AUTHENTIC

Building an authentic brand can be pretty daunting because it also needs to be profitable. As an entrepreneur, you are re-introduced to yourself time and time again. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been worried about whether the authenticity of my brand, AF is fading because of me. Is my evolution as a person threatening the story and face of my brand?

To get the answer, I held the mirror to my face. I went back to why I started. I want to solve the lack of diversity and sustainability in the fashion industry, tell a story through design, and to use the gift God/the Universe gave me to its fullest potential. Has that journey been easy? No. It still isn’t. After deep reflection, I questioned how genuine I was. No matter how hard I try to be transparent, sometimes I find myself wanting to fit a mold in the name of success.

The good news is I concluded with 3 truths:

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Truth #1: I didn’t get off course, I got experience. Each opportunity I would take aside from design was to fund the brand, help the brand, or somehow go to the brand. After all, I’m not PRADA. I don’t have decades of history and money. In each “detour”, I felt like I was going down a dark rabbit hole slipping further away from AF. This is mainly where I felt the story fade. What I didn’t see was the glass half full. I was gaining experience that made me a better entrepreneur. Ultimately, I always came back to the brand with more skills and more experience.

Truth #2: Solitude is sacred. Listen, this business sh*t ain’t for the faint of heart. I died to myself a million times, and resurrected much stronger. Without going into detail, I am currently in an interesting position financially, mentally, and emotionally. I am also alone in it. However, solitude is good, and it’s sacred. I’ve seen everything evolve. I’ve seen evolution in how I react to situations, relationships/friendships and anything that no longer produce healthy fruit. My ability to accept endings are smoother. More importantly, my intuition has strengthen.

Truth #3: I won’t benefit from everything I invest in. This is self-explanatory, and if the last 3 years of my life (in all aspects) taught me anything, it’s this! It’s not the case all the time, but it happens. I spent a lot of time and money in all aspects of my life only to take an “L”. I’m not talking about walking away with lessons. I mean literally walking away with nothing, and who knows, maybe that’s the lesson. I had enough dignity to walk away. Bottom line, sometimes you dodged the bullet, sometimes you don’t (inserts Kanye shrug).

After this self (and business) reflection, I don’t think the authenticity of the brand faded. I think it didn’t evolve from when I initially started. That’s my fault. Luckily, I have the power to change that. Stay tuned!