A Chat With Personal Brand & Fashion Entrepreneur- Dyandra Ray
- Tell brandistas a tad about Dyandra Raye’s personal brand?
I’m Dyandra Raye, a fashion entrepreneur with a focus on wardrobe styling and custom closets. I started a styling service called Styled by Dyandra in 2013 and recently co-founded Boutique Your Closet with my partner Brittany Arial. Fashion has always been a passion of mine, learning all about clothing and accessories as my Mom’s muse. I’ve always had a knack for entrepreneurship! I created a managed multiple faux businesses as a 5 year old, then post college I pursued my dreams and became an entrepreneur. I started out on the corporate side soon realizing that I had an itch to be more creative in my career. So, I packed my bags, at the time I was living in Dallas and working as an Assistant Buyer; relocated to New York and the rest is history. After freelancing in New York on various films, photoshoots and video shoots, I inadvertently created a business. I quickly realized that I needed to learn more about the business of fashion. Fast forward a bit, I am now pursuing a Masters in Global Fashion Enterprise to turn Boutique Your Closet and Styled by Dyandra into international fashion brands.
- Working on the corporate side of fashion and wanting to transition to the creative side, how did you know the right time to make the transition?
I knew it was the right time to transition when I started loosing interest in what I was doing everyday. I think it is important to follow your passion and what drives you. It’s mandatory in order to be successful in your career. If you can wake up every morning and be excited to get to work, that is the ultimate reward. Once I realized that I wasn’t achieving this I knew that I needed to make a change. A. What difficulties/ fears/ obstacles did you face when deciding to make that transition? I was ultimately fearful of the lack of consistent money. I went from getting two paychecks a month to waiting on checks for months. I knew that this would be the case so quitting and freelancing was indeed a risk. I used books, exercise and positive thinking to get me through this tough transition. Once I started freelancing other obstacles arose such as making a name for myself, starting over after working for a few years and learning a whole different world! B. Making that transition can be difficult, how important was creating a strong personal brand in making the transition successful? At first I didn’t even know how important it was, I just stood by the mantra that being me was the best way to be. This is what my personal brand is built off of, what I love doing and who I truly am. As my personal brand grew and my resume began filling up so many doors opened that I couldn’t have even imagined. From working on a commercial for a Broadway show to styling Go Big or Go Home by American Authors, I never knew investing in my personal brand would take me down either of these paths. C. What did you do to create a strong personal brand that would be respected by your creative peers in fashion? In order to create a strong personal brand I made sure I was remaining true to me. I only go to events that I find beneficial, talk about subjects that I am passionate about and take on projects that I believe in. When you do things for any other reason, it shows. Strong personal brands are based on knowing who you are and what you are willing to do.
- When did you know that your transition was “working” and things came together?
Once people started taking an interest in what I was doing and recognizing me for my work, I knew what I was doing was working. I never do anything for recognition, so receiving that anyway is the icing on the cake. I also knew things were working when I was able to sustain myself by just freelancing. I manage my site, write the content, shoot the photos, market myself all while styling the projects and building closets with my co-founder. The fact that I was able to do all this and people paid me for my talents let me know that things were working.
- You currently run two businesses, styled by dyandra and boutique your closet, how do you manage to maximize both endeavors 100%?
There would be no Boutique Your Closet without Styled by Dyandra. The idea came from merging styling with custom closets to create what is now known as Boutique Your Closet. So they both go hand in hand and need each other to survive. Knowing and accepting this allows me to manage both endeavors. I also have a wonderful co-founder and partner who is there every step of the way as we build Boutique Your Closet.
- How do you think style affects personal branding?
Style is my personal brand. Style is more than what you wear, it is who you are, what you say, what you do and more. My style, which is eccentric, classy and sassy wrapped in one, is a reflection of my creative vision and who I am, so that is the center of my personal brand.
- What are some style essentials for our Brandistas on a budget to add to their wardrobe?
I always suggest to add budget friendly basics to your wardrobe each season so that you can create a multitude of looks! That includes a white and black v-neck tee, skinny denim, black pumps and a black blazer. From these pieces alone you can create so many looks and each season a different version of each basic is offered from distressed to relaxed fits and washes. I also love accessories, they can transform any outfit. A statement ring, bib necklace or cool cuff can take your look to the next level. Lastly, I suggest a good pair of metallic flats or pumps. I love metallic shoes because they make any look appear more chic and polished. For brandistas looking for budget friendly stores try shopping vintage, H&M and Zara. I love ASOS for affordable fashion that will last a few seasons. These stores are great for affordable, stylish and unique pieces.
- Before we wrap, please share a snippet of personal branding advice you would’ve told your 18 year old self?
I would tell my 18 year old self to be herself and let everything else fall in place. Your personal brand is who you are, take time to get to know and love everything about you!
Check out Dyandra’s brands and connect with this super cool brandista!