I usually tell this story and get a good gasp or two, but I started my company at 15 years old. [insert unsure shrug here] It was, at the time, one of my many new hobbies that I picked up. I had a lot of idle time, a love for fashion and an interest in making my own money for once. I talked my parents into getting me a sewing machine and, "the rest is history." I started tinkering with men and women’s apparel, switched to specifically women’s apparel when I was about 17, and committed to lingerie at 19 (I’m now 20). There’s the timeline. The story behind the brand itself is a bit more of a mouthful.
As You Are Intimates came to life through two different ways. The first being that the girls who shopped with me responded way more to my lingerie designs than my previous apparel designs. In business, you’ve got to listen to what the consumer wants, so I took that nudge and ran with it.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that by doing lingerie I could tackle my career goal of mixing my passion and purpose—my passion being business and design, and my purpose being to empower women.
I’ve always been a bit of a feminist, and what better way to give back to women than through an article of clothing that really makes you face who you are, as you are? From there, it was about pinpointing exactly what role AYA would play as a lingerie company. It's about providing custom pieces, representation of the everyday woman, and an intimate experience. I want As You Are to become more than a lingerie label, acting also as a platform for women to share their stories. Whether that be of self love, their triumphs (or defeats) with body positivity, or to advocate for the women who aren't yet comfortable with sharing their journey. I'm hoping for AYA to create an empowered space, a sense of community, one that stems from lingerie made by women, for women.
I’m currently attending Parsons, school of design, and one thing we learn consistently is that whatever we create and put out into the world should be sustainable and thus purposeful. “Why are you creating this? What purpose does it serve? Will it change lives or will it add to the clutter already present?” I figured I had good reason to go in the direction of body positive intimates because there just aren’t enough companies like mine out there.
Lingerie is (or should be) for every woman, yet somehow its been taken away from us. Whether that be through women being forced into a size that doesn’t fit them as it should, or all together not feeling represented in the models that other lingerie company’s use. We deserve to be listened to.
The pain points of women and our bodies should be the pain points of the company’s providing the pieces that go on our bodies. Seems like common sense right? But for some reason there’s a disconnect between the consumer and the buyer, and I’m hoping to bridge that gap. I want women to be heard, to be represented, to be empowered because of it.
Social media has played a key part in helping my company grow. It's allowed me to reach women who I, otherwise, wouldn't have been able to get to, it's allowed those women to reach out themselves and give the feedback that's gotten AYA to where it is now, and it's opened so many amazing doors (like having this awesome feature on LFC). Social media is definitely a force to be reckoned with, and I'm definitely taking full advantage of it.
I think women are taking over the world, and that’s definitely something I want to see more of.
It’s been long overdue for the empowerment of women to be a thing and I’m reveling in it. We’re breaking down boundaries, building empires, and we’re loving on ourselves more than ever.
It’s such a beautiful thing to be a part of.
In terms of what I want to see less of, I’d say fear. Fear to be a better, more kick-ass version of yourself, fear to break through glass ceilings, fear of others putting you down or as DJ Khaled put it, allowing the “they don’t want you to win” mindset get in your way. We’ve got one life to live, we might as well throw caution to the wind and live it.
Being an entrefemmeur means being the example for younger entrefemmeurs who might follow after me or even for those older than I am. Everything I do is bigger than me, and every door I kick down is done in hopes of keeping that door open for the next entrefemmeur to walk through. It’s about getting to the top and making sure to lend a hand to those coming up after you.