Since my 30th birthday a few months ago, I've been doing my best to live my life with more intention. I've really been thinking about what I can do to propel myself forward in my personal as well as professional life. What really matters? What do I want for myself? Somewhere along my new journey towards self discovery, I realized that I have developed a sincere need to see other women following their passions and taking advantage of their lives in a meaningful way.
This very idea inspired me to take a closer look at other creative women of color. To be honest, there simply aren't enough sources telling stories from our point of view. What are our dreams... our successes, our struggles? What have we learned? How can we relate to other women? Well, I want to expose my readers to the young, creative, talented, driven, and even entrepreneurial-minded ladies out there that inspire me to keep going. These are women that I truly admire. Hopefully this interview series will become a regular post on the blog. Make sure to comment and let me know if you like it. If it's successful, I'll circle back to give you more.
Today I want to introduce Mrs. Heather Twitty of HALT Boutique. Heather is a Visual Merchandiser in the morning, and a Fashion designer and stylist in the afternoon. Heather is a dear friend of mine, and she has incredible creativity, style, and poise. Please give her a warm welcome!
Name: Mrs. Heather Twitty
Location: Atlanta, GA
Education: Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Fashion and Marketing
American Intercontinental University - Atlanta, Georgia
Occupation: Visual Merchandiser for IKEA / Owner + Designer + Stylist of HALT Boutique
Heather, did you decide on the name 'HALT'?
My name is Heather, my middle name is Anne, my maiden last name is Lang, and my married name is Twitty. So I just put all it together to create the name for my boutique.
How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Sassy, eccentric, creative
What are you currently selling on your website?
Currently I'm designing and selling tab button earrings composed of various types of fabric. I'm thinking about expanding that idea and creating pieces using embroidery and monograms as well. I'm also interested in adding a line of coasters and other kick-knacks for the fashion-forward home.
Who is your customer?
My customer is a woman who does not refer to herself as 'plain' or 'ordinary'. She wants something different, and does not care to rock what everyone else is wearing.
Besides earrings, what else keeps you busy?
I'm also a freelance wardrobe stylist, so anytime I get gigs I like to concentrate on those opportunities. I've styled for movies, a few commercials, and also events. It's kind of sporadic until I can transition full-time, but I'm optimistic. Right now, I'm open to whatever I can do to get my feet wet and to learn more about the styling industry.
|Sparkle + Shine Collection by HALT|
What would you say was the catalyst for you to start your creative business?
When I graduated I knew that I wanted to do my own thing, but somewhere along my journey I got a little stuck. I began working at IKEA after graduation, and I've been with the company for 12 years! I consider myself a very hard worker, and I do enjoy visual merchandising, but I realized that I was investing a lot of myself into a company that wasn't mine. I decided that it was finally time to start depositing something into myself. I was very afraid, and I thought that I might have lost my touch for fashion, but I had to put those doubts behind me and allow myself to follow my dreams.
How would you describe your creative process? How do you stay inspired?
I like to browse magazines and I also enjoy watching tv to keep up with trends. I get most of my inspiration from people. I love to engage with new and interesting people. You never know how different individuals can influence your view of the world, boost your creativity, or help you find beauty in ordinary things.
|Color Me Bad Collection by HALT|
What doubts or obstacles have you had to overcome to get to where you are right now?
Fear and self confidence have been my biggest obstacles. I went to school with very artistic people. You go in thinking you're great at what you do, but then you allow yourself to become deflated when and you meet people that are better at certain things than you. Eventually I had to realize - that's them, and I'm me! I bring something unique to the table like everyone else does, but it took me many years to figure that out. You won't get anywhere when you're constantly worried about what others are doing and analyzing what you don't have in comparison. Sometimes your thoughts can be your worst enemy. But I'm hear to tell you that there is a seat for each of us at the table. I'm sad that it took me so long to learn that, but I know it to be true now.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started your own business?
Success takes time, so you need to have lots of patience and discipline. Greatness does not happen over night. I wish I would have grasped that concept a long time ago because I would have been grinding from the very beginning! If I knew what I know now, I would have had the confidence to start my boutique years ago.
What is the best business advice you've ever received?
