getting to know the founders.
who are the founders?
deun ivory: i am a multifaceted creative entrepreneur + visual artist most-recognized for my aesthetic as a photographer + illustrator. as the Art Director for Black Girl in Om + Co-founder of Lifestyle with Ivory + Ash, i cultivate communities and experiences that promote self-care, women's empowerment + celebration for women of color. as a visionary + business owner, i have recently begun consulting + branding startups led by women of color. through my art, i have found a niche that provides beautiful experiences to a demographic that is often overlooked. my eye for compelling imagery, authentic story-telling + elegant use of minimalism has garnered the attention of Essence Magazine, Instagram, Vsco + other major brands who've declared me an influencer + an artist to watch.
lauren ash: i am a multifaceted creative entrepreneur + visionary most-recognized for my leadership prioritizing black women in the wellness + editorial fields. as the founder and creative director of Black Girl In Om, i promote holistic wellness for women of color through BGIO’s online publication, podcast, creative agency, and award-winning social media platforms. as co-founder of Lifestyle with Ivory + Ash, i create inspiring and educational affirmations on lifestyle goods for women of color. and as co-founder of award-winning Party Noire, i celebrate black womanhood through black joy centered parties and community gatherings. i currently sit an artist-in-residence within arts and public life and the center for the study of race, politics, and culture at the university of chicago, and am a consultant for women of color led startups.
what inspired you to create this particular type of brand for women of color?
deun ivory: i was inspired to create lifestyle with ivory + ash because i knew that it was God who led me here to do so. we’re all called to serve other people through the work we create + the work we do. i was placed here to cultivate a community through art, through authenticity + through my creativity. God also made me a black woman, which i’m so thankful for. I believe that through my experiences of black womanhood + my walk with Christ, i am called to create + affirm those who look like me - all while inspiring those who don’t.
lauren ash: in late august of 2016, i guided a mindfulness workshop series at soho house chicago. as i was preparing for it, i realized that i really wanted for my workshop participants to have a tangible walkaway. something beautiful + relevant. i commissioned deun ivory, who had moved to chicago just a few weeks prior (my scheme to get her to chicago one year ago had worked, ha, but that's another story). i asked her to create a visually-driven mantra card. this sparked something! as i was participating in a sound healing session in another workshop in the mindfulness series, a vision came to me: of deun + i working together to create beautiful + affirming reminders of the importance of mindfulness and holistic wellness for black women in particular. i shared my vision with deun + she shared that she was having similar ideas + that she had even prayed about it! it was clearly meant to be.
what inspired you all to explore the first two themes: gratitude and love?
deun ivory: gratitude is one of the most beautiful ways we can experience the human life. when we’re in a space of gratitude, our whole life is then seen through a lens of thankfulness. we reject the idea of dwelling on things that don’t matter + channel our energy to a much more useful + productive place. the gratitude series was created to take you out of your misery + present you with a new way of viewing your current situation.
lauren ash: in the fall of 2016, i was going THROUGH it. it was challenging (to say the least) for me to remain grateful. i looked at what i didn't have. i wondered why i wasn't further in my growth as a creative entrepreneur. simultaneous to all of this: people were congratulating me + giving me accolades constantly, but i didn't know why. all i needed was a change of perspective; a paradigm shift. deun + i spoke about this + she encouraged me. we created our gratitude collection because we needed to have these reminders for our selves. we're so happy that they have resonated with so many more people!
now, love...is because it's one of the most amazing experiences and actions of our lives. our collection highlights love between you and a close friend or family, you and a lover, and self-love because we wanted to have beautiful reminders that all three are so special and to be meditated upon. i created the mantras based off of my own personal beliefs about these individual types of love.
how do you imagine this brand integrating into the everyday lives of your consumers?
deun ivory: we envision lifestyle with ivory and ash being the largest black-owned, women-owned greeting + gift company in the world (thanks, CRWN mag). we envision lifestyle with ivory + ash becoming a household name for communities of color. we are manifesting that our brand will ultimately become the go-to shop for all things mindful, minimal + meaningful. With our beautiful aesthetic + affirming messages, i have no doubt in my mind that we’ve created something magical with a potential to change to world.
lauren ash: what she said (laughs) additionally: we're really passionate about custom gifts and custom stationary for today's black artists, cultural curators, and game changers! we have some amazing custom clients already and the process of creating custom affirmations and illustrations for them has been wonderful and transformative. we have already outdone ourselves, and shed a couple of tears of joy. we look forward to sharing soon.
why is Lifestyle With Ivory + Ash neccesary?
deun ivory: Ivory + Ash is necessary because black women deserve to see themselves in beautiful artwork. we deserve to have access to products + spaces that cater to our mental well-being. i want black women to know that they have a space that was intentionally created for them. this space allows them to experience mindfulness + the power of speaking positivity over themselves. Ivory + Ash is a lifestyle goods brand rooted in affirmations because: it lifts the spirit, it nurtures the soul + welcomes good energy.
lauren ash: *snaps*