Last month we started a new series titled “Roses of Color” which highlights black and brown owned businesses in Pasadena, CA. Being that this month is Women’s History Month, we want to highlight an upcoming designer and entrepreneur who is leading the charge as a Black woman in this new renaissance of creators coming out of the city of Pasadena. Before we get into this article it is mandatory that I start the article off properly with a quote by none other than the king of jewelry himself Gucci Mane aka Guwop.
“Please let me floss my jewelry, So much ice make ya eyesight blurry, jewelry, have on too much jewelry”
Before Kanye West was sampling Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds are Forever” for his song “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” the history of jewelry in black culture goes back to roots of African culture and the symbolism of jewelry and what it meant within our culture. Jewelry for different tribes symbolized different messages such as wealth, power, marriage rituals, and even the beginning of womanhood. In Nipsey Hussle’s virtual experience documentary his business partner Adam considered getting a new chain a “personal trophy” which represented achieving a new level of success and the hard work paying off. Jewelry will always be a positive representation to express our achievements.
It was important for me personally to highlight a young black woman for this month’s article because I am using my platforms to push putting black women to the forefront for their contributions to society since mainstream media has always tried to push black women to the back. Without further ado, I would like to introduce Shellese Aunjé, a jewelry & clothing designer from Pasadena, CA.
Hello Shellese, it’s a pleasure to be able to do this interview with you, how’s everything going during this recovery process of the crazy year we just had?
The pleasure is mine! I am very excited to have the opportunity to meet with you. 2020 was definitely a crazy year for us all! My business went through a few loopholes last year. We had our peak moments as well as a few quiet moments, but nonetheless we are recovering well and continue to be supported throughout the pandemic so I am grateful for that!
Can you let the people know a little about yourself?
I am the founder of Shellese Aunjè; a jewelry line specializing in women’s jewelry and apparel through intimate and custom pieces. I am from Pasadena California, a small city full of entrepreneurs and visionaries. My desire to grow my own company stems from the hobbies I picked up at an early age. I have always had a sense of creativity and love for fashion.
Can you tell us a little bit about your brand and how you got started?
In early adulthood, I landed a few jobs in wardrobe styling. I would visit different showrooms and do pulls for talk shows, videos, magazine covers, and Grammy appearances. Having access to the show rooms with one of a kind pieces gave me a feel of exclusivity. I could visit my clients wearing custom pieces designed by me and it was then that I knew I wanted more for my name. Unfortunately in that field of work, your next project is never promised and you can be replaced or let go at any moment. As this began to happen I decided to step out on faith and create a name for myself. I want it to be the “go to“ and I knew my work would speak for itself. I knew that tomorrow would never come if I continued to walk in fear!
What is the purpose of your brand?
The purpose of Shellese Aunjè is to provide a level of exclusivity to each client through statement pieces that make them look and feel expensive. We pride ourselves on being very affordable and commit to providing the best experience to all the encounters. I wish to display a level of courage it takes for anyone wanting to tap into their purpose, and I hope to encourage and motivate people to believe in themselves and go for what they want.
How do you think your Business or Brand can contribute to the community?
I believe my business can contribute to the community by raising awareness to the power of the black dollar when we pour black back into our community. Before the pandemic, we were blessed to hold an event dedicated to donating toys to the Children’s Hospital and proceeds to the sickle cell foundation of California. This brought awareness to the disease which predominantly affects one and 13 African-American babies. The goal is to continue to find ways to support and get back to my community.
Where do you see your brand going in the next 3-5 years?
In the next 3–5 years, I see my brand growing and extending. During the pandemic, I began to add nail services as another extension of Shellese Aunjè and have managed to build a clientele. Soon I plan to add more women’s apparel and hope to also provide categories for men and children as well. I see myself as a one stop shop!
If you could give your younger self any advice, what would you tell them about creating a business/brand to help move them along quicker?
I would tell my younger self to go into every opportunity with the utmost confidence. Do not worry about who is in the room, acknowledge that you are just as important and worthy to be in the room as anyone else. Believe in yourself and count every fall as an opportunity to grow and become more of what you weren’t yesterday. I would tell my younger self not to let the opinions of others sway my judgment. If God has set it on my heart, it will never be too big to accomplish.
Lastly, are there any other businesses or brands you guys are liking right now besides your own?
I would like to shout out:
Larieluxe – The greatest luxury lash extension tech!!!
Deja brejae – Devoted to producing handmade designs allowing women to love the skin they are in.
Youareenough– who build, uplift and empower queens through apparel
Wolf – customs who specializes in iPhone repairs and personalized custom housing for iPhones.
Wearcfg – Known for their athletic wear and uplifting those who have encountered hardships through their bold statement apparel.
Before we conclude this interview, I would like to thank Shellese for taking the time out to do this interview with myself and Culture Honey. I would also like to shout out Chris Hollis for connecting us with Shellese so we could make this happen.
Once again please go and follow and support Shellese Aunjé as well as the other brands she has listed. Also be sure to follow Culture Honey on Facebook & Instagram for more articles about different topics. We appreciate you for reading and tapping in! In addition to her website, for more information on Shellese Aunjé, check out this YouTube video as well: