Posts tagged with "Respire by Design"

Armon Hayes image via Armon Hayes for use by 360 Magazine

Armon

Armon Hayes is an editor for 360 Magazine and the creative director for Ace of Haze Style of Ace (AOHSOA). Armon’s innovative eye for detail allows him to create long lasting partnerships with clientele as he helps them develop their personal brands. His design brand offers styling, design services, brand management, and lifestyle products. AOHSOA’s brand motto, “It’s not who you wear, how” encompasses the thoughtfulness with which Armon addresses each individual client to best emphasize their strengths and build their brands. This personalized approach to brand management and styling allows for AOHSOA to stand out in the field of design.

Armon describes his career aspirations regarding AOHSOA: “I’ve always dreamed of being an entrepreneur in the retail/fashion industry. In addition to feeding my own design sweet tooth, I enjoy developing design ideas and working with others to help them fulfill their own creative dreams. I have married these passions with the creation of Ace of Haze Style of Ace (AOHSOA) in 2017. My brand offers not only a street-luxe clothing line, but also styling and design services, home and children’s decor options, and brand management–all with the goal of motivating and empowering other creatives to look, feel, and produce their best. Our goal is to express creativity through fashion, art, and lifestyle, encompassing all creative endeavors. The focus at AOHSOA is elevating our lifestyle and transitioning our mindset. We live on the cutting-edge and believe that the key to brand success is being a part of–and influencers within–movements of change. Our motto is “It’s not who you wear, how.” This approach means that personal style should transcend past fashion trends to reflect your personality and your brand: you. Whether you’re getting back into the workforce or celebrating a milestone, when you look good, you feel good, and the world around you recognizes such. With this in mind, anyone and everyone can benefit from my brand. My clients include individuals, retail clothing brands, non-profit organizations, an independent recording artist, beauty brands and a pop culture and design magazine. Through our products, events and services, each client’s brand has been elevated. In turn, clients have been empowered to dream, create and develop their potential as they share their gifts with the world.”

Armon originally worked his way up in the retail industry, and now has created his own brand. He explains his journey to reaching his current achievements: “To me, success is measured as any opportunity from which I’ve had to learn and grow. In 2015/2016, before creating AOHSOA, I had the opportunity to participate in a spring product review when employed by True Religion as a store director. This experience sparked ideas in me for my future and gave me a raw understanding of the inner workings of a successful brand. My creativity and marketing sense was ignited in a way that I still look back on with gratitude. This experience led me to working as the assistant stylist for Toure Designs’ fashion show in 2018. At the fashion show, I had an idea that I felt would elevate a look just moments before the model was to walk the runway: having the model walk while shirtless. Fortunately, it was a very well received style suggestion. In that moment, I learned to trust my instincts, which has helped, and will continue to help, my endeavors with AOHSOA.

“More recently, I worked on several projects with independent recording artist, LaJune. As her personal stylist and creative director for three years, this is truly a passion project. During the pandemic, we collaborated on two live performances and two music videos. Additionally, we worked on an editorial shoot featuring Land Rover’s Defender to be featured in 360 Magazine. More recently, I hosted my second pop-up shop activation, The Bodega. The relaxed shopping event featured AOHSOA trunk options, and introduced a new assortment of blouses & dresses called “Onesie”. The one-size-fit-most offerings were a success, selling out of samples and having many orders placed. 2020 highlighted my need to develop a multifunctional living space, which has been an integral piece to my growth and development as a business owner. With the help of talented friends, family and supporters, we developed a space for myself and other creatives to come to develop their art and conduct business, with a twist. This living space has proved successful for both LaJune, AOHSOA, and my partners, as they may continue working, producing and creating safely during the uncertainty. The space, #360TRAP, has led to invaluable collaborations and partnerships.”

“While the pandemic has weighed heavy on small business owners, Armon found a way to take advantage of his downtime. He continues explaining how 2020 affected his career path and personal vision: “The pandemic has helped me realize the need for businesses and artists to pivot and evolve in order to overcome challenges. It became important to use the down time of lockdown wisely so that I wouldn’t lose the momentum I’ve generated, nor plateau creatively. I found myself unemployed and unable to operate AOHSOA in the traditional way. However, I felt even more committed to making AOHSOA successful and on the front lines of a movement of change. With the time the pandemic afforded me to commit myself to this passion full-time, I developed my administrative and brand management skill set in preparation for a resurgence. Additionally, the social justice movement gave people like myself an opportunity to reflect on the times and ways in which we can impact the world and its ecosystem. AOHSOA is committed to progress in diversity and inclusivity – it’s who we are. Expressing myself creatively supported me with a clearer perspective, and more importantly, an outlet for my process. I began sewing more, creating merchandise, and focusing on building my inventory and my social presence through blogging. I strategized around ensuring AOHSOA could survive and thrive in a pandemic, and set goals for the next six months. After creating a space, #360TRAP, in partnership with 360 Magazine, I developed concepts and ideas that mutually benefitted my business and my clients. I grew my client list and increased sales by $515 over this time last year. I honed in on social media engagement, adding a layer to my brand by sharing lifestyle aspects via my blog. On the blog, I discuss all things fashion, music and lifestyle, with elements of design. I am also working toward evolving this business into a bespoke brand with customized curations, as well as capsule fashion.

