Appreciating My Authentic Self
Nearly every black kid I knew had had ‘the talk’
You know how people only see your colour , you have to work twice as hard because they don’t believe in you blah blah bloody blah.
I wanted my work to speak for me as I became so tired of having to break through perceptions of who I was instead people simply asking without assuming.
In 2013 I had an intern who was simply fucking amazing.
When she came for her interview, she brought a photoshop project she had done off her own back with one of my images, to demonstrate what she could do.
She was from Lithuania and although white, she had been experiencing barriers to opportunities similar to mine. She worked with me for 3 months, designing my branding, website and also doing photo shoots with me. She truly was brilliant and has since gone into Creative Direction.
I write about her because we were both of the ilk that our work had to speak for us because when people saw us, or heard us speak, they would just be lazy and make negative assumptions. So preferred to keep myself private
I would love to say that I was proved wrong but I really wasn’t. When I would show people my website, or examples of my work, they could not hide their incredulity.
Even one mate said to me “wow, I know you said you made hats but, I didn’t realise you meant ‘Hat Hats!’
I’ve always said I made Special Occasion Hats, I was sold in Selfridges, had Hats at Royal Ascot…but I couldn’t make ‘Hat Hats!?’ I answered with deserved sarcasm.
As I became more reclusive though, the tables were turning slowly but surely.
I had started using Instagram regularly but I found that Posts that featured an image of me got more responses not, my business posts. I realised that people wanted to see me, get to know me and it’s an adjustment I’m working on.
Because it is how people connect. It’s how I determine who I follow or actively search.
From the no bullshit talkers, to the ones I aspire to and most of all, the ones who are on their entrepreneurial journey who are sharing vulnerabilities that I can relate to.
When I really think about it, it is me that people bought into as much as my work.
How I made them feel whilst experiencing the Bespoke Service, Students who would come to wherever I was based to learn Millinery.
I’m not saying be an open book, there are some things that really are nobody’s business. But at the same time, if you are not a cold fish, then don’t post like one, think about what you think your customers will connect with and share something.
You might be pleasantly surprised!