There’s no community quite like a community made up of women who uplift one another… and that’s exactly the kind of online community Alley Jean has created. She’s pulled together women from around the world who are stepping into their creative power and starting businesses. This week, we spoke with Alley about her work as a brand developer and how feminism plays a role in that work.
Introduce yourself! Tell us who you are and what you do.
I‘m Alley Jean, and I am an artistic brand identity developer and visibility mentor. Yes, I am a techy genius but start every project at my drafting table or artist easel. I find the traditional approach to branding is so fulfilling, personal, and fits my clients so much better than a template style. Each client receives a different journey. Why? We are all individuals and incredibly unique in what we offer and serve to the world. No template in the world can tell your brand story for you. I find that there are so many women out there struggling with their business growth. I believe the struggle comes from not knowing how to stand in their power and communicate their message to all of us. They are what I call, empty brands. Yes, beautiful… yes striking… but empty, because they are not diving deep and doing the inward work. There is so much to do before we get to a logo or website, and our society encourages impatience. You can’t “quickly” throw together your life’s work. When I see these statements online, I cringe. I started creating unique brand journeys for my clients out of frustration that one system didn’t fit every woman. I began thinking about how that impacted my emotions on a grand scale. I wanted something different….something more YOU, more ME, More US! At the same time, I realized how mixing paint together, creating illustrations, and even hand-lettering excited me and left a significant impact on my clients. So that is something I have been doing for years now. It is all coming together. My life would look different today had I not read an article about the film Dream, Girl and all the beautiful souled women behind it. It inspired me to keep going, trust my instincts, and design a lifestyle that reflected my aspirations. To be transparent, I led most of my life using someone else’s “blueprint,” and it wasn’t working! I am not a master plan, and I wasn’t meant to fulfill anyone’s goals. I am Alley Jean and ready to take on the world. I give this excitement, empowerment, and momentum to all my clients. I could not be more proud and confident. All it took was for someone to believe in what I was doing. And that someone, is ME.
How do you define feminism and how does that play a part in the work you do?
Feminism plays a very substantial role in what I do. First of all, I only serve women clients. Creating this standard was a huge step for me in my business. It is important to mention that for almost my entire life I felt the need to play by the boy’s rules. They had all the dreams I was looking for, so I thought! In my corporate past life, I was constantly having my work, ideas, and talents given to a man who made more than me and treated me with less respect. Any time I talked about moving up in the company, there was some roadblock that kept me feeling weak and less intelligent. It worked for a while! I spent many years preparing for what I do now. I am the first in my family to go to college. I am the first in the family to run a successful and empowered business. I am the first. So it has been scary, and I have had many experiences where my life and career felt like it wasn’t going to happen for me. I felt that maybe I was dreaming too big. It’s important to me to work with as many female entrepreneurs as possible to create the positive domino effect. Behind every “big brand” company are thousands of amazing women NOT getting the credit for what they provide. They are stuck and believe one day it will be better. For me and in my story that never happened and I have a clue it is not me alone. We want to create not just equality but respect. I want to leave a footprint. I am not sure what that means in detail yet, but I do know that I am meant for more, and so are you. Being a woman is magical, and we are completely 100% different than men. There needs to be more education and messaging behind that. I don’t want to be equal….we can’t be because we are two *totally* different sexes. Aretha Franklin says it best, “R E S P E C T! Find out what it means to me!”
You’ve built your brand on community and collaboration – what’s one lesson you’ve learned from the women in your community that’s stuck with you the most?
A couple of years ago, I took an online hiatus because I was going through something. I feared with all my heart that someone would be affected by this negatively. I believed at the time if I “showed up” my community would find out that I was weak and not the leader I claimed to be. An example of my down-talking and what I like to call “the fraud” or “the imposter self.” Most of us suffer from this, and it will keep you from creating the dreams you desire.
Well, I got over that! Woot woot!
I ended up broadcasting LIVE and letting everyone know what I had been going through and why I had disappeared. The outreach and love that came from this new experience supported my up-leveling in life and business. I will never forget this because it has turned my story upside down and let me re-write it according to my terms!
I asked for assistance in the form of guidance from my sisterhood tribe. I began to trust in ME and THEM <3 Thank goodness!
Asking for help doesn’t look weak, it looks BRAVE. As a leader in my community, I feel amazing when I wake up with the assurance that someone out there, another amazing woman, has my back!
The biggest mistake a female entrepreneur can make is NOT asking her community (you know, the one that loves her no matter what and totally gets her) how she can improve or solve a challenging situation she is experiencing.
I notice that once they get to a certain height in online fame and success…they tend to back off, become invisible, and act like they’re too busy for the community they carefully built. I know a lot of these women personally and can tell you that life is *never* perfect.
Respect comes from knowing someone… if the world doesn’t know the complete YOU, the one that does have bad days, how can we all respect you. Breaking down the wall of fear that stands tall and looks endless is hard to do. It makes us feel small, but that is just your perspective. We sometimes train our brains to tell us a story over and over again. Brainwashing is real ladies, and I know from experience that a story can become harmful. It can become a HABIT! Eeek!
When your truth shines through, people will notice. And they’re not going to judge you; they’re going to freaking LOVE you. This is the virtual jump or leap of faith you may have heard about. People don’t explain all the details, and so many women come crashing down hard in their business. It doesn’t have to be that way because we have a world network that will lift you up. All you have to do is ask Making the leap from any level of your career starts with being YOU and totally showing your sunshine off! We didn’t always want to see the polished and rehearsed you; Unless that is the real you. Lol! To connect with my audience, I just come on the scene every day as authentically as possible. That means my good days and bad ones. It is my goofy days and the serious ones. All my days, completely me and proud as hell of it. What you see and hear is who I am PERIOD. If you were with me in my kitchen having some tea right now, I would be the same as I am online or on stage. We all have been programmed to believe that no one wants this truth of us. And that is a lie. The path I am on right now is so much less resistant, full of fun, and extremely comfortable. It *just* takes a bit of courage to get past the initial doubt.
If you could give one piece of advice to other female entrepreneurs, what would it be?
“Be visible and become brave enough at any stage of your career to keep it real and ask for help from the community of female soulpreneurs that you’ve built! I did, and it changed my life forever.”
How can our readers follow and support your work?
I am officially opening the doors to VisibilityYOU on July 21st at VisibilityYOU.com to help women in their efforts to become more comfortable being in the spotlight and leaving their perfectionism at the door! Right now you can find out more information and sign up for weekly tips. There is a new and supportive facebook group as well that I invite all of you to join in and crush your fears and doubts of being truly you and completely visible online for big success that feels empowering.
To follow my artistic brand identity development and inquire on 1:1 work, please visit RedUnicornMedia.com
If you have questions, supportive messages, or curiosities on how we might create something amazing, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear from you!