Joy Ubani


I remember when I first started blogging back in 2013. If you can't recall my work from that early on, it's probably because you never actually saw my posts. I would write raw pieces based on my post-grad experiences, and document my favorite thrift finds with styling tips. Yet, I never shared any of it. I'd coyly send over each blog piece to one friend of mine. Initially, she read the posts, and emailed me a response to let me know her thoughts and words of encouragement. Eventually after about 3 months in, she asked me to stop sending them to her, challenging me to actually share them with others on social media. "You're work is good, Joy! I can't be the only one who reads it. And why have a blog if no one sees it?," she asked. (Clearly, she was annoyed). I was shook, with no response.

It makes sense, right? Write out lovely posts, take stylish outfit photos, then hide them from the world. My lack of confidence led to a point of inaction (and likely, missed opportunities). Eventually, I accepted her challenge (after I realized that she wasn't being mean, but being real), because hiding my creative side made no sense.

Believe me, since the start of my brand back in 2013 and launch of my business a year later, I've learned the power of boldness and how it can make or break the success of your brand. Here are 5 ways to operate in boldness as you curate your brand:



  1. Lean in: Embrace every possibility of failure and frustration. There's no doubt that you'll encounter those days where you're stuck in middle of a great idea, and the perfect execution plan. Lean in and get ready to tackle those days with just a much grit as the days you're inspired into greatness.
  2. Take risks: I've found that progression in your career often depends on the risks you take. So, post the photo, publish the blog, sell the e-book (ahem), launch the clothing company. Take the (calculated) risk and you'll make progress towards your goal (even if you fail). Remember those Youtubers you've never heard of? Ya, me neither...
  3. Be bold: Stop caring about who's watching (because people will always have something to say). Make great strides no matter who sees (or who doesn't see) you. I found that my favorite brands and bloggers are the ones my friends and I call "ballsy". The ones who launch a new product, the ones who do giveaways, or the ones who post the controversial IG TV videos. They just don't care. Yet, here we are leaning in and watching them closely...well because, we actually thrive from their boldness and we are eager to witness their next big move. Their level of confidence has a positive impact on their audience. 
  4. Set the bar higher: Once you lean in to the possibility of failure and claim boldness, you'll begin to operate in excellence. Set out to aim high in all that you do and stray far from mediocrity. To make your next move better than your last, go ahead and invest in the brand coach, pay for the website service, enroll in that masterclass. Up the quality in each piece of content you produce. Constantly ask yourself, "what am I doing to raise the bar higher" [for yourself and your brand]?
  5. Believe in yourself: God has equipped us with a spirit of boldness, and not one of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Once you have the vision, God has supplied us with so many resources to execute it. Believe in your God-given ability and share your craft. We're waiting for you!
What are 4 ways you will operate in boldness in the next 30 days? 
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9 

outfit from:

ZARA

PHOTOGRAPHS BY FEMI OLUBODE


#Bossgirl. A hashtag that you've likely seen more times than you cared to. A familiar one that I have to admit carries less weight since I actually became self-employed...or a boss girl. If I'm being honest, I never really intended to be a #bossgirl so soon. It was my human plan to work my way up the ladder, and eventually start saying "I'm my own boss" when I became a highly sought after fashion marketing guru and public relations maven. As chance would have it, here I am, a #bossgirl. Believe me, this new title has been a learning process every step of the way. Let me preface the rest of this post by saying that I love my job and I actually can't see myself doing anything other than brand consulting, marketing and public relations for fashion, beauty, and wellness brands. I realize daily that this is my dream job. And it is so only by the grace of God. Seriously. But, there are some things I wish I knew about self-employment before I jumped ship. This post only grazes the surface.


