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Q & A with Samby Sayward 

Owner of Boundless Bard

What inspired you to enter the comic/art world?

I went to college for comics, but didn't have the drive to pursue it further until earlier this year. I was watching Kingsman (a great, entertaining movie), and thought to myself, "Gosh, this is so BADASS! I wish there was a movie like this about women!" And then I realized... there are SO MANY movies, comics, and TV shows that I've had the same thought about. And so few stories to satisfy that wish. So I decided to change that, and started making comics about BADASS WOMEN. It's funny, my first published comic was a response to this moment. A knightly super spy tries to save a "damsel" and finds out she's just as badass as he is.

Do you have a favorite female comic artist? What do you love about her work?

 

It's hard to pick a favorite artist, but I definitely have a favorite comic writer. Kelly Sue DeConnick is a huge inspiration to me because her goal is very similar to mine. She writes stories about strong, badass women from all sorts of backgrounds. I admire how she's managed to represent such diverse casts of women that can inspire readers with vastly different experiences. I hope I can do the same with my characters.

What has been your biggest obstacle as a comic/artist?

My biggest obstacle has honestly been myself. Self doubt, procrastination, and anxiety all affect how quickly I've gotten work done, and are probably why I waited so long to start making comics seriously in the first place. But over the past year, I've significantly improved how I handle these things, and I hope that I'll eventually reach a point that it's hardly an obstacle at all.

How is your personality reflected in your art/illustration/stories?

I'm a bit of an eclectic mess of a human being, and I definitely think that shows through, especially in my stories. The Damsel is set in the 1920's equivalent of a magical fantasy world, where knights have become super spies like MI-6. If I ever make other stories in that world, you'll find out there's a wild western going on across the ocean, and a world war about to happen because of feuding eldritch gods. Red Rose and other stories related to Daughters of Grimm aren't quite so eclectic, but there's still the juxtaposition that comes with, "I want it to be fun! But badass! And maybe a little horrific, mwahaha..."

What about the creative process excites you the most?

Honestly? Holding the finished product in my hands. After weeks of near constant work, it's SO satisfying to get to read my own comic without the need to critique it. I can just enjoy it like everyone else (hopefully) will.

Is there an illustration/comic/art you are most proud of? 

I think right now, my PRIZE comic is Red Rose. I actually first tried, and failed, to make the comic in college. I was so stressed about the details, I didn't finish it. I had to turn it in with sketchy panels. It's so cool holding the new, FINISHED comic and comparing it to the old one. I've made so much progress since then and it's just proof that determination and vision will let you do anything.

What words of encouragement or advice would you give to an aspiring female comic artist/or a woman pursuing another passion?

"Go forth, and know that you are BADASS." No matter what obstacles you face, if you are willing to push yourself, put in the time, and not make excuses, then you can do anything. And also, don't compare yourself to others. See what other people are doing and be inspired, but focus on your own progress, because that's what's important.

Upcoming Events!!

I'm streaming my creative process on Twitch every Saturday at 2pm CT! You can hang out, watch, and chat at www.twitch.tv/boundlessbard

 

Millicent Campbell

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Q & A with Erika Hill 

Owner of Everkingly Soaps 

Tell us about your business and the products and services you provide. 

I create handmade natural organic soaps. My soaps are safe for the entire family to use. I create my soaps using the hot process method which consists of mixing organic oils, lye & water.​

 

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of overcoming all the fears I've had in launching my small business.

What or who has been your biggest source of inspiration in launching your business or product?

My family has been my biggest inspiration in launching my business. At times I felt like I was not ready to launch or unprepared. I thought of all the negative reasons why I shouldn't launch it, but my family pushed me along the way to finish my goal. I am very excited to see what the future holds for my business.

 

 

What words of encouragement or advice would you give to other women dreaming of starting their own business or embarking on a new personal or professional project?

Follow your dreams set realistic goals and follow through with achieving them. Don't give up no matter how long it takes.

 

Millicent Campbell

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Q & A with Millicent 

Owner of Millispeaks, LLC. 

Tell us about your business and the products and services you provide. 

Millispeaks, LLC is a creative platform by Millicent Campbell for men and women to experience transformation. Millicent is a poet and writer from Houston, TX. Her written work has been featured in online publications that include Scalawag Magazine, and Write About Now. She is the author of 2 self-guided journals The Sun Looks Good on you, a 31 Day Inspiration Journal and Love in This Skin, a 31 Day Love Journey. Both journals are comprised of quotes, questions, and personal anecdotes to help creatives and the like on their personal journey. Millicent hopes to inspire, challenge, and empower others with her writings and spoken word poetry. She believes that writing with truth and transparency leads to a transformed life.

 

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of all the work that I have done this year to start making my dreams and my visions come to life. I've always dreamed of publishing and sharing my work with others, and now I am finally doing it! I am proud of the fact that even though I am terrified most of the time and doubtful, I'm pressing forward in spite of fear.

 

What or who has been your biggest source of inspiration in launching your business or product?

I've been most inspired by local small businesses and other creators here in Houston. I'm inspired by creators that believe in themselves and in their talent and begin creating content and spaces for themselves. Fellow entrepreneurs have been so kind and supportive to me which inspires me to keep making content and keep challenging myself.

 

 

What words of encouragement or advice would you give to other women dreaming of starting their own business or embarking on a new personal or professional project?

Write the vision. Make it plain. Go for it. You are your biggest obstacle so you have to fight all those negative voices and just go for it. The truth is we're all scared, but we believe in our products and our voices so we press on in spite of it. I think it's also important to understand why you want to pursue that business or project. People are often more interested in "why" you are selling your product than "what" you are selling. Lastly, you don't have to be like everyone else. You are different for a reason, so own it!

