Jackie Aina is a digital personality, entrepreneur, and beauty maven. With almost 13 years on YouTube, Jackie has advocated for better visibility of Black women and people of color within the beauty industry. Now, she continues to spread her message of diversity, inclusivity, and self care within the lifestyle industry and through her brand, FORVR Mood.
Q&A WITH JACKIE AINA
So I've always been somewhat of a fragrance and perfume lover since childhood. Naturally, as I became an adult, that love for perfume translated into home fragrance as well. As a collector and someone who didn't always necessarily have the money to splurge, I definitely noticed there was a huge white space for home fragrance brands that weren't super expensive, but also weren't so inexpensive that they aren't on-trend and don't match the aesthetic and vibe that I like in my home. I found that brands were either too serious or too playful, and there was hardly ever anything in between. So I knew that eventually, I wanted to start a brand of my own.
What I love about the wellness space in particular is that black women are never hardly ever at the forefront of it. So with my brand, I get to literally handpick and curate the storytelling and the type of people that we see at the forefront of home fragrance, luxury lifestyle, and just being taken care of. But you don't necessarily also have to spend an arm and a leg to enjoy and indulge.
WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED AS A WOMAN AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
I think when you are a woman, a lot of times you’re underestimated and you're not taken serious. When you're a black woman, that's taken to another level. You're underfunded and investments are incredibly challenging for a lot of black women-owned businesses. You have to almost in a way prove yourself three, four times over and you are hardly ever looked at for your potential. You're always having to prove that you are of value, that you can sell, or that you can, you know, meet certain milestones. Whereas I find in my experience, a lot of my other peers in the industry who are not black, don't oftentimes come across those hurdles. They will get support and sometimes investments just based on potential. Whereas black women don't often have that privilege.WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I think I'm most proud of just the fact that I've gotten this far and not lost my mind. I think that's an incredibly, uh, overlooked skill. A lot of us day to day are just trying to do our best, like no matter what industry we're in, we're all just trying to do our best. I'm very, very proud of the fact that at the level that I operate at and with the number of responsibilities that I have, I still manage to just like be okay and like, be whole.WHICH POWERFUL WOMAN DO YOU ADMIRE AND WHY?
Hmm, totally Pat McGrath, for me, she’s the queen! I think Pat is always continuing to be at the forefront of trends. She's incredibly positive focus and I just get so much inspiration from her artistically, creatively, but also professionally and personally.HOW CAN WE ENCOURAGE MORE WOMEN TO PURSUE ENTREPRENEURSHIP/LEADERSHIP ROLES IN THEIR CAREERS?
I think the hardest thing is not allowing outside opinions to influence the choices and decisions that you make in business. Especially as a woman, everybody wants to offer their 2 cents. I think you have to learn how to navigate that without getting distracted. If it's coming from someone who's in the path or, or going down the path that you wanna be in, then absolutely, by all means, soak up as much knowledge as you can. But I think sometimes people have a hard time seeing what women's leadership looks like. So they always feel like they have to add input or tell you what to do or tell you what not to do. And it's very easy to get distracted. Just try to trust your gut, follow your heart and your intuition. Don't be afraid to take risks.
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