How Cierra J of MelaninBar is Creating Spaces for Ambitious Girls!
I’ll repeat this until I turn blue, The Future is Female. I got the chance to interview Cierra J, CEO of Melanin Bar. She shared everything from who and what inspires her to her future plans with her growing company. Read the full interview below for some gems and more from this female boss!
Who is Cierra J.?
I am a passionate creative who aspires to empower young women by building their confidence and pushing them towards their goals.
Can you tell me more about MelaninBar? What inspired you to start your business? What impact do you hope it has on women?
Melanin Bar is a creative haven housing collection, projects, enforcing community service along with women empowerment. Melanin Bar is a place that celebrates not only women of color but also ambitious girl bosses who are striving to build their self-worth and their businesses every day.
I was inspired to start my business because I was color shamed quite often growing up. Boys would make cruel comments about the complexion of my skin, I was constantly compared to girls who were lighter than me; honestly it took a toll on me. My self-confidence was low, and I began to feel insecure.
When I heard others around me were going through similar situations I was inspired to create something that would empower and unite us all. This is when I started creating statement pieces and my first collection “Brwn Girl.” I wanted to create something girls could wear and feel proud and confident in the shade of our skin. Brown comes in various shades and ethnic backgrounds we should all be proud of our skin complexion and our roots. I just recently launched my second collection “Ambitious Girl.” for women who prioritize their self-love and worth and aren’t afraid to chase their dreams.
With Melanin Bar I hope to help girls build self-confidence. I aim to inspire girls to keep faith! We can achieve our dreams; it just takes faith and hard work. I hope when people wear my clothing they feel comfortable in their skin and comfortable with their journey.
How do you manage your growing business on your own or with limited help/resources?
This is a challenge. I’m really working off faith right now lol.
I invest my own money into my brand. Once I get my brand out to more people and spread the word I’m sure I’ll find more investors but right now I use my own funds and minimal resources that I have.
Who is your dream client/company to collab with? *let’s speak it into existence*
I would absolutely love to collab with Issa Rae and Lisa Nichols! Issa is so creative and talented I really look to her for inspiration. It would be so cool to work with her and the Insecure team. I would love to send them some gear! Lisa Nichols is a motivational speaker who built a business inspiring the masses and motivating teens. She is truly amazing! If I had the opportunity to collaborate on a project with her it would be an honor and my dream.
Life as an entrepreneur can get busy so how do you find a healthy balance? What are your self-care rituals/tips?
I find my healthy balance in planning, prayer and meditation. I have been listening to Steven Furtick’s and Mike Todd’s sermons on YouTube, they are amazing pastors.
Self-care tips: When I start feeling defeated from work and whatever craziness is going on in my personal life at the moment lol I light a candle, grab my journal and listen to a sermon. This keeps me going and helps refresh my mindset. Once I write or pray about a problem it helps me better interrupt the situation and see what God is trying to teach or show me.
What’s one piece of advice you would like to send #ToAllGirls trying to find their purpose?
I would encourage all girls to never stop trying. I often see girls that get frustrated because they don’t know their purpose. I was once there… but I kept pushing and moving forward in what I was passionate in. I didn’t stop!
What was your 1.11ven moment/breakthrough/a time you realized you could do anything you set out to do?
My 1.11ven moment was at my first pop up shop in Atlanta. The fact that I could really build a business and inspire people enough they were willing to come out and support me was so cool to me. Having a nice following on Instagram is always great, but the fact people cared enough to come out and show support in person was so incredible to me! I really felt at that moment I was on the right track and manifesting my destiny!
What are some of your favorite books/podcasts?
My favorite books: Coldest winter Ever by Sistah Soulja , UPSTATE by Kalisha Buckhanon, (UN) QUALIFIED by Steven Furtick I don’t listen to many podcasts but I do listen to lots of sermons and motivational speakers on YouTube! My favorites are Lisa Nichols, Steven Furtick and Mike Todd
Favorite album/songs right now?
I love Ciara Level Up this is my anthem! Ella Mae Trip, Wale Ambition, and Kevin Gates Luca Brasi just came out and I have it on repeat lol it’s great!
Favorite women of color to follow on Instagram?
Issa Rae, Yara Shahidi, Ryan Destiny, Nichole Lynel, Heather Lindsey, Karen Civil, Oprah, Michelle Obama, Tatum Harrison , Queen Naija. I could go on and on, but these women really inspire me with their hard work and humility.
What are some upcoming projects that we can expect to see you flourish in?
I just relaunched my website! So, there are lots of cute new items on my site. I am in the process of adding more pieces for fall as well. Be on the lookout for some bomb fall gear!
I am currently working on a line of affirmation candles and a self-care subscription box that I can’t wait to share with everyone. Also, I am working on more collabs with girl bosses! I launched an “Ambitious Girl” blog on my website. I want this blog to serve as a platform where girls can come and talk about topics we are currently dealing with in our personal lives and businesses! I am very excited about the blog and I am currently looking for influencers to collab with. So, if anyone is interested hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org!