I have always been inspired by how others started out in their career and the journey that has brought them to where they are now. Bamboo spotlight series will be a place for local artists, entrepreneurs, bosses, etc to share their insights, their faith, and a look inside their business endeavors.
Im so excited I get to kick off my series with the lovely Ebony Boyd aka Ebony Westwood, the owner of image & consulting services firm 5th & Westwood. She is a mom, a girl boss, a networking queen, and all around fashionista. I knew Ebony from our days of being in college together at the Art Institute in Durham, N.C. and have been keeping up with her social platforms ever since. Recently, I got to catch up with her about her career, faith and being a black female entrepreneur.
What is 5th & Westwood?
5th & Westwood Imaging & Consulting Firm, we have been in business since 2015. What we do is provide knowledge and experiences that our clients need in the areas of fashion styling, wardrobe styling, and closet organization services. With these three services: fashion styling is more so photoshoots for brand and image campaigns. Wardrobes styling you do a lot of personal shopping, visiting client’s home, see what your client already has in their closets. Just basically taking an old look and making it new again. Along with that we provide traveling services for our clients including packing their bags for them on vacation or business trips. And closet organizations is looking into our clients closets and shopping for them whether it be new clothes or home décor such as new rug or shoe rack.
What is it like being a black female entrepreneur?
First of all it is 2017 and as black people like PERIOD we are beyond a come up! We recognize our power time and time again. It is right here and right now as a black entrepreneur. OMG! It brings goosebumps to my skin to be even to say that without any shame or any defense at all. It feels great to be a black entrepreneur female! And just last year I had a huge transition in life. There were many nights I cried with getting depressed and feeling like I was back at square one. But spending time with God and my daughter I was able to find out so much about myself. You know when you take time to learn about you and the more you feed your energy into the right direction, then what you feed into is going to come back to you. I really started to see black woman doing their thing and I had to tell myself what I was going to do and actually do it! I told myself to push more into the entrepreneurship and I was like the power and the mind is unstoppable! And with everything I was going through and just how amazing God has been to allow me to detox from a lot of things. It feels great to be an entrepreneur.
How did you find the confidence to share your work with others?
As a stylist some people deal with it and other people don’t deal with it. I dealt with it. I dealt with it like man is my work even worth it or is what I am showing even good as such and such? At the time I was going down this slippery slope with my company again and not getting clients. And back in March this style class popped up with 3 celeb stylists who are well known and. I remembered sitting in that class and everything they said out their mouth was everything I've already been through in my personal life, as an entrepreneur, or the direction I was going in my business. So when I saw that, I literally raised my hands and was like Thank you Lord! Now I know it was not my company that has me fearful, it is me who has been afraid to step out there. I had to open up a new door and be like I got this! There is no need to compare my work or my worth to anybody else. And I am on the right path and God showed me that and now it’s just taking that ball of confidence and applying it to the next thing.
How do you keep your brand and yourself relevant within the industry?
I am still learning in my industry, still learning as a person and as a boss woman just like the next entrepreneur is probably learning their career. I can’t go out here and make it seem like I know it all. That’s how it is in the fashion industry in which I learned while staying in Atlanta. People have their quads where you have to be in the circle to be able to have access. When I saw that I was like I don’t even want that. I’m bigger than that. I got to a place where, I am who I am. I had to face reality like I don’t know it all and I don’t need to look like I know it all. So let me look relatable so others can feel me and understand me. Because I never want anyone to come up to me and feel like they can’t even have a conversation with me. That’s what keeps me in the game and ahead of the game because I am not afraid to say that I am still learning.
What keeps my company trending is learning different ways day in and day out to brand myself and more so knowing what I want from my company and not taking anything less for it. Just knowing the vision and end result I have for my business. Keeping the name flowing on social media and fresh in people’s memory.
Do you believe in God, if so how has he impacted your life & career?
It’s just really about trusting God and operating in your gift. Everything that I want I just speak it and just watch it come to life. One thing I will do is to teach myself to stop complaining or don’t allow situations to upset me so fast because the God that we serve is an awesome God. He just makes a way out of no way. When somethings happen I really just need to teach myself to take a second and just stop and take a break from it because if I allow my emotions to get in the way it can mess up everything. God is still going to do what he promised to do. But he probably going to delay it from the simple fact that I am over here going willy-nilly. Trust in God people and He will direct your path.
What advice could you give other aspiring artists/entrepreneurs in this industry or how to break into this industry especially being overly saturated?
Have a business plan, have a vision, write things down. Ask people, go to events, and take pics on your social media so people can see that and can engage with you. Make friends, make business partners. It literally just starts with you, a plan and getting out there.
Any obstacles you had to overcome to get to where you are now?
We are human. We deal with so many emotional roller-coasters daily. Sometimes you feel like this isn’t going to work anymore. But when I start thinking about what if I start working that 9-5 again, am I really going to be happy? HECK NO! Once I get out of that mean mug and see something or remind myself about something I become inspired again. you have to learn as an entrepreneur like many other businesses it takes so much sacrifice for them to get to where there at. It didn’t happen over night it took them time. Having your vision and write it down. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people to help you. In partnering with people, I strongly believe you gain every bit of what God wants you to get from that situation and experience so you can apply it to the next. Don’t be afraid of time and how long it takes you to get there. That can help a brand come a long way.
Any upcoming collabs or events you got in the works for your brand this year?
We are putting on a Ladies Branding & Brunch event in Hampton, Virginia really, really soon with me and two other female entrepreneurs speaking about branding, business, and marketing. This event will help give people some knowledge and encouragement under these three topics!
Keep updated with Ebony & 5th & Westwood!