Success means… something different for everyone, and that's ok.
Three adjectives that deserve me are... ambitious, resourceful, honest.
You can’t run a business without… passion.
In the next 10 years I will be… still learning, I hope.
I'm the creator and photographer behind an inspiring project called All Natural Project. ANP celebrates and empowers women through natural light photography and honest words. I don't use artificial lighting and I don't use photoshop.
After I photograph each woman, I ask her, "What are you celebrating in life, today?" Her words and portraits are then shared with the ANP community.
I started All Natural Project because it's important to shine a light on our natural beauty and things we're celebrating in life. Especially because a lot of the content that comes our way gets curated. It's not always attainable for all.
Currently, I'm holding open studio portrait sessions in Seattle and New York. You can learn more about those through the "How It Works" and "Open Studio" insta stories @allnaturalproject — my website is coming soon.
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur? Is having your own business something you always wanted to have?
I have always wanted something of my own. When I started my journey as an entrepreneur, it was a combination of my experience and wanting to create something. I've learned a lot over the past four years, which has shaped me into the entrepreneur I am today.
How did you come up with your business idea? What inspired you?
I started ANP as a creative outlet, I wanted to take natural portraits of women to highlight their natural beauty. And to celebrate something in their life. I'm inspired by all the women around me who are doing amazing things. Whether they are starting a company, raising kids, or accomplishing their fitness goals. It's important to celebrate our accomplishments — big and small — more often!
What were you doing before this? How did it prepare you for the entrepreneurial life?
I was running my activewear line, Alexis Mera, for four years. Before that, I worked in fashion as a product developer for almost 10 years.
My product development experience helped me manage the product lifecycle for my line. But, I was not prepared for all the other aspects of the business. I didn't even know what an Instagram hashtag was when I launched my line in 2015.
Do you have a fixed work routine? Is it important to have one? Any tips for our readers?
This is always a tough one. Sometimes I work all day at my kitchen counter in my pajamas — keeping it real here. My morning routine is consistent though. I wake up early, check emails while I drink my morning tea, and focus on my "to-do" list for the day. After 10 AM my routine is less consistent. Sometimes I go to The Riveter to work. Sometimes I have photo shoots or client meetings — I'm also a consultant. I try to exercise at least three to four times per week at whatever time works best with my schedule.
What are your short/long term goals?
My short term goal for All Natural Project is to launch a website. I'd also like to build out my content and community through open studio portrait sessions. Long term, I'd like to partner with other brands and companies whose values align with mine. We can create beautiful content together that celebrates and empowers women.
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
I have had to sacrifice my time. Time with family, friends, and time for myself. But, when you're building something of your own, it doesn't feel so much like a sacrifice.
What is your proudest accomplishment of this year? What are you looking forward to the most in the next 12 months?
My proudest accomplishment is having the courage to step away from one business that I started to focus my time and energy on new things. I wasn't happy anymore and I needed to make a change. It was one of the hardest experiences I've had in my 32 years on this planet.