to take a man to the side and say don't interrupt me! A few months back I was reading a study of how much men interrupt women in a business setting! It was appalling. I have been in these situations!
You can stand up for yourself, you can be frustrated when your opinions aren't being validated, you can be so sure of your idea that you defend it!
Always remember to never ever lose your voice or your confidence!
As the founder of Auden & Company, what does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is my foundation! It is creativity! Most importantly it self-expression! Fashion is the stamp I get to put on that day! Going deeper than that, I found my love for branding while I had my fashion blog! I was so intrigued with what fashion bloggers were accomplishing in terms of content creation, audience/brand loyalty, creating their platforms and bringing brands to them! That afterwhile my fashion blogging turned into researching which then led to seeking my first branding internship! Fashion will always be my first true love!
Where and how would you advise women to shop on a budget?
I am a quality bargain shopper! I love Zara because you get quality but at an affordable cost point! Always Always shop with intention! I shop and only purchase if the item can go with a few items in my closet. If you buy to build a wardrobe you find yourself saving money because you have so many combinations that work well together!
I know this may sound like weird shopping advice " be patient " I waited to purchase this dress because I just didn't feel like I wanted to pay full price but it was all worth it when I bought a few months later on Zara's epic sale!
My final advice is to always pick comfort! Comfort equals confidence! Confidence equals a good day!
It was pleasure speaking at Walsh and sharing my answers with all of you! My questions for all of you are What was your favorite question? How would you answer it? I can't wait to read your comments!