  1. You will feel fear: It's almost inevitable. I've come to realize that while you're on the pursuit of self-employment, feeling fear is not absent from the journey. As confident as you might be while you're on the journey there are moments when fear will come knocking. For me, fear kicks in during times where I'm tasked to make a big decision, one that impacts myself and my (one amazing) employee. But when you feel the fear, do the task anyway. Take that leap regardless. No matter the outcome, the reward is knowing you've done it and not held back.
  2. You can't leave anything up to chance: When I think of self-employment, the first words that come to mind are action and reaction. Every step you take will have an outcome, be it positive or negative. People fail to realize that the first step in becoming self-employed is being accountable taking that leap...whether you have everything figured out or not. If you work in an industry that makes your job dependent on securing clients, producing content, building a network...you can't survive on chance and hoping for favorable results. You get what you put in.
  3. You must find time to rest: Being self-employed does not mean you are trading your 9-5 for a 9-9 (or whatever they say), it means you are learning to manage your time, prioritize tasks, and rest when the burden gets heavy. (Matthew 11:28). There really is such thing as being a workaholic. But don't give in to the hype of cultivating a 24 hour work environment. Avoid burnout and be mindful about setting time out for rest. After all, if you want to give your clients your very best, how can you pour from an empty vessel?
  4. It's okay necessary to set boundaries (with clients and with family): I absolutely love getting phone calls, text messages, and emails! I get excited for human contact and always think it's sweet that someone took the time to reach out and say hello or make an inquiry. I'm learning that in order for me to have moments of rest, I must set (and abide by) my office hours. As much as I love people, I can't reply at the immediate ping of a notification...and that's okay. #icantkillmyself.
  5. I actually get annoyed when people ask me "did you get a lot done today"?: LOL. I'm realizing that there are some days I spend waiting. While you can't leave everything up to chance, you also have to exercise patience. There are only so many emails to send out, and so much research to do. When you ask if we got a lot done, it slyly implies that perhaps we're just sitting at home watching Netflix, and aimlessly scrolling through our Instagram timelines.
  6. Be assertive without being aggressive: When you're your own boss, you literally have no one else around to get in the rings for you. As an employee, when it gets rough you can turn to your supervisor or HR and seek advise from colleagues when you need resources or a second opinion. I'm learning the art of confidence and the power of exercising my voice (without leaving a negative impression on a client). This means being assertive when negotiating contracts and pay, being bold and speaking up when you feel under-appreciated, and utilizing your resources (mentors, network, Google), when you have questions.
  7. Realize that you are your brand: This one is my favorite and probably one of the most important lessons I'm learning so far. As my own boss (as obvious as this may seem), I've come to realize that I must carry myself in such a way that offers an accurate representation of my brand. With confidence. In the age of social media, we can create content that depicts a brand message and aesthetic that we want our audience to associate us with. I'm learning that this also should transcend into my everyday. For example, dressing  in such a way that aligns with my brand's story, speaking in a way that articulates my brand message, and interacting with everyone in a way that says #bossgirl.

If you're interested in building your personal brand (or business brand), I've created a brand audit to help you with my last point. 



Download it here for free! 

Any hacks on self-employment? I'd love to hear your stories & truths you're discovering along the way. Share with me on insta or on the comments below :)

WHAT I'M WEARING:

Red crepe blazer: Zara
White Joshua 1:9 Scripture tee: forever 21 
red mini skirt: zara

PHOTOGRAPHS BY Femi Olubode


Hey loves!
These past few weeks have been incredibly full and an absolute blessing. I traveled to Mexico to celebrate my sister's last couple months as a single lady, brought in my 27th birthday, then flew to London for yet another Beneath Your Beauty event.

I had a chance to catch up with a friend while in London (who recently launched a fashion label) and he brought it to my attention that I've been a business owner for four years *insert sweaty/smiley emoji* Truth be told, I didn't even realize it's been four whole years since launching Beneath Your Beauty and building my branding and marketing agency! God is so faithful.

One thing I wish I did when I first launched Beneath Your Beauty, is build a consumer profile. (I finally built one two years ago, and it's been so helpful in attracting a specific audience and making our content/events more niche).



What's a consumer profile (or persona)?
A consumer profile is a way of describing your ideal consumer (very specifically) in order for you to create content and/or products that specifically appeal to them. Creating consumer profiles will allow you to reach your consumers more effectively. Now, it's possible you have more than one type of ideal customer (maybe you have more than one focus area), so don't hesitate to play around and have fun when creating your consumer profiles! Without getting too much in depth, I'm sharing things to consider when building your consumer profile.

