Femme Founders: Michelle and Sharlene of Zoe Love Designs

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Social media is becoming a more dominant factor in the marketing strategies of many successful organizations. Many of the companies featured by Equality for HER have been discovered via Twitter or Instagram. I learned about the amazing products and creations of Zoe Love Designs via Instagram while searching for Afrocentric designers. Check out the creators of Zoe Love Designs, Michelle and Sharlene, in this week's edition of Femme Founders. 

Tell me about the brilliant minds behind Zoe Love Designs.

We are Michelle and Sharlene the creators of Zoe Love Designs; A cultured boutique drawn from our love and influence of West African and Caribbean culture. We use those influences to express a funky artistic perspective on black art and fashion through t-shirts. We are from Los Angeles CA. and are both afro artist. As far as college, I (Sharlene) attended a small art school in Pasadena, CA and I (Michelle) have worked for entertainment studios and am a self taught photographer and art director.

Who inspires you? Why?

Our inspiration comes from many sources actually, we are enormous fans of western pop culture, afrobeats music, dancehall, african fashion, textile, art, and bright colors. Why? because to us African and Caribbean fashion and pop culture is fun, colorful and aesthetically beautiful. Everything about it makes us feel joy and makes us feel fierce! So being afro artist we want to embody that fun, colorful fierceness into our designs.

What are your favorite designs you've produced since you've started the company?

So far our favorites have been the Head Wrap Girl t-shirt series. We love how magical and empowering women look in headwraps especially the wicked style we constantly see on Instagram and Pinterest. It amazes us how creative they make their headwraps look, we can get inspiration for days just looking at their fly style. 

How does social media play into your business plan?

Social media plays a huge role in our business plan because our customers see our vision through photos we post on Instagram. We can tell our story through photos and videos.

What is the most exciting part about being an entrepreneur?

Working for ourselves! And  having a platform to express ourselves creatively through fashion. It makes our day when we receive good feedback from customers about how good our tees make them feel, it gives us courage to grow our business and lets us know we are going in the right direction. 

What advice would you give to someone launching a new brand?

  • Don't hold back when it comes to your designs, put your all into it and do some research on whats out there. See what is missing in what ever industry you are in and create that missing link. 
  • Put yourself out there, contact and partner with influencers to help more people find out about your brand, and pay for advertisements. The more people find out about your brand the faster you will get loyal customers.
  • Create a good rapport with your followers on social media. Try to engage them with good content, such as creating a lifestyle around your product. Try to influence potential customers that your product would go well with their lifestyle, and only post positive content so that people get excited about visiting your page.
  • Take clear, crisp photos of your product for your social media site and website. Fuzzy or blurry photos look unprofessional and amateur.
  • Lastly, there is no such thing as a perfect time or situation to start working on your business. So don't be scurred, start now on your entrepreneurial dream!

How can we support your business?

You lovely people can support us by following us on Instagram @zoelovedesigns and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zoelovedesigns/ and by buying our merchandise at www.zoelovedesigns.com