A few weeks ago, I went by Concoction the Work_shop. Owned by designer Charla Ruschelle, Concoction is a spot where you can find custom made pieces by local designers, including Charla herself. In a place like Atlanta, where women are always looking to be on the cutting edge of fashion, Concoction offers the perfect opportunity to find your own personal style.
And to add to it, Charla is a fellow Baltimorian and graduate of Clark Atlanta University class of 2000 like myself. I went to her shop because I’d been wanting to check out her pieces and I wanted to talk business with her about setting up a pop up shop for a client.
While browsing some of the amazing designs, we began discussing entrepreneurship and what it means to be a woman in business. We also began discussing everything from the fashion scene in Atlanta, to what it meant to own your own business.
Entrepreneurship has grown in the past few years in leaps and bounds, especially those businesses owned by women. Atlanta in and of itself is the kind of place where people come to achieve those business goals.
When you think of fashion, Atlanta is not necessarily at the forefront of people’s minds. With the film industry thriving in Atlanta, the fashion and beauty industry grew as well. While that sounds good, there are a few problems.
With the advent of You Tube and social media, people are able to easily brand themselves as experts- despite the fact that they have had no formal training. With the social scene of the city overloaded with everything from makeup artists to women’s empowerment speakers to fashion shows, it has become difficult for those who have actually put in time and effort in school, education, and training to compete with people who have not.
Social media can make you believe that someone is an expert because they have a certain amount of followers and they post frequently. We’ve lost the standards for what it means to be a professional and what it means to appreciate and respect someone’s craft.
No shade against all of the boutiques on Instagram- Lord knows some of them have some really cute clothes, but how amazing would it be to sit one on one with your designer and create a look that you can be sure that no one else has on the red carpet events in the city?
There were plenty of places that I saw that could be perfect for the pop up shop I was working on, but I chose to call on a former classmate. Our alumni are pretty tight and I thought to work with someone from our class first.
Far too often, people jump on whatever the latest trend is and ride the wave. No training. No respect for the craft, therefore lowering the standards of the customers. I can’t tell you how many people expect me to do full face makeup applications for $20-$30! I am a licensed esthetician with education on skincare, product ingredients and the business of beauty. Besides that fact, it costs me $20 to fill up my gas tank to drive to you and provide a luxury service, so charging you $20 is just plain out bad business!
But these are the expectations of many consumers. Low pay for luxury. They don’t understand the amount of hours that we pour into our passion. The money, the time, the effort. And likewise, there are way too many people trying to jump on the trends and create movements- not doing their research. I’ve done makeup for fashion shows and events and people expect you to work for
free exposure. I can’t pay my bills off of you tweeting about me. If none of your followers ever book me, I need to get paid for today’s work.
As business owners, we have to up the standards ourselves. Stick to our prices. Demand respect for our work, our talents, and the services that we are offering. We have to stop participating in events that are not good fits for our brands. We also should be open to bartering with other female business owners.
It is always wonderful to speak to other women in business. To be inspired by each other’s drive is an amazing thing. Being in business, we have to connect with one another and support and empower.
Take a moment to check out Charla’s site, order some custom-made pieces, or if you are in the Atlanta area and you are an aspiring designer, sign up for her sewing classes at the_Workshop.
Click here to Get Concocted