5 Things to Consider When Creating Your Consumer Profile:

  1. What she values: It's important to have an idea of what your ideal consumer values. This can honestly be anything. Maybe she values family time, saving money, getting to see the world, or equality. Making this determination will enable you to deliver content directly in line with her values.
  2. How she spends her time: Think about a day in her shoes. Where does she go after work?  How does she prioritize her time? How much time does she spend browsing through social media?
  3. How she shops (clothes, food, household): This is my favourite one because I'm an avid shopper. You're ideal consumer probably is too. Consider whether she shops online, in stores, (or in her friend's closets). What are her favourite stores? If you're building a fashion brand, where does get her fashion inspiration?
  4. Her current status (demographic): Where does your ideal consumer live? Is she in a particular age bracket? Is she employed or in school? If so, where? Consider where she works and how much she might earn (hint: this will help you determine your price points if you are selling any content/products).
  5. Her dreams and aspirations: It's also important to cater to the woman your ideal consumer aspires to become. Consider her hopes and dreams and deliver content that will help her reach her personal full potential.
These points might seem overwhelming at first glance. Don't be afraid to have more than one consumer profile (maybe you aspire to reach more than one type of person). You might also consider allowing your brand to evolve as your ideal consumer also evolves. Why is this all so important? Because in order for your niche content or product to have an impact, you have to identify a clear target. Click here to access additional resources and keep an eye out for more posts in this segment! 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Sylvia Chuku

When I first began my blog back in 2013 (a few days after graduating from college), I was committed to sharing the real of being a twenty-something, chasing dreams, and knocking on every door. Unfortunately, some of the journey comes with disappointment and hard lessons you have to master if you want to make it.

So let's get back to that. In this post I want to share a lesson that's dear to my heart: how I learned to stop waiting for people to clap for me.
THIS. I hope y'all hear me and get this.

For a while I felt severely under-appreciated in almost all aspects of my life. Forget the fact that I felt so underwhelmed by the level of support I was receiving from  friends. Let me tell y'all...it was rough. During the times I completed a task, submitted a project proposal, or produced content/events, the room was silent. I would look around and expect the people around me to cheer me on and rejoice as I crossed the finish line. The silence was deafening. The people I thought cared did not show up for me in the way I expected. After a while I resolved to take a break from creativity. Because if no one cares about your success there's obviously no point in trying right? Wrong. (I hope you didn't nod your head in agreement there. But if you did, I'm here for you #bossgirl).
I only grew more frustrated trying to figure it all out. I had questions: I'm doing so well, why won't you clap for me? I'm living out my dream, do you see me? I'm trying to impress you, why don't you care?

I allowed their silence to stifle my growth.

Then one day I realized I couldn't sit on the desires that God had given me. I had to take a step back and go back to my why. I had to heal and learn to love myself enough to use my gifts. I learned to understand that I was not creating nor was I created to please others. That my efforts were still powerful despite who was watching. So I kept creating without waiting for people to validate me. I continued to share my gifts as though I were unrestrained. I kept diving in, showing up, and vowing to show out, without expecting a round of applause.

If we aren't careful we can spend our entire life sitting on our dreams and talents because we expect from people what they have no authority to give us: validation. Now is the time to realize how invaluable you are and walk with the understanding that your work is meaningful despite who sees your efforts.
Remember your success is in your why, not in the level of noise people make when you achieve great things.

Rooted at it all, I later realized, was a desire to please others. I had neglected my number one assignment: to please God.

You're living your life for an audience of one - God. And so long as you're doing all that you can with everything He has given you, proceed in clapping for yourself without man's approval. We have to stop expecting people to give us what only God can give us: validation. Your ultimate reward for being obedient and using the talents He has blessed you with lies in heaven.

Believe me, the ones who did clap were ever so present. They encouraged me to do more, keep pushing, and dream bigger. They motivated me to do greater exploits with what God gave me.
Stop waiting for those who don't cheer you on. Start listening to those who tell you to dream bigger and do more. Work to please God and watch your joy rise.


Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

- Revelation 4:11


Hey loves! I haven't done a just style post on my blog in ages! I'll be starting a section on my blog focusing on style tips, particularly for petite women, like moi! So when you guys see "HowtoPetite" headlining a post, get ready for style tips! (Fun fact, I'm actually 5 feet tall and quite slim, but I have to admit that the camera probably does a great job of deceiving y'all lol). If you're like me, you've probably struggled to search for clothes that are professional and/or segciii without looking like a bag of potatoes (lol). Well, I got you boo!

I'm kicking off this #howtopetite installment with my new favorite closet add-on: culottes. In the past couple months, I've added 3 pairs to my closet (it's safe to say that I'm almost obsessed). Culottes are typically known to fall right at the calve, but for us over here on the shorter side, the length can be over exaggerated, so usually deemed a no-no for us petite girls. I've shared a few style tips to make your culotte wearing more fun (especially if your favorite store does not have a petite collection).

