Category Archives: Personal Growth

Leaving the Fear Behind. . .

The Helene Mailer + Boston Mini . . .

The Helene Mailer + Boston Mini . . .

We are well into May . . . well 4 days in to be exact. I have been doing some serious evaluating of my business and business practices the last few weeks. I’ve been working with a wonderful coach, Natalie Gouche, who is helping me put together social media + marketing strategies (among other things) for my business. Last week, we met for an all day intensive, and honestly, it felt more like a therapy session than anything else. I recognized some of my behavior for what it actually was. I’ve spoken about fear before, but I had an epiphany about how I was letting fear dictate my moves and limit my potential. That opened my brain and my senses as to how I was literally letting fear stop me, and honestly, it took a week of sitting with that knowledge to really get the full grasp of it!  I tell you guys, if you don’t have a skill, or you are floundering in your business or even your life, seek out someone who can help you. Seek out someone to either teach you how to get over those hang ups or coach you through it. If you think you may need someone for business, please check out Natalie. She is amazing at what she does. I still have a lot of learning to do, social media is definitely not my strong point… I mean, the word itself says it’s “social,” which is not a word I would necessarily use to describe myself LOL. However, if you want to be in the game, you have to learn how to play it, no? Let me leave you with this thought::

Put fear in the back seat and take the wheel! . . . Better yet, kick fear to the curb, take the wheel, let the top down and fly!!
xx
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Remembering the Why . . .

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Hey guys! I wrote an article for BossMom Nation about pushing through the frustrations of running a business on your own. There’s an excerpt below. Head over to BossMom Nation to read the full article . . !

     As a mompreneur, running a business on a shoestring budget with little to no help is more than a notion. If something goes wrong. . . you have to handle it. Copy machine breaks down? You learn how to fix it or make a run to Kinkos. Materials don’t arrive on time? . . you get on the phone and track them down (and then work extra hard to keep everything else on schedule so there is no trickle down in the production schedule). When orders need to go out to customers you put on your shipping hat and ship them. Vendors need to be paid? Switch over to your accounting hat and get those bills paid. In addition to all the physical things that go on in a business, there is the mental work that takes place throughout the day .. .creative budgeting, creating product + implementing ideas for marketing, advertising, collaborations and even blog posts. Couple all of that with trying to accomplish something meaningful before the kids get home from school, or the baby wakes up from nap time, and things can feel a little overwhelming.

click here to read more!

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Have a great weekend!

10,000 Hours . . . .

10,000 hours 10,000_hours_thelookbookphilosophy.com I’m gearing up to teach a class on vision boards next month. Preparing for the class has lead me to search out some of my old vision boards to use as a reference for the class. Luckily, I have Rob to help with the search and recovery task which is taking place in our black hole of a garage. Last nite when I got home, he had pulled out these boards thinking that they might be what I was looking for (hmmm, looks like someone needs to take my class ☺). These are not vision boards. They are actually what is known as style boards. I had not seen these boards in years. At the start of a new season or project, I create as many sketches as I can relating to the theme or vision for the line. Once I have roughly sketched them out, I select the ones I like best or that resonate the most with me in connection to the theme, and place them on boards and assign style numbers. Then I work to narrow the styles down again until I have the aloted amount of styles I (or the company I am working for)  wants to move forward with. The boards in the first image are from when I first began designing my leather handbag line in 2004 and the boards in the 2nd image are from a freelance project I worked on around that same time. There were about 8 or 9 boards that he found just like these. As I was looking at them it struck me how long I have been working to to build my business.

I personally, have not read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers. Are you familiar with it? I remember my sister telling me about it a few years back. She spoke about some of Gladwell’s ideas of what contributes to a person’s success and one of the things that popped out at me was his 10,000 hour rule. According to Gladwell, (among other things) the key to success in any field, is due in large part, to practicing that specific task for an amount of time equal to or around 10,000 hours. Looking back at these boards, and reminiscing over all of the time, research and energy that I have put into designing and creating products over the years reminded me to think about things a little differently. Sometimes we have a tendency to focus on what we have not accomplished, or what isn’t working, and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be harmful to us IF we are not in tune with, and thankful for, what we actually HAVE accomplished, and what IS working at the moment. I know for myself, the little perfectionist in me tends to dwell on those things that I feel are not working or going as planned. I focus on them because I want to fix them and make them better, but in doing so, I can see that I sometimes have a tendency to overlook the small achievements that have come along the way. All of those lessons, projects, ideas, experience, energy and time work together to create the success that takes place during the journey to “success.”

