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Check Out Aaliayah French’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aaliayah French.

Hi Aaliayah, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I created my brand during the most trying time of my life — COVID-19. Born and raised in East Harlem, New York, I had an innate love and fascination for the fashion industry and the glamorous lifestyle that accompanied it.

I spent my young years playing dress-up as if it were an extreme sport and found thrills in styling myself at the early age of 9 and reading Vogue Magazines as a pass-time. I immersed myself in learning about the basics of design, style, and major fashion houses and studied the trailblazers who made history.

Once college rolled around I made sure to work in retail, intern at fashion firms, and familiarize myself with the industry through work experiences. Each one teaches me valuable skills and prepares me for my future.

Fast forward to the Pandemic in 2020 that shook the world; It had been nine months since I graduated from Quinnipiac University. My back was against the wall career-wise as well as in my personal life. NYC was a hotbed for the virus which virtually wiped out job opportunities and stable income. I decided that I’d make something out of nothing and start a business mid pandemic.

I didn’t care that I had 0 startup money, 0 endorsements, and 0 business experience. I just started. I created the brand name, and logo and began mapping out a business plan while the world was going up in flames around me. I would either fight or lay down and quit and succumb to my environmental and financial circumstances, but as a New Yorker, that wasn’t an option.

My Godparents live in Scottsdale and had hosted my family and I when we visited some years prior. I always told myself I could see myself living in Arizona after we got to see what it was like. I finally came to the conclusion during the summer of 2020 that New York was not a lucrative place to be to cultivate success and start my adult life.

I made the tough decision to leave everything and everyone that I knew and moved across the country with my savings and a dream. Since being in Arizona, my Godparents served as advisors and my main support system as I embarked on my journey.

I worked hard my first year and now work from home for a major tech company while working tirelessly on my side hustle and my biggest passion, Citizen Fatale, a progressive accessories line.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Running this business hasn’t been a walk in the park.

It has come with challenges. I struggled to find screen printing companies who could get my handbags customized the way I needed them for a brand partnership project I had with Dolls Kill. I ended up doing the project myself without professional help.

This was the most difficult and stressful thing I’ve ever had to do but it was truly rewarding once I completed it myself.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I specialize in vegan leather bags, heat-press work, video editing, and fashion communications which includes marketing, editing, and social media.

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
Being a business owner makes me happy.

Having the creative liberties to curate original digital content, customize and individualize my product and collaborate with other businesses and brands brings me great joy.

Also, beautiful warm weather and palm trees keep my mental health stable and contribute to my overall happiness.

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