Sarafina Ashley of Annifaras The Label Shares Her Hustle & Building Her Empire!
I’ve been following Sarafina for a while now and one thing is so clear about her — she hustles! hard! I got the chance to chat wit her and hear all about her upbringing, where her hustle comes from, and what amazing projects she has coming up. If you’re not already supporting her company, check out the full interview below & you’ll see what you’ve been missing. It’s very clear she won’t be stopping any time soon, so get hip with Annifaras The Label!
Who is Sarafina? What do you want to be known for in this lifetime?
The name “Sarafina means fire and change.” Sarafina is a bird of her own feather! I’m originally from Côte d’Ivoire, or Americans or English speakers say the Ivory Coast. Both of my parents are Ivorian. My dad came here straight from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and my mom is Ivorian, she borders Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia.
My mom came to this country when she was 18. It’s hard to give who I am without giving my mom’s back story. My mother started her own nightclub when she was 16 years old back in Ivory Coast and she made a fortune off of that. She ended up getting sick and she lost everything. She figured she wanted to explore more of the world and see what it had to offer so she came to this country. My dad came when he was about 24/25 and they ended up crossing paths and meeting. Sarafina is a creative, she’s a fashionista, she’s a go getter, she’s a hustler!
When did you start your business and what/who inspired you to start your business, AnnifarasTheLabel?
It's been almost 3 years. This November will make it 3 years. My mom is one of the many people who have inspired me to start my company. I grew up around hustlers! My aunties, who at the time were my mom’s closest friends when she first came to this country had this spot. She sold her purses and jewelry there and [they sold other things like] weave. Another person is my uncle Yaya. He’s a fashion designer. He use to sew for the president of Guinea at the time. I was so infatuated by how he’d sketch a design, measure it up against my mom, and sew it in like 3 -5 hours. I would take the sketches and study them. One day I was waiting for him to start sewing and sketching but he said he couldn't find his sketches. I went and grabbed the sketched and he taught me how to do a quick sketch and the rest is history! I would sketch clothes, jewelry and that led to my second business. One day I told him, you know I want to be just like you, have a business like you. He told me to write down the ingredients and get it patented!
How do you manage your growing business on your own or with limited resources?
Balance...I turned one out of my two hobbies into my job. I like to balance it with playing video games, spending time with my loved ones. I was doing it on my own with just me and my mom, and it wasn’t working. By the time I would get to recent orders it would be night time. I figured, “why don’t I just get an office and have people work with me?” People I hire are people that I vibe with. The photo shoots products, shots, product creation, all of this is on me. Every shoot, I direct and my mom styles!
Any self-care tips you use to stay looking so bomb?
Self-care days are usually consisting of me shaving, I use Nair, I’m not too skilled with razors lol. I like to do my own brows. I do like to use this clay mask... its blue that my mom uses. I like to use my Caloe Syrum and Coconut butter. I hate doing my hair (not my favorite part). After I do all of that, I like to get my hair and feet done and doget a massage at a spot down the street from where I live.
Are there any dream clients, creatives, or companies you’d want to collab with? (in terms of your business)
I am so in love with my generation. I’m so in love with this whole era. There are a bunch of girls that I find attractive. There’s a whole list of beautiful girls that I would want to wear my product. As for getting my products into stores, as you said it can go bad really quickly, but if you take your time it can work out. My uncle has been in business for years and he has many beauty supply stores just jumping all over the city so that would be my first step. That’s like the easiest way to take over my city! Anybody who needs hair supplies, that’s where they go to. There’s not a single person who doesn't know about him.
As for major collabs, I’ve been approached by a few celebrities. I won’t say their names I’m not sure if I’m supposed to, so I wont Lol. my mom said if you’re not sure about something, just don’t do it. I’ve had a few celebrities purchase my products. We’re still waiting to see photos of them in it, but you know with time and praying to God everyday, I’m sure I’ll wake up one day and see them in it. All these things are in the works, so I wouldn’t say I have a dream client but I do have a lot of women I’m going to try and push my products to.
So I see that you love fashion, I think you have a pretty dope style, What and/or who sparked your interest in Fashion?
