***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers, business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.
This week, I invite you to spend a few moments getting to know Alissa Nichole. She’s an artist, personal stylist, digital designer and the founder of the newly launched site, GloriJoy.
Name: Alissa Nichole
Launch Date: April 22, 2016
Motto: I don’t get ready… I stay ready.
How did you make the shift from web designer to personal stylist to launching GloriJoy?
Ultimately, the shift was because I needed a change AND more creativity in my life. I taught myself Photoshop and HTML back when I was middle school and, fortunately, was able to make a career out of it after graduating from college. Fast forward to now; that basically means that I’ve been doing the same thing for about 20 years. In a nutshell, I’m grateful but bored.
I was often teased when I was younger for not having the latest, expensive fashions. During my early 20s, my fashion sense changed drastically. After my first real job out of college, I was able to update my look in a way that fit me. Actually, I still didn’t have the most expensive fashions… but I found my sartorial niche through a lot of trial and error. While all of this was happening, someone noticed my “great sense of style” and asked me to dress him for a special event. That led to my first personal styling job. The odd thing is, that I didn’t think too much of it when the job was complete… I went back to the grind as a web designer. I guess it just wasn’t my time yet.
A few years later, I realized that I was really itching for a change. I thought back to my experience of acting as a personal shopper & stylist. I decided to start taking Image Consulting classes at FIT and Personal Styling and Styling classes at School of Style while still working my day job. In fact, I’m still working on building my personal styling business so that it’s something I’ll be able to do full time.
GloriJoy ties into this in a bittersweet way. My grandmother passed away in October of 2015 and I needed an outlet to deal with the grief. In my styling courses and through my fashion experimentation, I realized that accessories are great to really make an outfit POP. I ended up merging the two ideas together. I wanted to keep my grandmother’s memory alive but I also wanted to create something stylish and useful.
So here we are. I love the creative high… and I love challenging myself. Each of these things (design/styling/jewelry) are most definitely connected creatively… but the challenge had been how been figuring out how I can pave my own way with them.
What are your go-to resources for building and managing GloriJoy?
I’m the type of person that wants to do EVERYTHING myself but I’ve been learning that for my sanity and to save time, I need to outsource. Since I have a background in web and graphic design (specifically in e-commerce), I’m able to build my own web pages and design advertisements for GloriJoy fairly quickly… but my secret to saving time is this: I use Fiverr to get a lot of things done. Something broken on my page that I don’t want to spend hours digging through code to fix? Fiverr! Need to vectorize some images? Fiverr!
I also ask my mom for help, being that she’s also a creative and she understands the direction I’m moving in.
I’m also a big fan of Google and YouTube. Many times I have an idea for a new technique or project and I want to see if it’s already been done, so I can either learn the proper way or pioneer it. I also make sure to keep active in certain Facebook groups, mostly geared towards blogging, style, e-commerce and travel. It helps me keep up with the latest news, trends and also gives me the opportunity to connect with fantastic people.
Lastly, the kindness of strangers has been a HUGE resource for helping me to build and manage GloriJoy. Being that I’m do-it-all-yourself type of person, this is all very new for me. Earlier this year, I set out to find my tribe and ended up connecting with a lot of like-minded women. They’ve been super nurturing and just generally super awesome and just started promoting, supporting and helping with GloriJoy straight away. I’m very grateful for that.
How does your Brooklyn love inspire your creative life?
Brooklyn is such a huge melting pot of cultures… there’s so much to see, do and experience. I refer to Brooklyn as gritty but pretty… you have concrete, sharp lines and tall buildings but then you have colorful graffiti, green spaces, warm and welcoming nooks. I absolutely love that special contrasting nature that Brooklyn has. Here’s where the “but” comes in: While living in and loving Brooklyn has inspired my creative life, I would also say that it’s more me wanting to explore life beyond Brooklyn. I’ve been a lifelong Brooklyn resident and sometimes a change of scenery is necessary for me.
