With the rise of more and more black women breaking away from traditional 9-5s to become their own bosses, the CEO is getting a revamp as the SHEeo. CEOs are forging their own paths, blazing their own trails, and turning their passion into a profit. Curious to know how she does it? In the Meet The SHEeo series, we talk to melanated mavens leveling up and glowing up, all while redefining what it means to be a boss.
After working several corporate buying jobs, Jasmene Bowdry was tired of going to an unfulfilling 9-5 job, so she stepped out on faith and in 2016 launched SHIFT StyleHouse— a fashion brand offering versatile looks for the modern day Renaissance woman on the go. Using her background as a retail buyer and fashion stylist, Bowdry has built a platform that's empowering women through style. She recently launched her collection inside The Market at Macy's in Atlanta's Lenox Mall.
In this week's feature, meet Jasmene Bowdry of SHIFT StyleHouse.
Courtesy of Jasmene Bowdry
Title: CEO & Founder of SHIFT StyleHouse
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Year Founded: 2016
# of Employees: 1
30-Second Pitch: SHIFT StyleHouse is a fashion platform offering versatile fashion for the modern day renaissance woman. SHIFT is powered by love and determination to empower women through style.
What inspired you to start your brand?
After working several corporate buying jobs, I still felt unfulfilled and like I wasn't walking in my purpose. I didn't know how things would turn out after launching. I simply knew I was a lover of fashion and loved seeing the confidence women exuded when they got dressed up, so I stepped out on faith and made my fashion dreams come to life.
What was your a-ha moment that brought your idea into reality?
I always assumed starting a business was an excessive amount of money, but once I began to research I realized it wasn't and since I had a background of being a retail buyer and fashion stylist, I was like, 'Oh I can totally do this!'
Who is your ideal customer?
Her name is Jurnee. She is a modern day renaissance woman on the go. She's shifting throughout the day and night and she needs versatile fashion pieces that move with her. From kids' soccer games, to brunch with the girls to date night, she's got style, class, a schedule, and NO TIME to change in between it all.
What makes your business different?
My business is different because I really keep my customer (Jurnee) top of mind. Everything is focused on her lifestyle and what she needs. From assortment decisions, to pricing, etc, she is top of mind. So I would say my business is different because it is customer-focused versus focusing on the latest trends.
What obstacles did you have to overcome while launching and growing your brand? How were you able to overcome them?
Lots of obstacles will come when growing your brand. My biggest was resources. When I first launched I used my salary from my 9-5 to fund my business. But then I was let go and had to still make it happen without that additional income. You get real creative (laughs).
What was the defining moment in your entrepreneurial journey?
The defining moment was my brand launching in Macy's new pop-up format, The Market @ Macy's in Lenox Mall (in Atlanta). Just to have that presence and awareness speaks volumes.
Where do you see your company in 5-10 years?
The ultimate goal is for SHIFT StyleHouse to be a global fashion empire that allows customers to shop online and in-store for black owned brands.
Where have you seen the biggest return on investment?
My biggest ROI is vending and ads. Vending is great because it allows for you to engage and interact directly with your consumers and potential consumers. They can hear your story and touch and feel the products. I love vending! Facebook and Instagram ads generate approximately 30% of my revenue. It allows you to increase your brand awareness as well as retarget customers who visited your website but did not purchase.
Courtesy of Jasmene Bowdry
Do you have a mentor? If so, who?
Sort of! Although we haven't started our one on one meetings yet (laughs) but Necole Kane which stemmed from our Path To Greater Than experience.
Biggest lesson you've learned in business?
Biggest lesson was to be okay with being uncomfortable. My comfort zone was a six-figure salary at a job I dreaded going to daily. Getting let go was a blessing but I was scared. I had plans to transition to full-time and move to Atlanta. Well, getting let go didn't stop no show. I still moved. I have been going strong for over 8 months as a full-time entrepreneur. I got my brand in Macys. And have amazing opportunities presented to me since moving here that never would've happened had I stayed in my comfort zone.
To keep up with Jasmene, follow her on social media: @jasmenemache and @shiftstylehouse.
