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Life and Work with Monera James

Today we’d like to introduce you to Monera James.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I developed a love for fashion and style at the young age of three. According to my mother, at 3 years old, I told her that I wanted to choose my own clothes. I became passionate and my love for fashion and style carried from childhood into adulthood. I began working in the fashion retail industry while I attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette there I attained a degree in Fashion Design & Merchandising.

After college, I moved back to my hometown, Baton Rouge, LA for about three months. I decided that if I was going to flourish and pursue a successful career in fashion I needed to be in a more fast-paced environment. I decided that Houston, TX would be a great place to start and here I am almost six years later. I landed a job at Nordstrom two weeks after moving to Houston and was super excited to be working for a major retailer! Nordstrom taught me many things about running a business but due to the “commission environment,” I became drained of fighting for sales daily and transitioned into Wardrobe Styling for a private company.

Fast forward three years later, I become a Mother! Becoming a Mother changed everything in my life. I didn’t work my entire pregnancy and had a hard time finding work after my son was born. Six months after his birth, I finally landed a job in the natural skincare industry. Not quite fashion but closely enough related. While working a 9-5, I still continued to do wardrobe styling freelance. Towards the end of 2018, I became a part-time entrepreneur. I started my online boutique and unexpectedly landed a Levis and Complex Magazine assistant styling position for one of the Houston Rockets! I’ve always sold things from my closet whether it would be to my friends, family, or resale sites and stores. Due to the high demand for inquiries about my personal style plus me wanting to have a platform of my own, I decided to launch my fashion e-commerce boutique Avant Gorgeous!

WWW.AVANTGORGEOUS.COM The name Avant Gorgeous is inspired by the term avant-garde. Our motto is “Outfitting stylish, strong, powerful, confident, culturally conscious, women one look at a time” I truly believe that ALL women are amazingly beautiful and I want to help them feel as great as they will look while wearing my pieces.

Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road, very bumpy indeed. I come across a new struggle every day but I tackle it with confidence! In order to reach your goals, you can’t allow any setbacks to distract you from accomplishing those goals. Learn from them and keep moving. One of my main struggles is being the only employee of my business. I do everything: shipping, content creating, social media, customer service, buying, modeling, location shoot scouting, etc. My advice for other young women looking to start this journey is to be fearless, ask for help if needed, and to just START! I have to admit that I was fearful and not very confident before starting my business and it held me back. I had to erase all my fears and convert them into faith to get me where I am today.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with AVANT GORGEOUS – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Avant Gorgeous is an online women’s apparel and accessories brand specializing in unique, stylish pieces. Created and founded by me, Monera James. I am a fashion and style enthusiast who has always had an eye for style and creating looks that are wearable, unique, and that showcase individuality. Each product is hand-picked and represents my personal style or items that I would wear. Avant Gorgeous is my platform to share my fashion interest with others while providing the opportunity to build a community of like-minded fashionistas. I am most proud of creating a positive fashion space for women like myself who may suffer from self-confidence, self-love, or simply happiness in their lives. My business is not just another fashion boutique, it caters to women who may need a word of advice or a boost in confidence. My goal at Avant Gorgeous is to help women feel strong, stylish, powerful, confident, culturally conscious and aware of their valuable self-worth, whether they’re lounging in a t-shirt or suited for a business meeting.

There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that a lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
I highly recommend finding a mentor or someone who is in your chosen industry. There are many platforms today that provide mentorship programs online. Also know that you can simply read a book, listen to a podcast, or attend an event created by or that features someone who you admire in your industry of choice. I recommend continuously researching and learning about your industry. When it comes to networking, it’s easy once you get over that initial fear of speaking up. Look up events in your area, pick one, and go! Everything that I have advised I’ve learned then implemented what I was taught. Knowledge is power and wealth!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photos by Photographer/Videographer Sean Samuels

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