  1. Boost the length of your legs by showing some skin and wearing a heeled shoe. I chose rose gold straps for these white trousers. Matching your shoes to your skin as best as you can make your legs appear longer. By allowing a bit of skin to peak out below the ankle (or sticking with nude tones), you lengthen your legs a bit more.
  2. Go for high waisted culottes and balance the volume. When I wear culottes I have to admit that I sometimes feel like I'm getting lost in the garment (lol). Because of all the volume at the bottom of the culottes, it can feel a bit baggy. To avoid this, I always go for high waisted culottes and paired them with a tucked in blouse that shows the waistline. This slightly accentuates my figure and lengthens the body (for those of us who have a shorter torso).
  3. Keep it monochrome and match your pants. Finally, depending on the look you're going for, you can never go wrong with matching your culottes and your top. For this look, I went a white top for a monochromatic look (which usually always works to make me look/feel more chic and mature), paired with a colored tweed blazer which was fitted so it worked to define my body and complement the contrasting wider bottoms. I loved how when pieced together this outfit produced what I like to call "the monochrome effect" (or the "jumpsuit effect"). Monochrome (wearing one color/shade) typically makes you appear taller and more slender. The monochrome theme really made the set look as though it were all one piece. I got tons of compliments and got super excited when people said they loved my "jumpsuit"!


I hope this was a tad helpful for some of y'all! Let me know where you girls shop for culottes! (I obviously need to add more to my closet). Oh and you can see other ways I've styled culottes here and here. Happy styling!

WHAT I'M WEARING:

Culottes: Topshop (shop similar style here)
Ivory Strappy Cami: Miss Selfridge (shop here)
Short Jacket: H&M (shop similar style here)

PHOTOGRAPHY BY WILL CHARLES MEDIA



Okay so we are nine whole days into the new year, and while some of us felt the high of inspiration during the first few days of the month, that inspiration has died down for others. You might still talk about your goals and share them with others (because this makes them more real, right)? But after a while, your lack of discipline and your desire for inspiration will hold you right where you are and keep your goals from coming to fruition (reality check!). It's true that you can't always feel inspired, creative, or motivated. We can't always depend on this high to fuel our work. You can have every intention to thrive and accomplish every task, but if you never discipline yourself to sit down and work, honestly, you might never achieve what you need.

Let's talk about discipline:
Discipline is more than motivation. Discipline pushes past the desire to quit when inspiration or motivation run out. Discipline is the habit of acting in the moment based on a decision you made in advance, regardless of your feelings. It's the action that binds you by your will, not your emotions. - She's Still There by Chrystal Evans Hurst
Through my experiences with my brand and with clients, I’ve worked out tips to stay disciplined so that your brand (and you) can flourish this year (even when you feel like hope is lost).

1. Implement the "first five minutes rule":

My friend and client, Mahawa Kamara (founder of The Soap Connoisseur) recently told me about the “first 5 minutes rule” she started implementing. She schedules time to work on a task and in that first five minutes she must work on it, non stop. This is for tasks you’ve been reluctant to do because they might seem difficult or overwhelming. Do it any way…commit to working for just 5 minutes. Oftentimes you’ll find that an hour has passed and you’ve actually completed your task!

Check out The Soap Connoisseur here.

2. Create a routine and be consistent:

Online (as a brand): If you’re a fashion or beauty brand, creating a routine is similar both online and offline. Your goal is to build trust with your followers, so a routine is extremely beneficial. Set up a specific time to post to your social media accounts (this can be daily or any day or time you choose) Maybe you create a routine of posting to your social media account every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8am and 12pm (hint hint…these are great peak times to post online!). 
Another routine measure you can consider is creating a set time to respond to emails, send out newsletters, or check in with customers/clients. Whatever it is you choose to do, be consistent.

With my brand, Beneath Your Beauty, I’ve found that creating a consistent routine with our social media content + events helps to keep our audience engaged and expectant of what’s to come.

*Check out our Instagram here

Offline (personal development): Creating a consistent routine offline can be something as simple as waking up every day at 8am and getting out of bed immediately; going on a run every morning before work; or maybe a little be more complex like dedicating the last hour of your day to reading and studying instead of scrolling through social media. Over the past several years, I've committed to not checking my email or text messages first thing in the morning, and instead dedicated my first and last hours to devotion and quiet time.

I’ve found that committing to one thing every day and doing it the same way, helps to keep me organized and work more efficiently.

