Thanks for sharing your story with us Aleka. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My purpose is to inspire individuals to live authentically, as a result, Naturally A.C.T. was launched as a lifestyle blog and event hub for how-to workshops. I have been a professional portrait and lifestyle photographer for over a decade. I am privileged with the gift of noticing the inner beauty in others and portraying that beauty through my company ACTPhotoMedia. In 2015 co-founder of Kinky Hair Connection an annual event created to connect, support, and encourage naturals as well as those considering the transition and actually transitioning. The goal is to help women and young girls embrace who they were born to be – naturally.
In 2019 Wrapped by A.C.T. was birthed. Wrapped by A.C.T. is the expression of Naturally A.C.T. through fabrics and headdresses. The head-wrap line empowers those who choose to adorn themselves with a sense of pride and provides an outlet for creativity.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The beginning of my journey was very difficult. I struggled with self-doubt. I knew I had good ideas yet felt that no one cared. After I hosted my first workshop and people actually showed up, I realized what I had to offer people not just wanted but they needed.
My journey to self-confidence and entrepreneurship has been a challenge. I have stopped and started more times then I would like to admit. I have learned the importance of having people around you who will remind you of your why even if they don’t understand. Yes, there are many things you can do on your own however, you will soar when you have the right people in your corner.
Moving forward I am determined to be consistent. I have seen the rewards of consistency and not giving up, it’s worth it to get up and try again after you have been knocked down. My advice for others – DO NOT QUIT! If you need to pivot, pivot just do not quit.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Wrapped By A.C.T. – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
With three businesses ACTPhotoMedia which focus on photography and other media, NaturallyACT focuses on sharing my experiences via blogging and how-to workshops and Wrapped by A.C.T. which is the expression of Naturally A.C.T. through fabrics and headdresses.
I have learned to be a master multi-tasker. What sets me apart from others is knowing I can’t do it alone. In addition to amazing family, friends and the best customers, Corinthia E. Croom serves as the creative director with ACTPhotoMedia. While Connie’s Fig Leaf Shop serves as the lead seamstress for Wrapped By A.C.T.
I am most proud of my newest venture Wrapped By A.C.T. Many women want to wear headwraps as a fashion statement yet don’t know how to tie them. Wrapped by A.C.T offers a variety of satin lined headwraps with how-to tips and tricks to keep you looking fabulous.
Wrapped by ACT has a limited-edition approach, with ten fabric options and four design choices in stock. The fabrics are sourced from London and the patterns are handpicked. We used a local seamstress to make each headwrap. A unique option you’ll find is the satin lining to protect the hair from friction. In addition to pre-recorded how-to videos, we offer a one-on-one online sessions for an additional fee.
There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
Before you seek out a mentor, coach or career sponsor, you need to know what your end goals are. Each serves a different role. Write out your goals both tangible and intangible. The same goes for networking ask yourself some questions.
I like to use the 5Ws” guideline in just about everything (Who, What, Where, When and Why). Example: Why am I attending this event? Who will be there? Why do I want to connect this person? Why should this person connect to me? What do they have to offer that I need? What do I have to offer that they need? Where can this go from here?
The key element in any connection, especially with a mentor, is the follow-up plan. You need to ensure you both are aware of objectives and goals. This can also be applied when networking.
I believe intentionality is important, handing our business card out just because is not the best use of your time or theirs. When you go to networking events it good to take your time to get to know people. Additionally, following up with people will set you apart, many people take business cards and don’t do anything with them. Follow up and follow through growth is key.
Head-Ties Start at $20-40