Happy Sunday my Tall Sisters!
I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Elayna at our Meet Your Tall Sisters Brunch in Washington DC. See all the fun we had there HERE and make sure you don’t miss the next events HERE. We are blessed to have our #TallTribe filled with powerful and talented women and I am delighted to share Elayna’s story with you lovelies. Lets Meet Your Tall Sister!
What is your full name?
Elayna Fanchon Speight
How tall are you?
Can you give us some insight into what the path to self-acceptance was like for you?
I have been over 6’ since I was 10 years old so growing up wasn’t always so easy. I was always taller than everyone else but I hit my growth spurt and suddenly I was much taller than my classmates. Not to mention I was also younger because I skipped a grade. Luckily, I wasn’t teased too much, but I always felt different and awkward. Plus I was quiet and introverted (still am, really). It wasn’t until college that I started to realize that I am who I am for a reason and wishing I were different is a waste of time. It doesn’t help anyone and it only makes you miserable. So I figured I should just accept all of me exactly as I am because there is no other me but me and I should be proud of that. I decided to be the best me that I can be.
What is your current occupation and how has your height influenced your career?
I am a freelance graphic designer and artist. I own my own design firm, Inked Designs, where my specialties include logos, brochure and publication design, and other marketing materials. I also offer custom watercolor commissions and prints of my artwork, which I sell in my Etsy shop. I think my height has influenced my career in that it has helped me on interviews. My height makes an impression and helps me stand out amongst my fellow job seekers. It is hard to forget the 6’3” woman in heels. Also, my height (especially when I wear heels) has also helped me to appear confident and ready for the job.
Tell us about how Think Inked Designs first came to life.
After working as a graphic designer for about 5 years in-house at various organizations in the DC area, I decided I wanted to work for myself. I realized that I didn’t want to work for someone else for the rest of my life. I wanted to be in control. So I stepped out on faith and left my job. Two years later, I am sure I made the right decision. I love working from home and for myself. I choose my hours, what I wear (a lot of time I stay in PJs or sweats); I love it.
What can we expect to see in the future for yourself and your business?
I haven’t had a lot of time for personal pieces for the shop as I have been doing things for other people (I am currently working on a big project that I am excited to share), but I do eventually want to add to my Black HERstory series. Next on my list are Billie Holliday and Nina Simone among others. I’ve also thrown around the idea of doing my own calendar or artbook. I’m not sure if anyone would buy them though, lol. You can stay tuned to my Instagram (Elayna_thejunoesque) for sneak peeks of any of my new watercolor pieces and additions to my Etsy (InkedDesignsshop.etsy.com) shop.
Please give us a glimpse in the life of an artist; what does a typical day of working look like for you?
On a typical day, I wake up around 9:30-10, wash up, eat breakfast, etc. I might get up earlier if I know I have a lot of things to do that day. My desk is in my bedroom so sometimes I just roll out of bed and get to work, lol.
The first thing I do is I check my email to see if there are any new projects or inquiries in or updates to my current projects, or if there are any new Etsy orders.
I have a running list of projects that are due from my clients so I check that to see what is due each day or soon and I get to work. When I start a project, I take the text and images the client sends me and while keeping in mind their branding and any other instructions or design direction they give me, I design whatever it is that needs to be designed. When I finish a draft, I send it to the client and they send back their feedback. We continue to go through this proofing process to get their desired project as perfect as it can be and all while striving to meet their deadline.
I try to take a break around noon for lunch but sometimes I get so engrossed in whatever I’m doing that I end up taking a break later or sometimes not at all. Bad, I know. I usually stop for the day around 5-6pm. If I am coming up against a deadline, I might work later. Then I wind down for the rest of the night.
From left to right: Nache (@TallookPics), Nadi (@TheTallMuse), Bree (@TheTallSociety) & Elayna (@elayna_thejunoesque)
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by fashion and style bloggers I see all over my Pinterest. I am drawn to patterns and bright colors. I was inspired by other fashion illustrations I would see on Pinterest and Etsy, but I quickly noticed that black women (and women of color in general) were underrepresented, so I feel I am doing my part to change that.
My favorite artists include Sibylline Meynet, Babs Tarr, Lois van Baarle, and Katie Rodgers. Katie and her work was what inspired me to get into watercolor in the first place.
I am also inspired by the Carefree Black Girl and Black Girl Magic Movements. To me, the carefree black girl is multidimensional with a mix of whimsy, laughter, intelligence, magic, and the chicest fashion sense and passion
First Lady Michelle Obama is a huge inspiration personally. She is so classy, smart and successful but sassy. She is all kinds of #goals. She is not afraid to be herself even in the public eye. I want to be like her when I grow up.
Illustration of Bree by Elayna
What are your aspirations for the future? In a perfect world, where would Elayna be 5 and 10 years from now?
In 5 years, I want to have my own office building. Though I very much enjoy working in my PJs in my bedroom, I think eventually I am going to have to step my game up with my own office. I can’t have really have meetings with clients in my bedroom. I already have an idea of what I want the building to look like and it definitely has to have a gallery, a café, and a room to take naps. I want to have big brands as clients in both graphic design and watercolor commissions. I also will have some employees because I can’t do all the work I’m going to have to do alone. In 10 years, maybe multiple locations?
Do you have any words of advice for your Tall Sisters that are reading this?
First, I want them to know that they are beautiful. There is nothing wrong with you. You were made to stand out and that is good thing. Be proud of your height and don’t let the stares and comments get under your skin. Don’t let someone else steal your joy!
Make sure to support a Tall Sister and reach out to Elayna for all your design work HERE.
Until next week my beloved #TallTribe.