Adorned By Chi is a lifestyle brand for misfits and magical girls created by Digital Media Entrepreneur, Jacque Aye. Although she quit her job to pursue a freelance career in social media marketing, blogging, selling e-books, and providing creatives with design services, she still wasn't feeling completely fulfilled... Jacque wanted to embark on a new passion project which resulted in the start of online boutique, Adorned By Chi. Originally a creative outlet for this fun-loving CEO that combined her interest in e-commerce with designing and branding, Adorned By Chi turned into a brand that unapologetically represents quirky, cutesy black women.
"As far as the aesthetic, I love shopping at the cutesy spots like Chic Wish or Mod Cloth and I noticed that there's not much of a representation of black women in that market. When it comes to those retro, cute styles or even the nerd wear... Black women are really not involved. I really want to make it a point to focus my business on black women, showcasing us being girly, cutesy, flirty, quirky, and all the things that we're not really allowed to be."
In the beginning, Jacque had little to no funds available to put into her business. She notes being broke and having no money at the time of her start-up as being her biggest challenge... But since then, she has experienced so much growth that she's hoping to soon develop a team of employees that will help her avoid the growing pains of a small business.
"My personal goal as the Owner of Adorned by Chi is to hire people — that's something that's hard for me, not just as a black woman, but as a person who's really foreign to social skills. Finding a job and being able to successfully interview and keep that job has always been something that caused me anxiety. It would be nice to hire people who aren't often given that chance. The day I'm able to pay someone's salary, I'll be very happy."
Adorned By Chi is a brand that encourages black women to be free to be themselves. In a world that tells us what we should be, what we should be interested in, how we should dress, and so on... Adorned By Chi challenges that norm in a sweet, yet still rebellious way.
Jacque designs an assortment of quirky t-shirts, unique pins + patches, handbags, hats, headbands, and even mugs that are available in the Adorned By Chi online boutique. She's created black versions of anime characters including a Sailor Moon, Adaze, and a new Powerpuff Girls-inspired pin set... And when it comes to Adorned By Chi'sgraphic t-shirt selection, there are timeless options for any black woman to adorn.
"When I was in high school, I felt like I was super alone. I was reading fantasy novels all the time, I was watching cartoons and things that other people my age didn't... Then I heard Janelle Monae on Concrete Loop, and she was singing about being an alien from outer space and all this stuff that I've never heard a black woman talk about or celebrate. (Maybe there was someone else, but to me... Janelle Monae was it.) After that, it was like instant confidence for me. I thought, 'Wait a minute. It's okay that I'm this way and that I like these things.'
I would like someone to stumble across my shop and have the exact same feeling that I had when I heard Janelle Monae. And for the people who aren't young, black, quirky women, I hope that they think the shop's products are cute and that they like the aesthetic."
In the past, Adorned By Chi has worked with other black, female owned businesses on products and events; showcasing that it can be really progressive to collaborate rather than compete. Specifically, Adorned By Chi recently teamed up with jewelry line, Lost Queens on a "I Love Myself" tee that encouraged women to celebrate themselves. Through these types of collaborations, we are able to see the importance of building communities and supporting each other's creative endeavors... Especially for a common good cause.
"I think it's important for us black women in business to stick together and help each other when we can. We're very oppressed. Black businesses, in general, are fighting against a lot. We haven't had the same head start that others have had. On top of that, there's a stigma even in our own community that with shopping with black businesses that the service will be poor. It's good to have other black women in businesses to talk to so that we can exchange ideas, improve our system and vent... Because a lot of stuff goes down, so a lot of venting happens! I wouldn't say I'm like super connected because I'm shy, but the people that I know... I love them a lot."
If you're an advocate for intersectional feminism, self-empowerment, and super cute products you'll love what Adorned By Chi has to offer. As a brand that was built with the power of being fearless and the concept of embracing individuality, it's making the world a more beautiful place every day.
Learn more and shop with Adorned By Chi by visiting the brand's online boutique at AdornedByChi.com (they also have a 'Chi Loves' blog for some really good reads)... Then follow the brand on Instagram + Twitter to stay updated!
[these things take time.] the poetry book available on amazon.com.