There really is no such thing as an overnight success. If being an overnight success was an actual possibility, I can tell you that I would not be a very good one. Had certain successes happened for me overnight, I would not have nearly enough viable tools within myself to deal with all of the things that come with whatever that success would look like. It sounds cliche, but I truly understand the meaning of this quote from professional tennis player, Arthur Ashe:: “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is usually more important than the outcome.”

Whatever you are going after, keep going. You’re almost there! (and if you’re not, keep moving forward, at least you are getting closer!). ☺

ayanna_thelookbookphilosophy.com

Taking Points: Is Fashion Racist?

Hosted by: Marc Lamont Hill | Guests: Beverly Johnson; Supermodel | Brandice Henderson-Daniel; Founder & CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row | Julee Wilson HuffPost Black Voices Style & Beauty Editor | Michaela Angela Davis; Editorial Brand Manager @ BET/Image Activist | Shiona Turini; Fashion Market Director; Cosmopolitain Magazine

This in depth interview takes a look at the intricate relationship between fashion, race and culture. There are many points brought to the forefront of this conversation that need to be discussed throughly amongst ALL people in the fashion industry.  More often than not, these issues are pushed aside, which allows things to continue on in the way that they have for years. The video is 30 minutes long, but anyone who loves fashion, wears fashion, purchases fashion (which is basically every one of us) needs to at least be aware, and alert to these issues. I have witnessed many of them myself during my 15 years in the industry, and this is the first time I have heard them all put on the table in a way that searches for solutions as well as a way to educate people on what is really going on.

Girls, let’s keep the dialogue open. Let me know what you think of the video!

Happy Friday!

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Randomocities: Starting Over. With Joy.

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So, you guys already know we spent last weekend in Frisco. Well I can’t tell you what good it did for my soul. For my psyche. It rejuvenated my desire and passion for blogging and design. It helped me to prepare to write this post . . .

On many levels I had a really great summer. We spent a lot of time at the beach. We went camping, hung out a lot with friends and family, ate good food, had a lot of new experiences and made a lot of great memories. Summer was good great! But summer was also not what I had expected. I had seen this summer going so differently for my business in my mind. I had completed the design, sourcing, tweaking and sample prodction of my first new handbag line in 3 years. I had previously received beautiful samples of my factory’s craftsmanship using some of my older styles. I had effectively negotiated production pricing on my own. I had painstakenly spent hours researching trends, sketching, designing, selecting leather swatches and pantone colors for dyeing. I spent precious time designing my hardware and logo closures. I sent numerous notes and directives back and forth via email and UPS to my factory to clarify and revise misinterpretations. Best of all, I had an amazing working relationship with my production manager, Evan. The lines of communication were always open. Didn’t matter the time of day or night. Nor did it matter that Evan was thousands of miles away, in a different time zone, on a different continent. For nine months we communicated back and forth. Sending well wishes to each other’s families for holidays and even weekends. And then, last May, after a lengthy gestation period, all samples were completed, approved and set to be delivered to me via EMS. I had received images of the sample run of bags in 3 color ways and was ECSTATIC. FINALLY!!! My designs had been brought to life!! I could see them . . . I could damn near taste them, I was so excited!!! My website was being revamped and plans were in place for  mini launch parties in two cities. All my friends and associates were asking when the bags would be here. I set tentative dates for photo shoots for the website. I began styling the shoot and looking for models. I was back in my element: Creating beautiful things and gearing up for the best part, setting in motion a way to get those beautiful things to other people. Life was exciting. Wonderful. I was fulfilled. And a little anxious. But happy. And then….

Nothing.

No word from my production manager. No response to my emails. No response to my phone calls. My last email from Evan was a cryptic message back in June, stating that he was in the hospital, having trouble breathing. I began praying for him, and trying to reach out to another contact at the factory that could ship my samples out while Evan was out sick. It didn’t make sense to me that my blood, sweat and energy was sitting in the form of my beloved samples on some cold factory floor, packaged up and ready to be shipped. But NOT being shipped. In a factory of hundreds, there had to be someone else who could ship them to me . . .

I sent emails. I called. I called. I sent emails. I contacted other associates of mine who had vetted Evan and his company to me, and even they were shocked! This behavior was so out of the ordinary for him. It didn’t make sense to any of us. And I still had no answers. To this day I do not know Evan’s fate. I did a lot of praying (which is normal for me.) and then I did a lot of not praying (which is not so normal for me). I shut down. I had worked so hard on this launch and this line since the end of last year. I really felt like I was birthing a baby. There was so much energy put into this. So many late nights, agonizing over decisions, laboring over calculations and re-calculations one moment second guessing my self, the next confident in my decisions. And now, it was almost as if I had seen the ultrasound, knew the sex of the baby and suddenly, there was no baby.

