When did you start your business or career?
I started back in 2017, it was my therapy while I was recovering from my chronic pain issues with my back. It came together through my passions: art, design, vintage. I didn't really know where it was going to go but I knew I had to give it my all.
What do you do?
The last few years I have been building my brand as a designer & stylist mainly focusing on home decor and design but this year I'm going back to my roots as an Artist. I enjoy the freedom to create as I wish which and connect to a greater purpose. I'm enjoying the process
Who inspired you or what inspires you?
For me, it's a combination of various sources, but it usually boils down to nature and spirituality. Being mixed race I noticed I have so much inspiration from my backgrounds, my mother's German culture, and my father's African-American and Southern roots. I like to think of myself as a visual storyteller, telling my truth and connecting with others.
A struggle you face in your business?
I have a difficult time running my business like a business. I find myself doing things for free, charging less than my worth and balancing the financial aspects of it all. A lot of this comes down to my personality but over the years I have gotten better about finding my voice. This year I am intentionally focusing on running my business in the most efficient way to create a sustainable income from, I owe it to myself and other creatives that have been told they cannot earn a successful living from following their passions.
Have you stay true to your brand (career) or have you changed it throughout the years?
I didn't realize that in the beginning, I was creating a brand and not a business necessarily (which I believe are different) I originally focused mainly on intentional home decor and what that means to each individual. I had success with getting my creations in stores, doing events and styling using the akela designs brand. This was great but I lost myself in the mix.
Something that scares you?
Being Successful. I know it sounds strange but I think the idea of being where I've always dreamed of reaching is kinda scary. It's a good scary.
Who would you like to work with someday? Collaboration or Ideal Company.
Ash + Oak (wink, wink), I want to work with others that share a common mindset and outlook on life and business but it's also important to surround myself with diversity. Intention, integrity and connection are pillars in my business life.
How did you come up with your business name?
I went through so many ideas before landing on Akela Designs which is named after my unique name. The name Akela is as diverse I am, which can be traced in Hawaiian, African, Native American and Indian roots. I couldn't think of a better name.
What type of music do you listen to?
I listen to everything! It really depends on my mood, I go from grunge rock to electronica funk to old school rap. Music another love of mine, it can be healing or just plain entertaining.
What’s your morning or work week look like?
It varies from week to week but at the moment I am working on an Artist's residency at Broad Room, which is a non-profit women's art collective in Sacramento. I'm working on honing a consistent schedule to complete goals. I also work from home in my studio.
What do you do to keep your sanity?
Journaling is key for me. My mind is constantly full of ideas, to-do's, previous conversations, and projects that I need to release from my consciousness. I try to write once a day and on days I skip I can definitely feel a difference.
Give one tip or advice to someone who maybe interested in your biz?
Remember to love what you do first and foremost. It gets rough at times on many levels but you need to know why you decided to follow your passion in the first place, this will get you through the busy, exhausting and stressful days that feel overwhelming.
Things you learned the hard way.
Learning to say No. I am a people-pleaser by heart but this does not work well in running a business. Many times I've overextended myself to the point of sheer pain and it was all because I couldn't say no. Not the case anymore, I am in charge of my path, being kind to myself is key.
What is your studio situation?
I mainly work from my home studio as well as my space at Broad Room. I'm still balancing it all out.
Do pay for accounting and other admin work?
At the moment no, but in 2019 this will be a goal. I think getting professional help will be a game-changer so I can focus my energy on what I do best.
Akela’s 2 Questions!!!
1. What's your least favorite thing about social media and why?
Social Media is straight up draining. It can be a beautiful blessing where it connects you with amazing people from all walks of life but it can feel like you're living in a world separate from your own. I truly think it's all about balance and understanding that the 1:1 screen does not define you, it's only an extension of yourself. I'm still figuring it out.
2. Best halloween custom?
Poison Ivy from Batman, hands down! Inspired from the comic not the movie. I had the best time creating my look from scratch. I haven't dressed up in years though, maybe it's time to do it again!