3. Remove anything negative from your life and get rid of anything you might call a temptation. 

Delete and block! You don't have to see everything! You don't need everything in your presence, especially if it is draining your energy or causing self-doubt. As my friend and client Raj Will mentioned, be weary of only consuming content when you should be creating.

Check out his work here.

4. Get an accountability partner:

There’s nothing wrong with sharing your goals, with the right people of course. Share your goals/to-do list with at least one person who can hold you accountable and perhaps even give you deadlines for certain tasks.

I had the opportunity to chat with Federica Boaeteng, founder of Fash.Ed. When speaking about my goals, she literally gave me dates for which she wanted to see me accomplish them! In an effort to keep my word, I’ve been fervently working to meet these deadlines.

Check out Fash.Ed here.

I know there can be times where we feel uninspired to move forward with our visions (even in light of the “new year, new me” rhetoric). Yes we’ve all proclaimed that this year we will work harder, stay up later, and dream bigger. But how do we do this when we feel blatantly uninspired. How do we keep building our brand when it seems like absolutely no one is paying attention? Try applying these measure and watch and see you and your brand flourish in the right direction. Happy New Year, loves!


PHOTOGRAPHY BY WILL CHARLES MEDIA

When I read the word "stubborn" I quickly contemplated whether I should be on defense mode and come quick with a rebuttal. In an effort to remain calm I decided to breathe and actually read her full message rather than focus on this one word that jumped out of the screen. But she called me stubborn

The word "stubborn" was a trigger word. It carries a negative connotation making us immediately think of someone who is hard headed and not necessarily tough minded. Here's a quick dictionary definition:

stub·born

ˈstəbərn/
adjective

having or showing dogged determination not to change one's attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so.


But her calling me stubborn was a good thing. My dear friend and long-time client said these words to me that lifted my spirits and shifted my perspective:
"I was thinking about you and how you are so stubborn about your faith and pursuing what God has for you...and I gingered myself up. Thank you."

My heart melted. See 2017 put me in such a position that forced me to become more tough minded than I have ever been -- about my faith and about what I just know God has spoken over me. When life throws curveballs at you from every angle, when God gracefully but firmly places you into a fiery furnace, we have two choices:

  1. Give up quickly and let go of everything you've ever believed. Get. Out. Now.
  2. Be stubborn; let the fire help you to develop tougher skin and an even tougher mind. 
Time and time again option number 1 has looked like the easier and more seamless choice. Of course giving up is easy (especially if the situation is definitely looking like you miiight not win). You no longer have to fight. You no longer have to show up every day, no matter how bleak things look. You no longer have to believe that what you are waiting for will come to pass. That's easy! And who doesn't want a simple and carefree option? You'd be free to live you life no longer waiting.

But let's talk about option 2. Being stubborn. When God allows you to be in these seasons that require your attention, strength, and resiliency, He matches your circumstance by equipping you with the mental and spiritual fortitude to withstand. He allows you to become stubborn; never forgetting His promises, always clinging to that strand of faith that screams out "God is faithful! And He will do it in His time!"

But being stubborn in spite of your seemingly hopeless circumstance requires more than just a tough mind. It requires grit. Stubbornness commands an attitude of courage: that is, stepping out in action in order to match your perspective of faith. 

After I re-read my friend's message I settled on her description of me. I was happy with it! But I soon snapped back to reality. I don't want to be known as just stubborn. I want to described as someone who has grit (that is courage, boldness, resolve, and strength of character).

Can we agree on something, dear reader? Let's drop options 1 and 2 real quick! When we're placed in situations that require our attention and challenge our faith, let's respond with more than just a stubborn attitude. Let's approach every circumstance stubborn and courageous.

Next time I want them to say "she is stubborn and has grit". They won't just call me stubborn.

WHAT I'M WEARING:

Tuck Seam Blouse: Topshop (shop here)
Cropped Wide Legged Trousers: Topshop (shop style here)
Rose Gold Strapped Heels: Primark
Joy Brushed Silver Mesh Watch: Kapten & Sons (shop here)

I wore this ensemble to a Nubian Skin brunch event I attended. I had the pleasure of working closely with the founder/CEO, Ade Hassan and assisting my dearest mentor Connie Jackson on the day. Be sure and check out the brand, Nubian Skin ladies!


PHOTOGRAPHY BY WILL CHARLES MEDIA


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