Turning compliments into profits; how this entrepreneur capitalized off her style
Why the new millennial woman should be inviting everyone to a seat at the table: Girl boss Q&A
There is nothing more rewarding than watching someone grow into the person they were called to be. This interview is very near and dear to my heart as it is of one of my friends who I have known for 10+ years. She is not only a beautiful soul who literally lights up a room but she is also a great friend, daughter, and business owner. If you’ve always wanted MAC quality lipsticks but were put off by the MAC prices (cough cough meeeeeee) than this interview is specially for you. Meet Ayanna Gibbs, owner and creator of the Classy with a Twist Lipstick Collection. Check out her interview below where we discussed growing up in a single parent household, being an entrepreneur, her brand, and keeping a positive mindset:
- You grew up in a single parent household. As the oldest daughter, what is your relationship like with your mom? My mother is my absolute best friend in the whole World! Our relationship is literally amazing! I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better Mother and I am so grateful for her. She is a major motivational force behind me reaching my maximum potential. My ultimate life goal is to be so successful that she doesn’t have a worry in the World that I can’t fix. She has always worked hard to make sure my siblings and I were well taken care of and I want to give her all of what she has given us and more in return.
- What do you admire most about your mother? First let me start of by saying I am the oldest of six and I’d compare my mother to a modern day super woman. Some of the struggles I’ve seen her overcome as a single mother are unimaginable. I admire her most for how selfless she is when it comes to my siblings and me. As many mothers do, she will go without just to make sure her children are taken care of. Before anything else she is a mother first and she takes pride in it. She makes being a mother look so flawless regardless of any struggles or obstacles that comes her way. I hope one day in the future to be half as good as the mother she is to me and my siblings.
- Any advice to other mothers on creating that relationship with their daughters that you and your mom have? The best advice that I can give to mothers on creating a great relationship with their daughters is to love them unconditionally and accept them for who they are with no judgement. Build an open relationship with your daughter where she feels comfortable coming to you as they would a friend while still respecting you their mother.
- Why did you want to become a business owner? I am a dreamer and I believe that all dreams are attainable when you put in the necessary work. I wanted to be able to live a fulfilling life and walk in my purpose. I knew the only way for me personally to do that was by becoming my own boss and being able to control my life. I don’t like the idea or feeling of someone having the control over telling me how many hours I can work per week, putting a cap on how much money I can make, putting limitations on what I can or cannot do when it comes to my career path, putting a limit on how many vacations I can take a year, or even down to my appearance and what is and is not acceptable in “Corporate America”. There is no greater feeling than being in control of your life and not having to conform to someone else’s rules or settle for an unfulfilling life just because you feel you should. Again, I believe that all things are possible, stop dreaming about it and turn it into reality!
- Any business resources you would recommend? As far as resources…I try to connect and follow those that motivate me to keep going. One of my favorite people who I frequent their Instagram page is Eric Thomas AKA ET The Hip Hop Preacher. His drive, determination, and work ethic is like none other. Also, my closest friends are all women with established businesses or building a business so it’s easy to get motivation from those around me on the same entrepreneurial path.
- What sets your brand apart from others? What sets my brand apart is that my product was specially formulated to make each woman that uses the Classy with a Twist Lipstick Collection feel like the Queen that she is. When going through the process of creating my lipstick line I searched for a quality product with a long-time wear and great consistency. I put a lot of thought into the entire process from the packaging, to the special Thank You card sent out with each package, and the lipstick names. I wanted women to feel happy and beautiful when using any of my products. For example, the Fall Collection that recently launched consists of Positive Vibes, Royalty, Courageous, Sophisticated, Legendary, Ambitious, and Ms. Independent lipstick colors just to name a few. I want woman to feel empowered and understand their worth and acknowledge their queenliness when wearing my products. To me it’s much bigger than just lipstick. Classy with a Twist overall is a brand meant to make women feel great, feel encouraged, and know that they are everything that they desire to be. It’s about being positive and shifting your mindset to think, believe, and do positive. Nothing or nobody should be able to take that away from you or make you feel any differently about who you are. I want women and people in general to aim for the stars. The goal should always be to be great and excel in all that you do because nothing is impossible.
