Boss Ladies / Life / News

Boss Ladies | Alexandra Hall

07.05.18

Alexandra Hall

Photos c/o Emily PooleTaylor Balding

Alexandra Hall is an independent spirit drawn to natural beauty. She opened her shop, Maven in 2015 with the intention of exposing the community to inspiring brands and artists beyond San Diego. Maven provides a platform for independent makers and is a carefully curated space that embodies creativity and thoughtful design. When not at the shop, Alex and her son Barrett frequent the museums in San Diego’s Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo. You can also find her at the beach with her dog and her fiance. 

Walk us through the creation of Maven. 

Maven is a curated lifestyle shop with a focus on handmade products and independent makers, and it’s the natural culmination of all of my interests and experiences. I was home after living on the East Coast for a year and had traveled quite a bit, which exposed me to what I felt San Diego lacked shopping wise. I came back knowing I had to help provide variety in our retail landscape here.

Being able to provide a platform for artisans, makers and businesses who don’t have a large presence in San Diego is so exciting to me. Having a conversation with a customer about why I love and stock the things I do drives me.

What motivated you to do something different with retail? 

Even as a child I knew this industry was what I wanted to be a part of. It took some time to figure out my niche, but I simply adore all things design and creative. I love the process, the connection and the stories. And through the shop I get to share all those things with my community – which is my favorite part.

What was the most difficult part about starting Maven?

Initially, our build out was far more difficult than I anticipated. From termites to pouring all new floors–the entire budget doubled! I also sacrifice a lot of my time for Maven. I don’t get to clock out anymore and that can be difficult as a mother. I was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom for my son’s first three years of life so opening up shop really challenged us and changed things– and the shop still takes up the majority of my time. Figuring out a new routine was hard and remains something I struggle with.

Alexandra Hall

How do you handle failure?
The days that are slow can feel like failures, and it’s hard not to take it personally. But a lot of what we do involves education. I’ve learned to accept the challenge and always look at change with an open mind.

What’s something unexpected you’ve learned about yourself?
Being an entrepreneur really shoves a mirror in your face.  I am much more of an introvert then I ever knew.  And I may struggle with multitasking but I thrive under pressure and my best work comes from wearing many hats.

Why are you so passionate about the work you do?

I am first and foremost a creative, Maven has always been a byproduct of that.  My favorite part of my job is the diversity of each day – as I’m doing something new every day. It’s also amazing to be my own boss and build a community surrounding this shop. I’m so honored to have the tribe I do through my shop.

Why is it important for women to support one another? 

We are a force together and can achieve so much more when we celebrate each other.

I frequently work with my neighbors, and fellow girl bosses at Little Dame to coordinate events like ‘Fem Block Flea Market’ that help bring together and highlight other female creatives in our community. I also love turning to other female business owners for advice — we’re all going through this together and I love knowing their perspective.

Alexandra Hall

What is your vision for this industry? 

Each item I choose for Maven has a story. I am happy to see that notion catching on with retailers big and small.  I’m also excited that to see that responsible consumption is becoming trendy – that means someday it’ll just be the norm.

How do you go about sourcing the products featured on Maven?

I try to take frequent trips to Los Angeles and San Francisco – especially when I’m feeling stagnant. Most of the brands in the shop are ones I use myself.

For new brands, I typically look for quality and a certain design aesthetic that matches our look. I think what sets us apart from other retailers is that Maven offers design-focused goods for San Diego’s laid-back Californian lifestyle.

What have you learned from owning your own shop that can help someone with any creative endeavor?

Self-employment and owning my own business has definitely shown me what I am really made of. This route is not for the faint of heart.

I definitely feel more confident in myself now that I’ve run this business for the last 3 years. This process has taught me how to listen to my intuition, practice a whole lot of patience and to not compare my struggles to anyone’s success. It’s a constant reminder to find peace in the chaos and embracing change.

XO,

Alexandra Hall Alexandra Hall Quote

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Podcast

012: Impact Entrepreneurship with Liz Bohannon of Sseko Designs

06.25.18

If you’re ever looking for an excuse to sit and talk with the people you most admire, start a podcast. This week I am talking to the amazing impact entrepreneur, Liz Bohannon. She lives in Portland, Oregon but her reach extends across continents. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sseko Designs, an ethical fashion brand. They work directly with women in East Africa and have created a business that benefits women in East Africa and the United States. 

Sisterhood of the Traveling Kaftan

  • Liz and I met at the Wild Hearts Conference. When we were in the green room backstage, I literally asked her if I could try on the dress she was wearing. Yes, that was the start of our friendship.
  • I never thought a kaftan would look good on me, but it did! And this dress fits all sizes from 0 to 16. How incredible is that?

“I didn’t think I was going to kaftan evangelize, at least not this early in the podcast.”

 

Enneagram Insights

  • Is anyone else obsessed with personality tests??
  • We come to the conclusion that if you’re a bit uncomfortable with your enneagram score, it means you probably got the right score.  Wanna know what numbers Liz and I are? You gotta listen to the episode!
  • Enneagrams help Liz to recognize everyone’s unique contributions to this complex world we live in. “I am delighted by difference.”