My mom has always been into fashion, my dad likewise. We’re Ivorian that’s like our thing! One thing about Ivorians is we love to party, we can party from sunrise to sunset. I always saw my parents throw these crazy parties. People would come through with the craziest fits ever and being around that (really influenced me). I was born in the era of Coupé-Décalé, what Coupé-Décalé is, it's just about fashion. In english it's called “the cut”. Being around that just really influenced me, i just fell in love with fashion. I fell in love with that whole Ivorian lifestyle. I just figured that’s what i wanted to do with my life.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
I have a whole obsession with designers. As a kid, when I was like 4,5,6 years old my mom when she was dressing me for school or to go to church she would pull out all my jewelry and she’d be like, “Ok, Princess what do you want to wear today? You want Dior, you want Chanel? I would sit there, at 6 years old, and just ponder like “mmm, I want the Dior one” lol! My favorite right now as we speak, I really love what Gucci is doing. I really mess with his new vibe. I’ve already spent a disgusting amount of money on that lol! I love Louis Vuitton, Versace, Coco Chanel, just the big dogs! If I could pick one, I would say Gucci! He’s really doing the damn thing!
Can you describe your style in three words?!
My style if I could describe it…it is completely unpredictable and spontaneous. If I could choose one word, it would be luxury. I love luxury! I do have a passion for other types of style, but what you’ll catch me in the most is luxury.
What’s your favorite album out right now & why?
Right now I don’t have a favorite album but there are three new songs that came out from my country that I really love: Serge Beynaud - Zangoule, and Safarel Obiagn – Manger Chier. As for American music I would say I really like...I’ve been liking Gunna lately, Nicki, Asap Mob, Yosemite by Travis Scott. I would say my favorite is by my older brother, Will.
Favorite women of color to follow on Instagram?
Honestly, when I get on social media it’s just to post my art and my work but my mom is pretty a big inspo for me. There’s no one who really inspires me and my style too much (on Instagram). My mom inspires me completely. My style is all her. I love that Ivorian state of mind. The kind of style I wear I would never be able to have access to those things here.
What was your 1.11ven moment/breakthrough/a time you realized you could do anything you set out to do?
I’d like to think that my real, real breakthrough hasn't come yet, but that’s because I’m always hungry for more. Once I hit one benchmark and set one goal and achieve it, I immediately set another goal. So I’m gonna be like 90 years old telling y’all my real breakthrough hasn’t come yet lol. I would say though, my actual breakthrough and what made me understand what I put my mind to would work, would be my body butters. That was the business that just blew and became my job. I went to having barely any sales with clothes to just an abundance of orders from the east to the west, north and the south. Places I haven’t even stepped yet, my products have stepped in so I will say my collection Soleil…that’s definitely my (1.11ven) moment. That was my moment.
What advice would you give to young girls?
One thing I would say, business wise, because I feel like that’s the most important thing on this earth. It this great world we live in, money makes the world go round. Anything you want to put your mind. Any goal you have, any dream that you have , no matter how crazy it may be PURSUE IT! The way life works is what you attract, attracts you. My mom always uses this parable:
The way God operated, the way life operates: If someone finish eating their food and they left all the bones from the mean on a plate and you run to eat the bones, and you’re happy with that, God will just continue to give you bones because that’s what makes you happy. But if you see the bones and you’re like, “where’s my meat? Like I should have a whole chicken to my name” then God will give you that. If you tell life that you want the moon, life will give you the whole galaxy. Anything you want to do make sure you pursue it to the best of your ability, no matter how many times you fail.
The more you push something, eventually life will submit to you. If you keep hustling,, chasing after riches...there isn’t a person who says I’m going to be a millionaire and actually applies the effort to be a millionaire, and didn’t become a millionaire. That’s unheard of! The more you pursue things life will have no choice but to submit to you. It will eventually just stop putting roadblocks in your way.
Are there any upcoming projects that we can expect to see you flourish in?
So, I just released my first collection of waste beads and that’s going really well. I sold out in like one day! I have my entire lingerie collection coming out soon. I put out one piece and people loved it so the rest is coming very soon. It's just a matter of shooting it and finding the right models. I have new music coming out next year. I’m working on perfecting my vibe and just defining who I am as a musician. My gaming channel (on Youtube) is coming soon as well!
Stay tuned to 1-11ven.com for more inspiring entrepreneurs + creatives.