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
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Exclusive: 'Praise This' Producer Will Packer And Director Tina Gordon Pulls For Non-Traditional Audiences With Film
Praise This has a uber-talented cast helmed by the multi-hyphenate Chloe Bailey. But before the cast, filming, and other things came to play, it started out as a vision from executive producer Will Packer and director Tina Gordon. In our exclusive interview with the visionaries, Will shares that when he received the screenplay, he knew that Tina would be the perfect person to make the script come to life.
"She and I were so aligned in terms of the mission of this movie. We said that we wanted to make a movie that if you were [a] traditional, staunch, church type of person who believes that church should fit into a box, that we were gonna blow that out. That this wasn't the movie for you," Will says. "We wanted to make a movie that was for that non-traditional audience that is open to a church movie. You get that audience in by mashing up gospel with Drake, and with Beyoncé, with Cardi [B]. That's how you do that, and so you come in for the music, and you stay for a powerful story; Tina understood that."
He continues, "And so when I thought about who could helm this, the project was originally pitched to me by an amazing young executive named Antoine Jenkins, and I knew I wanted to do this praise movie in this world, Tina was the right one. I was really hoping she would say yes, and when she did, we were off to the races."
Watch Will's full interview below:
Executive Producer Will Packer Shares How Film Appeals To All Walks of Life
Tina, who directed films like Little, expresses her excitement about working on the Peacock film.
"Will sent me the script, and I had been like circling doing a musical. I hadn't really done something music-driven since Drumline, and so I was excited about the idea of showing gospel choirs, praise teams, specifically 'cause I thought that it would just be a really, just new facet of our culture to show," Tina explains. "And once I kinda nailed down the personalities of the praise teams and how they would be just a little funny, a little bit of a wink and a nod to church culture, I kinda got it, and I was ready to go."
Tina hopes audiences are surprised and inspired by Praise This and wants them to walk away feeling uplifted.
Watch Tina's full interview below:
Praise This is available on Peacock.
Director Tina Gordon Wants Audiences To Be Surprised By Her New Film “Praise This”
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Feature image by Terence Rushin/Getty Images