If you had the opportunity to turn your dreams of establishing a creative career into your reality, would you be up for the challenge? Whether you choose to take the entrepreneurship route, or to brighten up the world with your artwork, or to climb your way to the top of the fashion industry, it takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and attempt to transition creating what you love into the way you make a living.

Throughout this past year, I’ve learned some priceless lessons from the stories + experiences of a few young women in pursuit of making their dreams and real life align. They are phenomenal, magical, intelligent, creative, BOSS, and, fortunately, kind enough to share a little bit of their worlds with DARLA. They took the time to discuss the good stuff, like what inspires them and what they want to accomplish with their efforts as well as some challenges they have faced thus far.

Here is a recap of our conversations with 10 of the coolest girls on the planet.

Kade Henderson


— a freelance wardrobe stylist and entrepreneur currently based in New York. Kade currently runs an online fashion community, Kades Mode, which was inspired by her childhood experiences. Through Kades Mode and her other endeavors, she is devoted to the enhancement of entrepreneurs and her dream is to serve as an advocate where she can promote empowerment and confidence in self.

The most challenging part about building and maintaining a brand is trying to be perfect. I am extremely clumsy, I have a very awkward laugh, and none of that says perfect. I’m just very human and me. My favorite part [about building my own brand] is to read the inspiration letters and comments. It amazes me how following my heart inspires others to follow theirs as well.

Chelsea Wilson


— world traveler, wanderer, and blogger of Rookie Notes. Chelsea took her love of traveling and translated into a career in advising college students throughout their study abroad experiences. She uses blogging and networking through social media to spread a positive message to her followers and to share her journey around the world.

I think social media is so huge for our generation, and so as a community of bloggers we’re able to share ideas with one another and it reaches a broader audience. That’s how you connect with different people who inspire you or could be going through the same thing you are. I’m a ‘rookie’ because I am constantly learning about things. I’m constantly learning how to improve myself. I don’t think I’ll ever reach this state of perfection or this state of idealism even though I have this idea in my head of how I see myself.

April Melchoir


— creator and owner of Urban Works Textiles, a small home decor and textile business based in Philadelphia. April received her bachelor’s of fine arts degree in illustration from UArts in 2012 and then ventured to start up her own business. This year, April received a grant from Sophia Amoruso + Nasty Gal’s #GIRLBOSS foundation that has helped her to expand her business and speed up her production process.

Since I was a kid I was always dreaming up business ideas, I think having my own business came naturally to me. The idea of Urban Works Textiles came about when I learned I could have my illustrations printed on fabric. I ordered up 20 yards and had faith I’d figure out something to do with it! Since then I’ve designed pillows, fabric wall art, quilts, and reupholstery.

Eboni Merriman


— the Founder of the accessories Lost Queens, aims to be a source of empowerment through her work. Eboni uses social media and live events to connect with her customers and spread the message and purpose behind her brand.

Stop listening to the outside noise. Stop feeding your insecurities. Just do it and keep working. Listen to your heart/gut, because LITERALLY every time you don’t, you regret it. Fall in love with your weirdness. I wish I developed my sense of self a lot earlier than I did. My whole thing is about progressing and bringing my people with me when I do. I don’t have time for much else outside of that. Drama? Don’t feed into it. My mama calls it swatting at the gnats. It’s all basically distraction, and I have tunnel vision right now. My survival is dependent on it. I wish I would’ve been secure in my solitude when I was younger and just as aware as I am now. But I’ll probably be saying the same thing in 5 years. I’m still young. I’m still hungry. I have much to learn.

Alicia Pinckney


— menswear designer from Philadelphia, PA. In 2013 she obtained her BA degree in Fashion Design from Philadelphia University. An admitted nerd/overachiever in school when it came to mathematics and taking on leadership roles, Alicia chose to major in fashion design to embrace her creative side. Alicia was the 1st place winner of The Domus Academy for Vogue Talent’s “Call For Talent” scholarship in 2014. This award grants a scholarship for the Master’s in Fashion Design at Domus Academy in Italy. (TOTALLY AMAZING!!) She was granted the opportunity to study abroad in Milan for the next year to continue her education and expand with her brand.

My advice would be to simply, get started. A lot of people let “fear” hold them back when actually, the things they are afraid of are all made up in the mind or generated by other’s perceptions. The sky is not the limit; you can do and be anything that you want to be. It first starts with mindset… A positive, adaptable and accepting mindset. You must also work 10 times as hard as what you think is already hard work because there is always room for improvement. Lastly, always be a sponge, absorbing new experiences and advice from people who can serve as mentors.

Diamonde Williamson + Adrienne Coleman


— the Founders of Volume Twenty; an online bookstore based in Atlanta with a book club, known as The Circle of Genius, that has a mission to challenge everyone to read at least one book a month. When Adrienne and Diamonde aren’t brainstorming on more ways to enhance their brand, they are each individually accomplishing goals of their own. Diamonde has published her first book entitled, You Deserve More Miracles: 60 Ways To Create More Miracles In Your Life and Adrienne will be going back to school for her Doctorates in Physical Therapy. In every aspect, these two are continuing to thrive and better their career lives. 

Just do it, but you have to love it. If you don’t love it, it’s not going to be successful. We really love to read. When our books come in we’re so excited. We really do get excited. Even down to our website. We just got a new website and get excited about doing things like that. We just get excited about the entire business.

Florence Adepoju


— the Founder of MDMflow; a London based luxury lipstick line inspired by 90’s and early millennium hip-hop culture. Florence, also known as Flow, describes MDMflow as being the younger version of herself translated into a cosmetic brand. To start off her career in the cosmetic industry, Flow attended the London College of Fashion where she earned her degree in Cosmetic Science. While studying in this program, she gained experience with making all types of beauty products from eyeshadows to facial creams before she chose to focus solely on lipsticks (creating the MDMflow brand) for her final dissertation.

I was inspired by all the bold women historically who have made waves in the beauty industry and women alive now that continue to do so. MDMflow to me represents being myself unapologetically and celebrating an aesthetic that is relative to me and my influences. Initially I thought only girls who, like me, were into hip-hop and pop culture would get it, but I’m starting to realise that women from all backgrounds connect with my brand because it celebrates uniqueness and diversity.

Camille Lauren


— a visual artist from the Caribbean who now resides in Toronto. Camille is currently studying Illustration at OCAD University and is on the journey of expressing her passions and sharing them with the world through color. She has established her own brand, art of Ciel, through which she creates pieces at live painting events and for commission.

I hope to spread joy, love and wonder with my colours. I just want to tell stories that aren’t shared often. Gritty stories, polished stories; tales of the urban Goldie Lox outsmarting the wolves and navigating the concrete Jungle. I hope that my art eventually creates a space for people to celebrate themselves more.

Emily Gimmel


— the Founder of GRACESHIP bags based in Louisville. She got a head start on her career in journalism by landing her first internship position at age 16 and continued to excel in her professional field… But eventually, Emily decided to transition her career by adding “CEO” to her resume and beginning to work full-time focusing on and building her own company, GRACESHIP.

It was really trial and error; I think that’s where my journalism background came into play because I asked a lot of questions. I found people that were kind of doing something similar; maybe they had a manufacturer product or maybe they dealt with China… Finding people who I could learn from and just asking them lots of questions. Also, making mistakes until I got it right and not being afraid to make mistakes… That’s what really what allowed me to be successful and accomplished with the brand.

These stories are reminders that inspiration is everywhere — from city to city, world to world. Once you find what inspires you, use it as fuel to chase your dreams and turn them into your reality.

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