NN: When/where was Artistic Aya launched?
AA: Artistic AYA officially launched in Richmond, Virginia years before anyone knew about it. I took the business beyond the idea stage in 2004 and launched to the public in Washington, DC.
NN: What is your background in art/fashion?
AA: My approach to art and fashion is somewhat unusual. For me, it’s about performance, experimentation, architecture and more. I studied art, fashion, and chemistry in undergrad.
NN: I’m diggin ALL of your paper jewelry very innovative yet stylish! Can you give us a little background behind the concept and process of this very unique design method?
AA: My mother saw how much I enjoyed creating things and showed me how to make paper beads out of magazines. She learned this from her Grandmother in Trinidad. I feel honored to be able to carry on a part of my history. Through experimentation, I created new techniques and played with different papers. It’s my modern twist on a traditional craft.
NN: You recently launched a new line of luscious organic body scrubs…How did this opportunity come about for you?
AA: When I was a little girl, I planned on becoming a dermatologist. I realized later that art was my true passion. Through the sugar scrubs, I can be both the mad scientist and artist that I am. Plus appearing on ‘The Today Show’ in 2007 definitely helped me take my organic beauty idea more seriously.
NN: You truly are a multi-talented entrepreneur, please tell us a little bit about FEMME FETE?
AA: fEMME fETE(www.femmefete.net) is an event that I started in 2004. It’s a fabulous venue for independent designers and creative businesswomen to find exposure in the Washington, DC area. Through these events, designers have found the inspiration and encouragement to take their business to the next level.
NN: You’ve accomplished so much at such a young age…Where do you go from here and what are some more of your life goals?
AA: Thank you. I just celebrated a birthday so I’m thrilled that you think I’m young 🙂 I don’t think I’m at a place in my life where I can sit back and say…my work is done. I’m still on the grind everyday and still believe that one day it will all come together. In my effort to give back, I recently started working at a therapeutic center for at-risk and emotionally disturbed kids. Through the program, I’m able to use my background as a tool to help improve the quality of their lives.
NN: What are three words that you would tell an aspiring entrepreneur
AA: “Don’t Give Up!” (It really is as simple and as hard as it sounds.)