- Why lipsticks? Well I would like to clarify that Classy with a Twist is not simply a cosmetic line; it’s a lifestyle brand. I chose to start off with lipsticks because I am a lipstick lover. Before I could achieve a full face of makeup I’ve always stood out for using bright, different, lipsticks. I was always getting stopped by people complimenting me on my appearance, from my hair, to my clothes, to my lipsticks. I decided, “Why not create my own lipstick”? I was always spending tons of money to wear another brands lipstick, so why not just create one of my own? Now when someone asks me or gives me a compliment it feels so good to say I am wearing my own brand. It is rewarding to have people compliment me on something that I have created and even more empowering to direct them to where they can purchase my products (www.classywithatwist.com).
- What’s your Favorite color? My favorite color lipstick is BLACK which is named Classy with a Twist since it is my signature color. My style is very bold and daring; all things representative of the color black. It has been my go to color for years.
- Classy with a Twist is all about a positive mindset and lifestyle. Knowing you personally, it’s almost like you truly “practice what you preach” because you are always happy! Any tips on staying positive and having that mindset? I am always so happy because there is no reason to be bitter. PERIOD. Why be a pessimist when there are so many reasons to be optimistic and happy? I’ve always been this way. I truly feel that positivity is a way of life! A positive mind equals a positive life. My philosophy on being positive is it all starts with your mind. Positive thoughts will lead to positive results and you can apply that to any aspect of your life. Granted you may be thrown curve balls and hit some lumps and bumps in life but if you remain positive through it all I promise you’ll make it through. Believe that the outcome will be much better than what you are going through and you will come out on top. Negativity is a killer and if you think negative thoughts the outcome is more than likely to be a negative one. I’m also always very positive because no bad thing that you can make it through should be looked at as a negative but instead a lesson learned. I always look for the blessing in each lesson and take something from it. You have to train your mind to turn negatives to positives. Find solutions instead of excuses, and watch the company you keep. I’m very big on vibes and energy. I try to steer clear of negative people or those that give off negative energy. Whether you believe it or not, you are the company you keep and the company you keep reflects who you are. If you connect yourself to negative people it will affect you whether you want it to or not. Negative energy is contagious and will suck the life out of you without you even realizing it. So, if you have people in your circle who display some of the characteristics I’ve described or even if that person is you, change it. You may have to do some reevaluating to elevate not only in life but also to elevate your mind and your way of thinking.
- Where do you see Classy with a Twist five years from now? Five years from now I see Classy with a Twist being a well-established reputable brand. I see a lot of growth in the future regarding women empowerment. An ideal five-year goal would be traveling the World empowering and inspiring women to be great. My brand will create ways to ensure they are taking the necessary steps to living a fulfilling life. Not the typical type of women empowerment that leaves women high off hearing someone else’s success story to only return to their own life. Classy with a Twist will provide the necessary tools and resources for all my ladies to win! I have So much in store...stay tuned!
- Last words of advice to women? This is not only for women but people in general... Please don’t ever put limitations on your life no matter how your story starts it doesn’t have to end the same way. Through my journey and growth with Classy with a Twist, you guys will learn more about me and understand that things were not always what they are now. I am still growing and still not anywhere near where God is taking me. I’ve just began to scrape the surface of the calling on my life. I have faith in all my people as a community. Please keep going, keep pushing forward, keep your faith strong and know that it’s never too soon and it’s never too late to unlock your door to greatness. You’re always one decision away from a totally different life. Reach for the stars and strive to be the best version of yourself every day that you have here on Earth because you deserve it. This thing called life is not promised. Never take it for granted. There is no perfect timing to accomplish that big goal that you keep putting off or not giving your all to. Don’t let a dream remain a dream. Just start where you are with what you have and I promise that everything will fall into place along your journey to greatness if you are always giving it all you got!