Growing Community

“Come be a part of what we’re doing, but don’t do it out of pity or charity. Do it out of a sense of camaraderie and excitement about the future that we’re building together.”

 

  • Sseko Designs has a Fellow program where people in the United States can be involved with the brand by hosting events and representing Sseko in their own community.
  • Liz found that there was a need for opportunity for women in the United States as well as East Africa.
  • Recently Sseko Designs brought 10 United States Fellows to Uganda. The women of Sseko and the fellows got a chance to share their stories with one another. How powerful is that?
  • “You’re not going on a mission trip, you are going to meet your colleagues that are alongside of you and that are co-creating a brighter future with you.”
  • Liz is constantly asking herself, “Are we doing this in a way that is consistent, true to the core of our mission, and our why?”

For those of you who are inspired by what you’ve learned here today, you can make a difference. Liz loves to see inspired women inspire other women. It starts a chain of fulfillment and passion for life. “If she can do it, why can’t I?”

I hope you’re feeling as absolutely inspired as I am. Liz is such a genuine soul and I had so much fun talking with her. If you enjoyed this episode, I want to invite you to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast. It would mean so much!

This episode is brought to you by the free PDF guide called “While You Wait.” It is full of resources that I personally found to be very helpful while I was finding my ‘why’ behind waiting until marriage to have sex.

XO,

Kat Harris

Links:

Sseko Designs Website

Sseko Deigns Fellow Program

Sseko Designs Kaftan

‘Meet the Women’

Sseko Designs Instagram

Check out this episode!

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Podcast

011: The Art of Storytelling with Morgan Harper Nichols

06.19.18

When I stumbled,

I stumbled

not backward,

but forward.

So when I fell,

I fell into grace.

–Morgan Harper Nichols

 

Poet Morgan Harper Nichols speaks the words that my heart doesn’t know it’s trying to say.

On a whim I reached out to one of my favorite poets, Morgan Harper Nichols, to be on The Refined Collective Podcast. When she replied yes, I was OVER THE MOON!

She writes poetry that I’m sure you’ve seen, even if you didn’t realize it. She also spent time as a touring musician and collaborates with her sister on songs that have found success on Spotify and at the Grammys! This episode, we dive deeper than her achievements and I get to know Morgan, her doubts, and her dreams. Now it’s your turn to get to know her.

Pushing Through Pushback

  • As a creative, she saw fellow creatives around her moving through their careers and lives with confidence, something she didn’t feel she had.

“God gave me these gifts to create things and be creative but at the same time I didn’t feel as dynamic or interesting.”

 

  • Through all of this there is one major pushback: DOUBT, the subtle lies that tempt us to buy into their convincing narrative over her truth.
  • One of her major doubts is in her compatibility with her passion. She is not always open about her feelings and finds that she needs to think through feelings before she can express them.
  • Beyond all of this, being self-employed can be scary. This idea that it could all disappear in a moment is something I can relate to completely.
  • She doesn’t let these fears slow her down.

“There’s more to the story. There’s a reason you’ve made it this far.”

Intentional Pursuit of the Dream

  • Social media became popular when she was in her late teens and it gave her an outlet for when insecurity and doubt felt overwhelming.
  • She is very intentional about her social media use and it makes all the difference when these platforms can be draining.
  • “I go to share first, and then I consume.”
  • She never goes on Instagram when she has free time to spend. She goes on to share and, when she needs it, to look at a collection she has of posts that inspire her.
  • “There is nothing wrong with dreaming.” She keeps her dreams unattached to people or places. She focuses on her vision for herself and the way she contributes to the world.

Serving Others to Find Yourself

  • She started writing poems directed specifically to individuals who had reached out for them.
  • Looking back at those poems, she found pieces of herself hidden in them.
  • “Oh wow, that was for me all along.”
  • Working through her emotions is always a process, but serving others has helped her find the words.
  • It’s important to sometimes just pause and listen to others. “I pay attention to what stands out to me, it’s typically telling me something about myself.”
  • She often looks to the past as well. She recognizes that memories that stick out in her mind from childhood are sticking out in her mind for a reason all these years later. They all hold meaning. “I have such a passion for memory.”

“She doesn’t have to be someone else’s version of interesting in order to show up and be comfortable in the world.”

 

 

Morgan’s Favorite Things

  • Instagram has opened her eyes to the beauty that is storefronts. “There is this whole world of people who just really love looking at storefronts and I guess I have joined them.” (If you’re into storefronts, she recommends the account @storefrontcollective)
  • Google Home was a present from her parents and she uses it all the time, including having it read out information about canyons.

“Wherever you are, you are still free to make the most of every single day.” Go out and use your gifts, tribe. I am so grateful for Morgan and I hope you enjoyed this episode. Go find her on Instagram and send her a message; she loves starting conversations with you!

XO,

Kat Harris

Do you love a Good Podcast Binge like me?  Check out our other episodes HERE…and subscribe, rate + review us while you’re at it friend!

Links:

Morgan Harper Nichols’s website

Morgan Harper Nichols’s Instagram

Check out this episode!

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