ll archives: AphroChic's Jeanine Hays
I've been admiring AphroChic the brand for quite some time. As an afro-having lady, I found myself instantly smitten by founder Jeanine's Silhouette pillows the first time I ever saw them (circa 2008-ish). I've been following Jeanine's awesome journey since and I am so proud of where it's taken her. Ladies, meet AphroChic founder Jeanine Hays, a personal ladypreneur I love, and Bryan Mason, her husband, AphroChic co-founder and first-ever "manpreneur" featured on our site!
Current location: Philadelphia, PA
Where are you from? Harleysville, PA I hear you asking where that is. It’s ok, everyone does. It’s a small town about an hour outside of Philly.
Education: B.A. from Spelman College, J.D. from American University Washington College of Law
Business & Formal Title: AphroChic, Creative Director & Founder
What is AphroChic and how did it come to be? AphroChic is a home decor brand dedicated to bringing modern design and cultural style home. My husband and I are product designers, authors, and experts on home decor. Our brand is multi-faceted, offering products and expert media. At AphroChic.com you can discover our product line that offers culturally-inspired textiles and wallpaper, read our blog on global design and culture, check out our editorials for About.com and dive into our first book that was published in November, REMIX: Decorating with Culture, Objects and Soul.
AphroChic began as a way to address a gap in the home decor market. Back in 2007, when blogging was becoming big, we noticed that there were no interior design blogs really focused on engaging a diverse audience. We started the blog to focus on design that is diverse and inclusive of a multitude of cultures, with a focus on African-American culture in particular. Two years later we released our first product line. Again, it was to address a gap in the world of modern decor where there were no modern pillows or wallpaper that embraced cultural diversity. We released a line of pieces featuring oversized ikat and chevron designs. And then last year we launched our first book truly crystallizing the AphroChic philosophy on design, while expanding it beyond products into a full-fledged design style. With REMIX we were able to provide readers with a way to bring, what we call, “modern, soulful, style” home in a unique and personal way.
What did you do before? Before my husband and I established AphroChic I was working as a policy attorney for a non-profit organization. I loved my work, helping to improve the lives of women and children, but was in search of a creative outlet. AphroChic satisfied that and the company has been growing literally since the day we launched the blog. It’s been very organic and exciting to watch what was just a hobby grow into a full-fledged design brand.
What did you think you’d be doing now whenever you were 10? When I was 10, I wanted to be a few things - a lawyer, a writer, a designer and a minister. I have accomplished most of the things on that list. Maybe I’ll get to be a minister in my next life.
Is AphroChic your dream job? If not, what else is in the works? This is definitely my dream job. I love what I do each and every day. I get to work alongside my husband. I write daily about things that I’m passionate about. I design products that make people’s homes even more beautiful. It’s a dream come true! Most importantly, at AphroChic, we get to say something new in the world of design. We’re focused on showing that cultural design is relevant and important in contemporary interiors. That’s an important statement. It gets people to think differently, and I love that. I want for people to think about the meaning behind everything they’re bringing home, and how it helps them express who they truly are.
Are you involved in any side hustles, ladypreneur collabs or baby projects? Tell us about them. We have a lot of partnerships at AphroChic. Currently, my husband and I have just become the editors of About.com’s Interior Decorating site. You can also find my writing on other sites like HGTV.com and Style Me Pretty Living.
What does your daily routine consist of? 9am wake up and watch SportsCenter (I love basketball and football and it helps me ease into my day to catch up on what’s happening in the world of sports)
10 am Breakfast
11am - 3pm Work on projects scheduled for the day that are set in my reminders. I love to use the Sunrise app to stay on task. I answer emails, take calls and on Tuesdays and Thursdays work on specific editorial projects.
3pm Lunch Break – Bryan and I usually stop to watch something fun that we’ve DVRd. Brooklyn99 is a favorite right now.
4pm - 7pm Back at work with west coast meetings, and likely writing, writing and more writing
7pm Finally finish work and break for dinner
11pm - 1am Time to to focus on social media, scheduling Twitter and Facebook posts, pinning any news and blog posts, and getting ready for tomorrow!
How do you balance work and life and is that actually even possible? It is possible! I work with my husband so every day our work life and personal life intertwine and that actually works fine for us. We feel pretty balanced. We take down time for the day, leave weekends for hanging with family and friends, and most importantly, we put our marriage and each other first. We work and collaborate together on everything - every article, every product - and having that time to be together and be creative together is something very special. We love what we do every day so there isn’t a moment of feeling imbalanced.
You have to do it and you hate it – what is your least favorite task to do at AphroChic? Shipping. Whether going to the post office or UPS to deliver an order, it is always a horrible experience. I wish shipping could be more fun, fashionable and customer-service oriented.
What are your favorite business lady apps?Sunrise for keeping my schedule intact Evernote for jotting notes and sharing things with my team Everest for helping me keep a journal of all of my accomplishments Vscocam for uploading my images to Instagram Hootsuite for managing our social media, even when we’re on the road
Top 5 favorite cities? New York Paris Los Angeles Washington DC Philly
Red, White or Sparkling? Sparkling cider since I don’t drink. It makes every occasion feel special, even though it’s not champagne.
Tell us the best place to eat in your city. If it’s your kitchen, share your favorite/best recipe. Hmmm...I would have to say my kitchen. My husband is an amazing home chef. His steaks are some of the best I’ve ever had, and his burgers are amazing!
Words to live by: “She Believed She Could So She Did” - saw it on Pinterest and it is something that I truly live by.
In 5 years you’ll be: Living in Paris making calls to our New York office to check in on our new Fall collection and the editorials for our magazine. That’s my dream.
On being a woman entrepreneur: It is awesome as long as you have support. Tap into your family, friends, and other women who you can constantly connect with to help you with any challenges. As women we process things differently. We need to work in community together and help each other so we don’t feel so alone in the world of entrepreneurship. If you know another woman in business, reach out your hand and help her in any way you can. It will be one of the most fulfilling things you ever do.
Socialize with Jeanine
Want more of shots from Jeanine and Bryan's REMIX? Check 'em out Pinterest!