Featured image courtesy of Jasmene Bowdry
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For over a decade, Harlem’s Fashion Row has served as a safe space for creatives of color to shine bright without fear of being dimmed. This week, HFR celebrated its 16th year of providing business solutions to retailers committed to equity for Black and Latin-X design talent. This beacon has served as a bridge between retailers and designers of color through collaborations, experiential marketing, pipeline programs, and brand strategy.
Set against the backdrop of the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem, the night was nothing short of amazing as a Black hip-hop orchestra serenaded the crowd with legendary tunes from “Big Poppa” to “Moment 4 Life.” It was pure magic as the scene was set to begin the Style Awards.
Tim Weatherspoon surprised his wife, Kelly Rowland, with a heartfelt speech as he presented her with the Fashion Icon of the Year Award. “I couldn’t pass up this moment to tell you that you’ve always been my icon,” the talent manager said. He went on to share that he scoured social media to pull some compliments from the toughest of critics. Weatherspoon said, “My assumption is that these are good ‘Kelly eats the girls every time. Fire emoji, fire emoji, fire emoji.’’’
As the Destiny’s Child alum accepted her award, she proclaimed her love for “that Black man.” Rowland was full of joy and adoration as she accepted the award, reminiscing on the days when she was a little girl from Texas in a group of country girls where stylists were not jumping at the opportunity to dress them. “Tina took matters into her own hands, and she dressed us. We learned what it felt like to start a trend. I remember what it felt like — the pride in it. I also know that ‘we’ start the trends and ‘we’ make what’s cool, cool. Fashion should be grateful for us.”
L-R: Tamron Hall, Stella Jean, and Brandice Daniel
Then, the incomparable styling duo, Wayman and Micah, took to the stage to receive the Stylist of The Year Award. These two best friends were honored for their creative styling on the likes of Regina King, Tessa Thompson, Taraji P. Henson, Jodie Turner, and so many more. The partners in style applauded HFR’s founder, Brandice Daniel, for creating a table for us. “The table is marble and custom,” Micah exclaimed.
The fashion heavy hitters were absolutely in the building. Gabriela Karefa-Johnson, a New York-based stylist and VOGUE Global Contributing Fashion Editor-at-Large renowned for her eye for emerging designers and her narrative-driven approach to diversifying representation in fashion, accepted the Editor of the Year Award.
Tamron Hall sang the praises of the Designer of the Year recipient, Stella Jean, for being a visionary who not only creates whimsical pieces but takes a stand for what she believes in. “During this pivotal moment, one designer made a courageous and impactful decision. Stella Jean, an Italian-Haitian fashion visionary, took a stand in a bold and powerful move. Stella Jean pledged to return to the runway only when she would no longer be the sole Black designer on the Milan schedule.”
Johnny Nunez, the culture’s #1 photographer, reminded us of the importance of perseverance in the face of rejection while accepting the Photographer of the Year award. Just before his speech, Valeisha Butterfield, Google's Vice President of Partnerships & Engagement, gave Nunez his flowers for always making her feel seen and appreciated, which gave her the determination to be herself and take up space.
A$AP Rocky lit up the historic Apollo stage with his undeniable charm and intrinsic style. Dressed in a cardigan, Louis Vuitton tie, and a voluminous kilt while his head was adorned with embellished hair clips, he was walking proof that he’s a fashion, music, and culture innovator just like the name of the award he was receiving, the Virgil Abloh Award. For this Harlem native, it was a full circle moment as Abloh helped the rapper with his start in the industry years ago when he helped design his first album cover.
Designers Megan Renee, Nicole Benefiled Portfolio, and A. Potts showcased their transformational designs, which varied in style, texture, and color. Megan Renee's designs were inspired by unapologetic femininity. Nicole Benefiled Portfolio's designs were more geometric and modern, with a focus on clean lines and bright colors. A. Potts' designs were eclectic and playful, with a focus on mixed patterns and bold colors. All three designers created unique and eye-catching pieces that turned heads.
The show concluded with a beautiful tribute to hip-hop by the legendary Doug E. Fresh. The entire show was a celebration of all that is good about fashion, and it was a reminder of why the culture continues to inspire and influence people all over the world. HFR’s New York Fashion Week kickoff was a love letter to the culture, and it was delivered with nothing but style, care, and love.
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Feature image by Shutterstock