 

Amanda Acevedo

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 Q & A with Amanda Acevedo 

Creator of ByyANA 

What inspired you to enter the art world? Was it a person, event, or experience? 

As a child I’ve always been a creative. I started at age 10 with the hopes of being a fashion designer. It wasn't until just recently that I began drawing digitally with the goal of spreading self-love and self-care. My page was actually created because a friend of mine, Tori. The first day we met she said “people are going to judge anyway, so might as well do what you want to do” ... yeah that really stuck with me and a week after, I did it. I finally made the idea of a page reality.

What elements do you enjoy working with the most?

I feel like I’ve been filtering and not being raw enough with my images. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun highlighting body hair, stretch marks, cellulite, and many different other looks. I really want to bring out the realness of women’s bodies. We aren’t some photo shopped “beauty”. We have so called "flaws" and we should embrace them. So I’ve been having fun drawing "the small details".

What has been your biggest obstacle as an artist?

My mental health has been a huge obstacle. I deal with depression and severe anxiety. This is the first time actually expressing my mental health. It’s a bit scary, but it’s real. Some days I want to delete everything and walk away because I feel as if I’m not good enough. Some days I purposely self-sabotage and walk away from request and jobs. There are times when I am inactive on social media for days. It is something I have been working on and will continue to work on.

Can you tell us a little bit about the different art experiences that you provide?

I’ve worked a lot with fashion, from internships to sketches to backstage fashion shows for NYFW. Other than that, I’m not a very good painter haha. I recently started working on collages, logos, and single covers for musicians. I also draw traditionally as well as digitally. And if you asked my boyfriend, he’d say I’m a good singer, but that's a lie. 

How is your personality reflected in your work?

I’ve had people tell me that my personal look and style totally represents my art and Vice Versa. Very colorful and fun. SASSY! I’m very sassy at times and have an iconic eye roll followed by my hair flip.

What about the creative process excites you the most?

What excites me is knowing someone out there will be able to relate. Especially to my newer photos, quotes, and my overall look. I get excited about the idea that a young girl will look at a drawing of a girl full of body hair and brown skin, and thick eye brows, and think “This looks like me”. I draw to express myself. I also hope that my drawings positively impact others. 

What words of encouragement or advice would you give to an aspiring artist/or a woman pursuing another passion?

Just f***ing do it. Stop over thinking things and putting yourself down. You ARE enough, you ARE talented and you DO have the time. You worry about what others think but forget to realize they will judge you whether you do it or not. So, just do whatever the f*** you want with no regrets. You've got this babe!

Ariel Aaron Davis

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Q & A with Ariel Aaron Davis

Creator of ByyANA 

How did you get started?

I funded my college tuition by climbing the corporate ladder at various digital marketing and lead generation organizations. I've advertised for big brands like Chevy and Verizon down to regional restaurants and local wineries. While I enjoyed the work I was doing professionally, I did not love the environment that I was working in. I knew that there had to be more. Every day, my spirit called me to pay attention those little impulses to do something bigger than myself. At the same time, I became increasingly inspired by my friends and family members who started their own businesses. Whenever possible, I would share with them the things that I had learned while working at marketing agencies over the last decade. Eventually, I began adapting the processes that the big brands were using and getting profound results for small businesses. Two years, countless referrals and weeks of capacity building later, my clients’ businesses are thriving. Some of them are seeing record engagement while others are finally seeing the dreams they've always had come to life. This is why we do what we do at A Squared Advertising-- to make a difference in the lives of our clients and subsequently, our community.

Tell us about your business and what you do. What sets your business apart from others?

I developed the Secret Marketing Boost Formula that helps minority-owned businesses stop stressing about getting customers and start making money online.

 

What challenges have you faced along the way?

I've really had to stretch myself and step out of my comfort zone to meet the unique needs of my clients. Since starting A Squared Advertising, we have expanded our service offering to include graphic design, web design and various other digital marketing techniques. It's a huge learning curve; one that requires me and my team to step up and meet our clients where they are.

What are you most proud of?

I lost my grandmother around the time that things began heating up for A Squared. She was one heck of a lady-- kind, generous, strong, outspoken-- but most importantly, she was an entrepreneur who made a difference in the lives of her family and community. She created jobs, taught a trade and made a way for several members of our family to become first-generation college graduates and home owners. I am most proud to continue my grandmother's legacy in the same community where I saw her do it.

 

What song best describes your work ethic? Why?

Is this a PG question? LOL -- I love Janelle Monet! She has a song called "I Like That" and I listen to it in the car on my way to anything that I would otherwise be afraid to do for the sake of my business, and ultimately my purpose. I listen to this song because it reminds me to just be true to myself and don't worry about what anybody else thinks, says or does. It reminds me to never let self-doubt creep in and talk me out of expanding my world. It reminds me to stay out of my feelings because I have work to do and a torch to carry. I consider this song my anthem, in a way, because my entrepreneurial journey has been more about personal growth than anything. When I am confident and comfortable with myself, as the song suggests, I am more productive and effective in business.

 

What words of encouragement or advice would you give to other women dreaming of starting their own business or embarking on a new personal or professional project?

Just. Start. Just start! God is your first mind, and the devil is in the details, so don't overthink the thing that deep down, you already know is your calling. If you have been thinking, dreaming or otherwise been compelled to do something-- do it! The universe has this weird way of meeting you exactly where you are. Do not be afraid to jump. Finally, once you start, commit. There will be things to test your faith. Don't quit. The storm is the prerequisite to success.

What are 3 social media/digital marketing tips you would give to new entrepreneurs/small business owners?

1.) Invest time into understanding who your audience is and what their pain points are so that you can market to them efficiently

2.) Be thoughtful and intentional about the way you define your brand

3.) Video is the way to go. If you are not leveraging video, your brand will get left behind by your competitors that do.