The JessicaSimien.com “She’s A Boss” series is all about women in leadership positions. Women are not celebrated enough for their amazing and one-of-a-kind accomplishments. We’re using our platform to shine light on some very talented and intelligent ladies working toward (and realizing) their dreams. Not only will you have an opportunity to learn about them, you will also get to learn from them as they share their business advice and pointers on how to maintain balance.
Annisa “A Limara” Mitchell is a natural hair vlogger and fashion designer and an all-around beautiful spirit. I met her months ago as and when she was in the planning phase for her natural hair forum in Jackson, Mississippi. I remember how humble and sweet of a person she was and I know she’s going to be great in all that she does. We caught up with Annisa to get the latest on her entrepreneurial success.
Check out our chat below!
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: What made you want to become a business owner?
ANNISA LIMARA MITCHELL: Wow! It probably started at a young age, I always knew that I wanted to do something different other than being a teacher or being a lawyer or whatever. I’ve always been in to doing hair and fashion even from when I was a little girl. I would like take my Barbie dolls and cut up my socks and make them new clothes. I kinda did my own thing and I lived in my own world. I had my own fake beauty salon with my baby dolls so it’s been in me for a long time.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: With you being in the beauty industry, of course your appearance has a big part in that. It’s no secret that women are sometimes judged for their appearance when it comes to being in the spotlight, have you ever had any issues with being that “pretty girl” or having to tone yourself down? How does that play a role in the way that you do business?
ALM: Well, fortunately I’ve always pretty much worked in the retail industry for companies that would give me free reign with what I wore or how I wore my hair. I was in a more business setting with my first job and I remember coming there wearing a fro for the first time and I felt really self conscious. I was also the only Black female that worked for that company and while I felt a little uncomfortable, I was never ridiculed for it.
I would say probably being in the South and going to church, I stick out like a sore thumb and I feel a little self conscious because I’ve always done my own thing. Now it’s second nature and you either take me or you don’t. That’s why I like being a business owner because I can express myself the way I do.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: We as female business owners have to kind of sacrifice a little bit of ourselves and a lot of the time it’s to make our brands better and relatable. How much of you is your brand?
ALM: I would say a lot of it, pretty much most of it. I brand to every type of woman no matter what your size or race is so I’m a walking spokesperson for my brand. So, I wear what I make and with me promoting hair, I make sure my own hair is worn nicely.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: How do you keep a balance between your personal life and working?
ALM: It’s a bit hard sometimes because as you must know, your personal life and your business life can intertwine. With me having a big family and trying to keep that separate it’s sometimes hard and sometimes I have to sacrifice time with my friends or time with my family because I’m so busy working and trying to get my business off the ground. So what I try to do is have my family help me with certain projects or talk to my friends about things to involve them in certain aspects of what I do. I’ll let them come over and see what I’m doing just so they’ll be involved. It’s hard but you have to keep working at it until you get comfortable.
I’m pretty lucky because I don’t have any children or a husband, I know that would be a lot harder to do if I did have my own family.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Do you worry about your career having an effect on you building a family one day?
ALM: Yes. All the time. One of my favorite icons is Coco Chanel. I did a research paper and my senior thesis on her. She’s been successful even beyond death but her personal life was not the same or even close to being the same compared to her business success. I don’t ever want it to be to the point where my business takes over everything and I’m not able to have a family because I know one day I will eventually want one. I think about that all the time.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Who are some female bosses that you look up to other than Coco Chanel?
ALM: One in particular is Tracey Reese, she’s a designer who’s been designing for over a decade. I look up to her as far as her aesthetic and her work ethic. I’ve read plenty of articles where she talks about balance and I’m trying to strive for her same success. Also LaureNicole, a local designer/stylist and she went to Tougaloo, the same college that I went to. I really, really look up to her because we’re close in age and we come from the same place and I see how she focuses and how she balances her life and just really doing multiple things. With me wanting to do fashion and beauty, I can say that if she can do it I can do it too because we’re from the same place. She’s definitely serves as inspiration to me.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Before we go, what advice do you have for women who aspire to become business owners?
ALM: The biggest thing is to stay humble and stay ambitious. Those are two words that aren’t really linked together because a lot of people think that being ambitious means that you have to run over people and you have to be cocky but I want them to know that you don’t have to be so big-headed to be successful. Just remain humble and put God first and remain strong. You’re going to face a lot of things and adversity, self-doubt, fear but you can overcome all of that in just staying focused.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: I love that advice! Do you have anything coming up that we should be on the lookout for?
ALM: Yes! I’ll be creating another collection within the next few years. Between 2015 and 2016, I’ll be doing another swimwear and resort wear collection. I’ll also be having the Curls, Kinks & Fashion Show and natural hair forum event again, but this time it’s going to be either in Baltimore or D.C. later on this year and I also have a meetup coming up so I have a lot of good things in store as well as growing my YouTube channel.
P.S. – If you’re looking for a great hair moisturizer, check out her Peppermint Hair Butter. I love it!