“As a precursor to World Blood Day and my birthday in June 2021, AOHSOA hosted a pop-up shop called the Bodega that featured several clients and sponsors. These collaborators included Respire by Design, The 6th Clothing Co., a local NYC tattoo artist,  Chinelos Tacos NYC food truck, CocoOil, and Zavor. The event was a direct response to realign and reconnect with my community post-isolation. I continued to develop concepts for LaJune, including a streetwear collection of merchandise for her third EP, Mind. The merchandise collection is titled #mindmerch, and has been made available to her fans and supporters of AOHSOA. Our partnership, live performances, and music videos led to a collaboration with Viacom and a video shot at Smash Studios. These challenging times have taught me to pivot (sometimes at a moment’s notice), adjust, and be consistent in executing my plans. Having a network of talented supporters and friends has allowed for delegation and shared responsibilities, and most importantly, resources. All of these efforts resulted in a 47% increase in site sessions over 2020, with 51% representing unique visitors retaining 38% of existing traffic. As we enter the fourth quarter of this year, at my digital shop we anticipate an increased in traffic shy of 26% of last year’s visitors. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, I committed myself to elevating my brand with proven success. I embrace future challenges with an open heart because I know they will only make me smarter and stronger.”

Armon continues to work to grow his innovative, fashionable design brand, Ace of Haze Style of Ace. Through conducting SWOT analyses and evaluating his business practices, Armon looks to the future with determination and his signature creative flair. He is committed to inclusivity and actively works to pay forward his successes. Armon looks to use the platform AOHSOA has granted him to continue to pursue his own dreams, and help others do the same. He looks to not only building his brand empire, but also giving back to his community through charitable endeavors and his design abilities. Through creating opportunities for and mentoring the next generation of future fashion entrepreneurs, Armon aims to aid other young creatives in finding their own personal brands.

In describing his brand’s business model, Armon remarks that ” I believe that newly formed corporations should add activations for their diverse team members to feel comfortable and accepted no matter their color, creed, belief, sexuality or religion, and I aim to have AOHSOA be a leader in this effort. I want to position my organization to reflect the “Ballroom” culture within the LGBTQ community, by fostering a movement in life & style and allowing creatives a safe space to hone their skills and talents while they build their network. I am also looking forward to becoming more active in charitable endeavors, specifically working with kids/teens to help them find their brand within.”

Follow AOHSOA on Instagram and check out their website.

Armon Hayes image via Armon Hayes for use by 360 Magazine

Respire by Design image via Nyla M Grant for use by 360 magazine

RESPiRE by DESiGN

In 2015, veteran Nyja M. Grant’s health was drastically declining. Her doctor informed her that she was going to have to make a decision. She saw several specialists, and they all agreed. To ensure that she was making the right decision, Nyja began researching her condition, less evasive treatment options and what had possibly caused it. 

Nyja’s research led her to alarming data. She learned that by age fifty, 80 percent of African American women of African descent are diagnosed with uterine fibroids. Nyja was astounded. Digging a little deeper, she found out that fibroids are the number one cause of hysterectomies and other reproductive issues. Several studies have linked the ingredients in African American beauty products to infertility, fibroids, and ovarian cysts. Many hair products on the market for Black women contain chemicals that affect hormones and can cause these bodily issues. These harmful ingredients contribute to the higher mortality rate concerning neo-natal deaths for Black women. With Nyja’s failing health, thinning hair and continuous alopecia flare ups, she decided to make a change. 

Nyja chose to use this time to heal from the inside out. She promised to give herself a two-year grace period. During this time, she would not relax, cut, or dye her hair. She began to research alternative natural hair care and body products. Nyja searched for products that were safe, good quality and didn’t break her spending plan. To Nyja’s dismay, she was not able to find any products that she loved. 

In formulating her product, Nyja chose to use ingredients that were free from parabens and mineral oils, with no dyes or unnatural fragrances. She instead only opts for necessary and natural components, such as avocado, argan and jojoba oil. Not only are her products FDA-approved, but they are also cold-pressed and organic. As such, her skin and hair care easily penetrates hair shafts and absorbs into the body. Nyja’s focus on clean integrants also reflects her simplistic approach to branding. 

RESPiRE by DESiGN (RbD) products work for all hair types, no matter one’s ethnicity or gender. These unisex formulations can be also used for the face and skin to provide hydration, exfoliation, and moisturizing properties. R&D’s “Restore” neem oil is has anti-inflammatory attributes, which are great for rashes, eczema, and psoriasis. For those who struggle with pigmentation and dark spots, “Lots of Love” can be used directly on the skin or infused into bath water. The company’s oil can also be used for cuticle care and massages. A little bit of this product goes a long way, and because of its many uses, it is wonderful for travel. Nyja helps heal her customers from the inside out, and they continue to repurchase her trustworthy, versatile hair and skin care. 