I grew up in Farragut Houses, where my grandparents lived… definitely gritty. The pretty part of all of this was that I spent a lot of time in my maternal grandparents’ care while my mom worked and went to school; they were a big influence on my life. My grandfather was very handy and sometimes a little creative with his fixes; my mom and I still joke about him saying “put a piece on it” when it came to fixing things. I’d like to say that’s where I get my ability to find creative solutions for my work. My grandmother, is the reason for GloriJoy (Gloria Joyce). She was a seamstress… and more than that, she encouraged my creativity and was very instrumental in me reaching higher heights. Both of my grandparents were.
Being an only child, I happily used my imagination, and that imagination often led me to wanting to explore. I’ve wanted to travel since I was a little girl. I’m not quite sure where I got the travel bug from, but it bit me BIG TIME. I haven’t been EVERYWHERE (yet), but every new place I visit gets me even more curious about the different cultures, food, flavor and music that’s out there. There’s so much more out there to learn about and explore.
What are you learning about the GloriJoy community?
The GloriJoy community is the world… it’s global. Like the world, it’s full of people that are unique and different… and their style reflects that. But this particular community really appreciates things that are a bit off the beaten path. It’s like when you’re having one of those moments where you’re feeling weird and you say to yourself, “Am I the only one that likes XYZ?!” and the response is, “No! You’re not! We’re right there with you!”
I feel like some of my pieces have an extremely personal aspect to it, and I like to think that when someone admires or purchases a piece, they just “get it”… in the sense that they understand the memory, feeling or emotion the piece captures and they’re able to connect it to something in their life.
What do you like, hate and love about launching a new business?
What I really love about launching a new business is the feeling of accomplishment that comes on after the launch. You’ve spent months getting everything together, learning, researching and now the big day finally comes… how exciting! And I’m not even talking about people coming up to you, patting you on the back and telling you congratulations… I’m really talking about that inner satisfaction where you’re just blown away that you just pulled off something so huge.
The thing I hate about launching a new business is that sometimes your expectations don’t match up with reality. You expect to make certain numbers, you expect for certain people to purchase from you, you expect for everything to run smoothly and sometimes none of those things happen. But that’s something I have to work on for myself… letting go of my expectations.
When I mix the love/hate aspects of launching a new business, I realize that I really like learning, even though it can be stressful. I feel like after the launch is when the real work begins; you may see that eventually you want to (or need to) implement new ideas or go in a different direction and it’s your job to figure out how to get there. Then the question becomes, “What do I do next?” Basically, you’re launching your business several times over, if you really think about it.
This is your chance to shout out to the GloriJoy collaborators and supporters – don’t be shy!
My mom. She’s the OG of jewelry making in my life and introduced me to wire wrapping. She also helps me out a lot with some of the production aspects of GloriJoy.
My cousin Dawn, who is beyond supportive and is always there when I need her… she keeps me crazy and sane at the same time.
Amber (of the Fab Life Project), Danielle (of She Dares), Veronica (of Black Adventuristas) for showing up as their authentic selves for the first ever GloriJoy photoshoot… and also being an inspiration to never stop being a boss. They are my crew of lady bosses!
Kim McCarter, my business coach. She’s been working with me on developing my personal styling business but she drops some gems that can be applied all across the board.
Ayanna Dutton, who has been helping me with my marketing strategy. She gave me food for thought, which has been a life saver!
Megan Elle Mason, a fabulous event planner. Big thanks to her for providing encouragement, allowing me to bounce ideas off of her and giving me some great ideas as well.
Patrice of Looking Fly On a Dime, for being a huge GloriJoy supporter and inspiring me to level up.
Zaida Grunes (of Taproot Organics) and Sabrina Espinal (of Sabrina&Company)… I’ve watched these two ladies from a distance… and have asked questions on occasion and they’ve come through with answers! They are totally badass and inspirational.