Meet Christina Fowler! She’s the creative mastermind behind By Stina Faye, her design boutique that creates brand experiences for businesses in the beauty and wellness industries. Christina has always had an industrious spirit, and her mom planted the seed in her head at a young age. Read on to discover how Christina keeps the big picture in mind, stays compassionate in business, and has learned to charge what she’s worth! (Something we could all use a little help with, right?)
Tell us about your business.
By Stina Faye is a design boutique that specializes in creating brand experiences for businesses rooted in the beauty, wellness, and lifestyle industries. I work one-on-one with my clients to help them hone their special sparkle and stand out from the rest with clarity as well as custom-designed brand identities, marketing pieces, and websites.
THE EARLY DAYS
Describe your childhood in one word.
Describe your childhood personality in one word.
When you were a little girl what career did you dream of having “when you grow up”?
I always dreamed of being a part of the fashion industry while growing up as either a designer or editor!
What was your first job?
I was a waitress at a restaurant that specializes in buffalo wings & onion rings, I certainly spilled and cried a lot, but now I laugh every time I think back at that time!
THE LEARNING YEARS
Where did you attend college? What’s your degree?
I went to community college long enough to get a degree 2x over but ultimately didn’t. After becoming bored with general education requirements, I eventually started taking classes I was interested in so I could learn real, applicable skills—such as classes on fashion illustration & entrepreneurship.
What was your first job out of college?
I worked as a remote fashion stylist for four years after my college journey ended.
List your jobs until you started your own business.
A waitress, Medical Billing Assistant, Stylist, I also owned a clothing line between 2011-2014 that specialized in custom high-waisted shorts.
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL YEARS
What year did you decide to start your own business?
I started my design business in 2016.
Why did you decide you wanted to start your own business?
After my short but sweet business venture with my clothing line, I had a taste for entrepreneurship and knew it was a part of my destiny. Even though my initial business didn’t work out, I was determined to find a way to be my own boss again while pursuing a creative career! Although I was excited about fashion, graphic and web design had been another passion of mine since high school. In 2016, while working full time as a Stylist, I launched By Stina Faye as a creative outlet and second go-round at being a business owner. One year later, I left my job, went full time with my business, and the rest is history!
How is your business different today than when you first started?
Oh gosh, it is so incredibly different than the day I launched! I think the biggest difference now is that I’ve recalibrated my customer experience, so it’s equally about mentorship and design. For a while I was a design machine, providing clients with the deliverables I promised but realizing they still had no clue how to maximize what we created together. Now I make sure to take things a lot slower, understand client’s stories and goals, and explain the intention of every deliverable I deliver. I try to touch on every facet a business needs to have in order when it comes to branding + marketing, all while mentoring along the way.
What three lessons have you learned running your own business?
- Don’t take things personally. Everyone is fighting their own battle; it’s important to incorporate compassion + understanding into every scenario you face as a business owner.
- Always be thinking ten steps ahead. If you can’t envision the bigger picture of what you’re creating as a business owner, you’ll end up going around in circles rather than scaling upward.
- Charge your worth and then add tax. This may sound cliché, but it’s been one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn! It’s okay to charge a premium price if you believe in the results you’re providing your customers. Especially if it means you can serve others in a way that allows you to feel balanced and at your highest potential, rather than overworked and pushed to your max. Valuing myself, my expertise, and especially my time has been a battle, but I’m proud to say that I’ve come a long way.
What’s next for your business? Top 3 goals.
- Create a platform that enables me to help more people at once; I’m just not sure of the best way yet. Right now, I think it may be a course, book, or a group coaching program. Time will tell on this one—but it’s the next goal I have in mind!
- Book a public speaking gig. This one scares the crap out of me, I’m not much of a public speaker, and it’s one of my biggest fears. But I know if I can do this, I can do anything.
- Help a client get their products into a national retailer through branding & marketing. This one is coming close, I can feel it!
What’s your strongest skill set that’s helped you succeed?
I would have to say it’s a tie between my intuition and communications skills. Communication has always been effortless for me. I think it has to do with my instinctive ability to always try to understand people’s motives & mindsets. Asking the right questions, and taking the time to listen as much (or more) than you speak, will always keep you in-tune with the people that matter most to your business.
On this journey, who have been your three most supportive people?
I love this question, mostly because no one has ever made me think about it before. I’d have to say the most supportive people in my business journey have been my parents, my fiancé, and my best friend.
THE BUMPS IN THE ROAD
Have you had any hardships or setbacks in your business or personal life? How did you overcome them – did they make you stronger or learn something new?
I would say the biggest hardship I’ve had to overcome was myself. Mastering my mindset and molding my confidence has been imperative to my success as a business owner. Like most people, I’m my worst critic, and I spent a lot of time doubting myself and manifesting my worst fears.
The darkest point of my business journey had to be when I decided to go full-time. What was supposed to be the brightest, most exciting chapter of being a business owner quickly spiraled downward into a land of uncertainty and depression. I worried about EVERYTHING and my fears projected into my reality as well. It took me realizing I needed help – I wasn’t ever going to be ready to give up to snap out of it. I invested in a mentor who helped me fill the gaps, and the sky has been the limit ever since. I’ve learned so much about how I can be mindful with every decision I make, and how to become the best version of myself in the past year.
ALL ABOUT YOU
Did you always dream of owning your own business or was it a surprise on your career path?
Owning a business was something I always dreamed of. My mom also implanted it in my brain at a young age; she always told me she could picture me owning my own storefront some day.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I love gardening! Tending to my veggie and flower gardens in my backyard takes up a lot of my free time. I’m also quite the foodie. Not sure if eating is a hobby, but I sure do love trying out new dining experiences 🙂
Tell us about your family.
My parents are from Jamaica and raised me in a household that was as Jamaican as it was American, so I got the best of both worlds growing up and didn’t lose my roots. I get my easy-going personality + sense of humor from my father and my artistic eye + ambition from my mother—I think these qualities go hand in hand with the career path I’m on today. I also have a younger brother who’s pretty much my polar opposite. He’s really smart about more practical things, like engineering and economics, and leaves the artsy stuff up to me. I’m engaged to the most stylish man in the world, who works as a personal stylist & custom clothier. Lastly, we have a fluffy fur-baby named Bruce with the best cat personality you’ll ever come across and his very own Instagram page—@bruceragdoll!
Describe your career path to-date in one word?
Girls Who Code
Age you’d like to retire at?
50 feels like a good age to retire. Time will tell!
Travel location on your bucket list?
I have so many, next up is between Italy/The Amalfi Coast, Morocco, and Bali.
Introvert or Extrovert?
Night owl or early bird?
Early bird that can’t stay up past 9:30 most days 🙂
Favorite podcast, YouTube channel, or blog?
Right now, I’m obsessed with the YouTube channel Moon & Rock. It’s about a vegan couple who lives off the grid in Hawaii, and I just can’t get enough of them.
Favorite business book?
Resonate by Alex Wolf
Favorite business tool?
Dubsado, hands down!
Three female entrepreneurs you admire:
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