Jacque Aye may be young, but shes always had an entrepreneurial spirit. While still a college student Aye, then 21, was looking for a creative way to make money, so she opened up her first online business, a vintage boutique. Called Shop Lioness, the online boutique specializes in vintage clothing–and it was a one-woman venture for Aye as she modeled, photographed, listed, and shipped products all on her own. The online shop thrived for two years until other commitments forced Aye to close the business.
But it didnt take long for the entrepreneurial bug to bite the Dallas-based Aye again. Three years later, in October 2015 she opened another online business. My new online shop is Adorned By Chi. This time around, instead of vintage clothing, Im selling whimsical statement pieces that can be used for photo shoots, weddings, festivals, garden parties, etc. Once again, I created the shop by myself, took photos of myself by myself, and now I even make 90 percent of the items by hand, explains Aye. Adorned by Chi is my way of showcasing a side of Black women that isn’t often seen. We’re nerdy, we’re quirky, we’re weird and I want people to know how multifaceted we are!
Again, she self-financed the venture. It cost me $50 to start so it didn’t take much to fund it, laughs Aye. My first products were simple handmade flower crowns and as I grew, I expanded my product line. So, I’m totally self-funded.
Like most entrepreneurs, Aye has some doubts and challenges. She shares, Creating new products used to overwhelm and scare me. I thought what if no one likes it? I have definitely overcome that fear and now I create things all the time!
But her past entrepreneurial experience gave her some valuable lessons she says. I’ve learned that you can’t go it alone. You need a tribe to push and inspire you to reach your highest potential, she notes.
For Aye, having an online business has its pluses and minuses. Pluses: Being able to track how your audience has grown and to see your progress. It’s exciting looking back to where I was just a few months ago to now, she says. Minuses: People have very short attention spans–myself included!
Aye also has another business in which she offers her services as sort of an online stylist for other online businesses. She does logo design as well as designing social media collateral and product labels.