I didn’t blog all summer. I felt lost. I felt sad, yet somehow still hopeful. I know that the hope I have within is a gift from God that keeps me going. Even now, I still have faith that my bags will be delivered to my doorstep. Through it all, even in the darkest moments, I knew I could not stop pursuing this dream. I knew that I could not stop creating, and that I must create again. I can not NOT design. This is something that flows rapidly and passionately through my veins. It is a part of my DNA. I am not living if I am not creating something of beauty in this world.

My trip to San Francisco this weekend was a major player in rejuvenating my passion and desire for designing, blogging and creating. Rob and I had a really great conversation on our drive back. At one point he encouraged me to name, out loud, the things I love to do that make me happy. When I did, I realized that I had not been doing any of them all summer! No wonder I felt lost and sad. I wasn’t creating! I came back from our trip with a renewed sense of purpose and direction for my business and my blog. I’m excited again!!! I have even begun researching for the design of my new line . . . and I am actually thrilled about it! I hope you guys will stick with me on this journey. Even though there have been some rough spots, I can honestly say I am enjoying the process. I’ve seen major growth on my part, as a designer and as a businesswoman. And even moreso, greater trust and faith in God to help me actualize this dream He has given me!  I know there are great things ahead, and I look forward to sharing those experiences with you!!!

xo,

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Randomocities: Today is “B” Day . . .

Katy Perry via “Last Friday Night” video

Okay, so this is what I automatically picture when I think of braces. Nevertheless, I have wanted braces since I was a little biscuit. I wanted braces even when I didn’t need them! Flash forward 30 years and today is the day!! Today I get my braces. No more fashioning faux braces out of tin foil and paper clips. (although I haven’t done that in many years, I still feel some gratification in knowing that now I am about to get the real thing.) I guess nature has a way of giving you what you secretly ask/wish for! Never mind the fact that I am 40 years old now, have adult acne and wear glasses for distance. This is NOT a mid-life crisis!! LOL. Merely another way of “accessorizing”!!

Are there any things you wished for from childhood that you finally received in adulthood?

JU-to-the-LY

Happy Monday guys! I trust you all had fantabulous weekends! I’m still finding it hard to believe we have slipped into July already! But we all know that time does have a way of shifting into overdrive when you are having fun! Anyway, I have some goals for July, and I am listing them here in an effort to stay on track and remain accountable. Just a few small things I want to accomplish this month:

  • Complete 5 new Worn Identity blog posts
  • Go back to waking up early and spending time w/ God first, then starting my day
  • Draw more
  • Begin photoshop/illustrator tutorials
  • Revamp website
  • No soda all month
  • Take more pictures
  • Secure overseas manufacturing
  • Have 4 date nights w/ Rob ♥

Hopefully I am not overdoing my list. I tried to keep it simple, but the list maker in me sometimes takes over. (I have a deep adoration for lists . . . and an even greater appreciation for crossing things off said lists). I was born this way. A good term for me would be “LISTOMANIAC.”  Hey, the word list is the first 4 letters of my last name! Obviously this is no mistake!!!

Well, today I am working on the completion of more drawings and this afternoon I have a dental appointment to get 4 teeth pulled!!! This is the final step before I get my braces put on. I’m a little nervous, but both my Mom and my brother had it done before they got their braces, so I know I will be fine. Besides, when I get back home, I get to cross that off my list!!! ☺

Thankful Thursdays: Growth

Happy Thursday friends!  It has been at least a week since my last post, but I thank you for hanging in there with me. My plate is definitely full, and so are my days. Yet, I feel so blessed with the things God is placing in my lap. Slowly and steadily the vision for my business is becoming a reality and I see myself stepping up to the challenges and turning my goals and dreams into reality. It feels great!!! . . . and somewhat scary. I guess it is just fear of the unknown, and the fact that I like to think I am in control. I am learning everyday that I actually have more control of things when I do my part to the best of my abilities and then release it. Pretty simple when you think about it. Yet hard for a perfectionist/control freak to continuously grasp! :) However, I do see myself changing into the woman I have always known was somewhere deep inside. So, today I am thankful for growth, and the recognition of it.

What are you thankful for today?

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