creatives in business

AKELA HUDSON DESIGNS

AKA AKELA

Ash + Oak Floral Women in Business

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.

Ash + Oak Floral Women  in Business

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.

Ash + Oak Floral Women in Business

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.

Ash + Oak Floral

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!

Ash + Oak Floral

WHERE TO FIND AKELA:

WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

WORKSHOP

TIPS FOR CREATIVES IN BUSINESS

TIPS FOR CREATIVE BY ASH + OAK
  1. Find your brand and stay true to your brand. This wont happen right away but once you know, you will know. It’s like saying “yes to the dress”.

  2. Community over competition. Working together will help you learn more and be inspired. Don’t copy others but talk with other creatives in your field. It feels great to share your experiences, and hear others. Find someone to mentor, this will help you develop your skills and make you feel great about yourself. I wish someone would have taking me in when I was starting.

  3. Try new ideas and don’t hold back. Push yourself, it will only help you find your niche. If you don’t try it you wont know. But don’t try too many things you get are sinking.

  4. Hire professional to do the things you don’t know how to do. At the begin you may not have money, so do it yourself. Once you have a little money outsource as much as you can. This will leave so much extra mental space in your life to focus on what makes you happy, creating.

  5. Take breaks when you feel burned out. If you don’t you will run yourself into the ground. Pick a day, a few hours or a month to do something just for you. I take at least one vacation or a month off in January each year. At the end of the wedding season I live for my time off and turning my email on vacation mode.

  6. Network. Duh, but it’s true. I am not a social person unless I am with my friends but once I went to a few events and pushed myself it slowly became easier and easier. Now I can walk into an event and socialize, maybe meet one client or at least be inspired by the others in the room.

  7. Do not devalue your work. We need to make sure we are getting paid for all of our time. We often are quick to give a discount just to get a client but in reality we aren’t doing ourselves or our business justice. If another client comes your way and you know they can’t afford you (as I can’t afford myself) but you love them and really want to work with them, maybe give them a discount in exchange for total creative freedom or social media content. I suggest creating a budget for the year. Only offer so many discounts or a number of discounts. Once you hit your quota you are done for the year.

  8. Timing. Do not get down on yourself if your plan is not going accord your timeline. Sometimes things happen over night but not always and not for everyone. We get lost and want everything to happen right away because Instagram lives seem so easy. Your business may not be going the way you want it but maybe your personal life is or vice versa. We can’t have it all.

  9. Be good to your body. Most of us creatives we use our hands, our feet, and we stand or sit for long periods of time. We need to take breaks and stretch, replenish our bodies with food and water. Don’t wake up in 20 years, where you can’t lift a paint brush because of carpool tunnel. Stop and focus on what your body needs at all times.

  10. Find something that always gets you in the grove. I listen to Bon Iver every time I am having a block, hungover or another rough day. As soon as I play Bon Iver the juices start flowing. It’s my starter song. Once I am in the mood I switch to electric dance for a wild colorful wedding or 70’s rock for a boho themed wedding, find your thing. If you don’t like music maybe it’s a cup of tea or 10 minutes of meditation. Find a go to, to keep you inspired.

Thanks for letting me share my tips for creatives. I hope this helps a few of you wild and out of the box thinkers.

Established 2014 in Oakland, California