I've learned that just because you launch your dream it doesn't mean that you can quit your day job. Sometimes you have to keep your day job and hustle along side your new adventure. Just because you have a good idea doesn't mean that the world around you stops to make room for it. Also, nothing great comes without hard work. I may be cute. I may even have a nice smile and personality. But that doesn't mean that what I want is going to come easy. Nothing is going to fall into my lap. Believe me when I tell you... it just doesn't happen like that.
Who is your biggest supporter?
I would say that my husband is my biggest supporter. My husband constantly encourages me. It probably comes as no surprise that with my fear of failure, I obviously don't want to fail at ANYTHING! He taught me to put my best foot forward. He also let me know that sometimes I will fail, but one day I'll make it work. My husband is my biggest cheerleader for sure! Also, I must include that my family wouldn't care if I wanted to sell painted cotton balls! They continue to support me regardless of what I'm doing.
I would love for HALT earrings to be sold in the mall. I could envision them in Claire's Accessories stores. I definitely see value in continuing sales online, but I would also like my pieces to have store presence for customers who prefer to shop in person. I would also like to have a plethora of products for the HALT customer that extends beyond earrings. Ultimately I want to be a well-known brand.
What is one thing that you think every creative woman should have?
Every creative woman should have a thin, lightweight scarf! You can wear a scarf in the spring, summer and fall. You can wrap your hair with a scarf, put it around your neck in the winter, or even wear it like a cardigan or sweater. If you can't find the perfect necklace, a scarf is a wonderful substitution. If you don't have an extensive wardrobe, you can always count on a scarf to boost your outfit. And guess what - everyone can afford one!
|Pastel Pretties Collection by HALT|
What would you splurge on with $100?
Fabric! Of course I'd use a portion of that fabric to create new earrings, but I also like to sew dresses. I wear pants every day, so it's very refreshing to slip on a nice dress every now and then.
What is one thing you miss from the "good ole' days"?
I miss having an answering machine. In the "good ole' days" it was nice to go to the grocery store and just focus on groceries. Now when you go the grocery store, you're looking at your phone to see who's trying to communicate with you. When we were growing up it was so much easier to focus on the task at hand. It's so much harder to focus now, especially because of social media. I really wish that we could go to those days! I know that cell phones are convenient, and they're wonderful, but sometimes I really wish that I could disconnect.
What is your go-to outfit?
Okay I don't want ya'll to judge me out there, but my go to outfit right now happens to be workout clothes. I don't want people to sleep on this! They're good for working out, but women especially buy workout outfits to look cute in, and outside of the gym. Recently I injured my patella and had to be on leave for three months, so compression pants really help with my knee. Workout outfits are also great for running errands. I hate to say that, but comfort is just so important right now. They also keep me motivated to work out more often!
Within your field, what is your biggest design pet peeve?
Nude leggings! I don't care if you're 100 pounds or 250 pounds! I don't think anyone should walk around with nude leggings because I don't know if you're naked, or if you're just wearing ridiculous leggings!
What advice would you give your 25 year-old self?
I would tell my 25 year-old self to grind, grind, and grind! You lose so much valuable time if you're not grinding. And when you're not grinding, you're falling behind. Whether you're in the fashion industry, the interior design industry, or any creative industry for that matter, you have to stay 10 steps ahead of what's going on. Apply yourself and do everything you can to get ahead. Take an extra internship, volunteer to work in your industry for additional experience, and whatever you do - don't limit yourself! Oh, and if you can't draw, who cares? If you can't sew all that well, who cares? If you keep pushing yourself and practicing, you WILL get it. I mean, just look at Beyonce! She didn't get that fierce overnight!
Styling and Makeup: Heather Twitty
Earrings: HALT boutique
Photography: Rae Cook
Styling and Makeup: Heather Twitty
Earrings: HALT boutique
Photography: Rae Cook
Heather!!! I can't thank you enough for being the first chic little me 'Creative Woman of Color'! I really appreciate your honesty and patience as I corralled the vision that had been tugging at my heart strings for quite some time! For everyone out there reading - if you want to browse more looks from HALT go here. Also please leave a comment and let me know how you enjoyed the feature. Did any of Heather's insights resonate with you? What other questions should be included in future interviews? And if you know a young Creative Woman of Color who would like to be included in future posts, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, thanks for stopping by!