Welcome to 2021 with Goddess Directory! After a short holiday break, we're back, ready to tackle the new year, and more invigorated to share new small shops + connect with the creators behind them than ever. If there's anything you're looking to see, feel free to send over your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know on Instagram at @goddessdirectory.
There are just some people that seem like they're doing exactly what they should be doing. So I was surprised to learn that Stylish Sista, an art shop run by Taelor Pawnell & Aaron Fleming, was just started in 2020. Judging by the artwork, stickers, banners, and more that Taelor creates, you'd think that she had been doing this for forever.
Like a lot of people, though, Taelor and Aaron turned the unfortunate situation of being in quarantine into an opportunity be creative, and Stylish Sista was born. Thank goodness for that because a shop filled with empowering quotes, body positivity, and confidence boosters is the exact type of brand we all need right now. Taelor was nice enough to answer some questions about how she and Aaron started their shop, running a business during COVID times, and her goals going forward. Enjoy!
My pick: I just love the All Bodies are Good Bodies stickers because YES!
Q: Let’s start from the beginning. Can you tell me a little bit about the process of starting your business? What made you want to do this and how did you turn your idea into a reality?
A: I honestly have Aaron to thank for the business starting. I was at a really low point during the beginning of quarantine. And Aaron looked at me one night and suggested that I try to draw and use the cricut he gifted me a couple months prior. That first night I stayed up and drew and figured out how to make my first sticker sheet and it’s been non stop ever since! I’ve always wanted to share and sell my art but I never thought that I was good enough or that people would want it (you know all of those bad thoughts that stop you from being great). Turning an idea into reality took a lot of trial and error. We did so much research before actually launching. The hardest part has been just getting out of my own way and being confident in myself and my artwork.
Q: Was there a moment when you felt like this was something that was going to take off and become a success for you?
A: The moment where I knew that this was something that was going to take off was when we first started getting great reviews after our first couple of sales. I was holding my breath but once the feedback was great I felt like I could breathe and we really had something awesome.
Q: What were your friends and family’s reactions to you starting this as a career or a business? Were you nervous to share it?
A: My family and friends have been so so supportive. I was definitely nervous to share it in the beginning because a new business is almost like a newborn in that you want to protect it!
Q: Is this your full-time job? If so, how long did it take you to transition into full-time?
A: This isn’t my full-time job. I still work in advertising at the moment. I’m fortunate that my partner, Aaron, is able to do the shop full time and I’m hoping that I can join him soon.
Q: What do you wish you had known when you first started your brand?
A: I wish I would have known how rewarding it would feel. If I would have known that I would like to think I would have done it sooner. If you are thinking about doing it, seriously just try! I’m not saying it won’t be hard, but selling something that you made and that you are proud of is super rewarding.
Q: Obviously, we’re in strange times right now so I have to ask everyone I talk to - how has COVID-19 affected your business and what are you doing to keep everything going during this time? What can people do to support you and others during all of this?
A: Covid has really just affected our business with shipping. We rely heavily on the USPS and they have been overwhelmed this holiday season. I would say there are a couple things people can do to support. One, continue to shop small. Two, please be patient and understanding with shipping delays.
Q: What tips do you have for people looking to support independent businesses as we head into the holiday season?
A: I don’t have any tips I think other than I really think it’s awesome to support small business, black-owned businesses. There are so many unique items and great shops out there if you look.
Q: Favorite item in your shop currently?
A: This is a hard one. My favorite item in the shop currently is our Smiley Face Nail Stickers! It was a labor of love and I love seeing all the awesome manicures.
Q: What goals do you have for your business going forward?
A: To continue to grow, inspire, and empower people to love themselves. We want to continue to take a stand for black lives and body positivity and create products that amplify and empower people.
Q: Lastly, let’s spread the love. What are a few of your favorite small shops owned by women that you personally shop from?
A: I love this question!
Follow along with Taelor and Aaron:
Shop Stylish Sista
Follow Stylish Sista on Instagram
Like Stylish Sista on Facebook