RESPiRE by DESiGN is geared towards 30–40-year-old women. However, Nyja’s demographic is expanding now more than ever as Black hair is becoming more protected by HR agencies. Whereas Black hair has wrongfully been seen as unprofessional– and children have been banned from school for sporting their natural styles– this antiquated attitude is beginning to shift. Now, celebrities like Justin Beiber are sporting dreads, and the politics of Black hair are being brought into the cultural conversation by change-makers like Gabrielle Union 

As the years passed, Nyja started to give out her butters as gifts. People loved her healthy, safe, affordable product and wanted more. One day, Nyja’s son told her that she should sell her product. He even provided her with a whole business plan. Nyja launched RESPiRE by DESiGN as a birthday gift to herself, while living in the United Kingdom. 

RESPiRE by DESiGN Mission Statement

“’Respire:’ to build hope and strength, despite difficulty. I understand that life is not all about looks, but let’s be honest – people feel better if they are comfortable in their own bodies. Something as simple as a good hair day and glowing skin can do wonders for self-esteem. ‘RESPiRE by DESiGN’ was birthed from a difficult situation, and evolved beyond being just a business. For founder Nyja, ‘RESPiRE by DESiGN’ is personal. The lowercase ‘i’ stands for inner beauty, insight, inspiration, and intention. ”

  • Nyja M. Grant, Founder & CEO, Analyst, Database Manager, Anthropologist, Epidemiologist, Veteran

Questions for RESPiRE by DESiGN by 360 Magazine:

How did your diagnosis affect your outlook on life?

When I was diagnosed, I felt vindicated. I had been seeing doctors and specialists for nine years, only for them to insinuate that I was a hypochondriac. While I was elated to have a diagnosis, my new reality hit me hard.  I would no longer be able to bear children. My hope for a little Nyja was not going to happen. The pain made me go into research mode. I wanted to identify ways to help myself, what caused fibroids, and how to prevent this from happening to others. I couldn’t change the damage that was done, but I can prevent further by using healthier products. When I could not find healthier products, I decided to make them.

What type of ingredients do you use in your body butter?

Each of my products are formulated with ingredients that are cold pressed, vegan-friendly, and do not contain preservatives, chemicals, and dyes. Each product is safe if ingested, making it safe for our skin and hair to absorb.

The oils I use are: Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Castor Oil, Olive Oil, Jojoba Oil, Argon, Vitamin E and Neem Oil

For scents I use the following essential oils: Lavender, Tangerine, Vanilla, Ylang Ylang, and Peppermint

The butters I use are: Mango Butter & Cocoa Butter.

Whether you choose RbD products or not, please keep in mind that your skin is the largest organ on your body. Everything you put on your body will eventually be absorbed into your body.

What is the difference between a body butter and lotion?

To be honest, not much. Several soap recipes use similar ingredients. I just haven’t had a large enough demand from my customers to add soaps to my product line. However, my plan is to add hand-crafted soaps to my line in 2022.

The key difference between a lotion and a butter is in their ingredients. Body butter contains shea butter, and various oils like coconut, or jojoba. Body lotion is often a combination of water and oils. Body butter is often thicker, heavier, and has an oilier finish to it. However, RbD products are uniquely formulated to absorb quickly into the skin and hair to prevent leaving an oily finish.

In what ways does hair butter help hair?

RbD’s ReNew Hair Butter is naturally formulated using oils similar to those produced by our body. This makes it easier for these oils to penetrate quickly to soften hair, minimize tangles, smooth hair follicles, provides moisture, prevent split ends and breakage, improve retention, nourish the scalp, provide protection from sun damage, and promote hair growth.

Would you recommend your hair butter for all types of hair?

Yes, I would recommend ReNew for all hair types. However, I would suggest the product be used as described below:

For thin or straight hair– Use ReNew Hair Butter as a hair mask. Let the mask remain on your hair for 10-20 minutes. Wash your hair as normal with lukewarm water.

For thick, coiled, kinky, or curly hair– Use ReNew Hair Butter when pre-shampooing. Apply a generous amount to your hair, then add your conditioner of choice. If you are going to use a plastic cap, allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes. If you are using a steamer, allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes. Then, rinse out the conditioner using lukewarm water.

Does RESPiRE by DESiGN have any new products coming out in 2021?

Yes, I have two products coming out in 2021–ReStore Hair Oil and Bath Bombs.

ReStore Hair Oil was formulated for individuals who have a temperamental scalp. The key ingredient is Neem Oil. Research has shown that Neem Oil has the following benefits: promotes hair growth, prevents boldness, conditions hair, helps with dandruff and itching, treats head lice, treats scalp infections, and prevents premature graying.

If used as a body oil ReStore will: moisturize, sooth inflamed and itchy skin, repel insects, treat acne and pimples, treat hyperpigmentation, treat scars and blackheads, act as a layer of protection against environmental damage.

Respire by Design image via Nyla M Grant for use by 360 magazine

Respire by Design image via Nyla M Grant for use by 360 magazine

Respire by Design image via Nyla M Grant for use by 360 magazine
Respire by Design image via Nyla M Grant for use by 360 magazine
Respire by Design image via Nyla M Grant for use by 360 magazine