What does creating with intention mean to you? While social media is booming with up and coming influencers and content creators pushing out back to back projects, all with the hopes of becoming noticed fast, fashion designer and girl boss Skylar Marshai sheds light on what it truly means to create with purpose and trust God for everything else to fall into place.
Who is Skylar Marshai?
From the 404 to the 212, Skylar grew up in Atlanta, GA and is now seeking out her dreams of being her own boss in the big city of New York. But entrepreneurship wasn’t always first on the list. Skylar grew up with two wonderful parents who provided no guard rails for the amount of success she could attain. Whether that was playing football outside with the boys or ultimately starting her very own lingerie line, she has always had a supportive team of family and good friends behind her encouraging her to do whatever it is she puts her mind to.
“I didn’t feel like there was something doing any good for my spirit until fashion and until the idea of owning a business came into it,” said Marshai. ” At the age of 15, I decided to pick up a sewing machine and I wanted to try making my own clothes. I got so much fulfillment from that because this was mine!”
Although she understood the importance of knowing what it’s like to work for someone having done her time at her local bakery and being on teams for track and the math leagues, nothing sparked in her the way it did when she discovered that creating her own personal brand was possible.
Moving to New York was no easy task for her. It took almost the entire first year of being on her own for her to truly be comfortable in the new environment. Dealing with a bit of depression from being lonely and away from her family took a toll on her mentally. However, this was no hurdle she couldn’t overcome. Skylar truly leaned on God during this time to overcome and really face herself.
“I was a big fish in a little pond. That’s how I felt out in Atlanta,” she shared. “To come [to New York], it was so overwhelming and I wasn’t connecting with people. I didn’t have friends, nobody I could really call on. But I think in order to do some soul searching, you have to disconnect.”
Through a lot of self-actualization, she learned to just trust in God’s plan. Luckily, Skylar was able to get out of her moving slump the moment it was time for her to start connecting with people, as God starting presenting her with different opportunities to make connections and relationships in different aspects of her life.
“I think the most rewarding of that was finding myself in the city. I’m big on traveling because I think it’s important to see yourself in different spaces. When you look at how you might act and present yourself at work vs. home or friends vs. family, we change depending on the climate. Imagine that amplified when you move to a new location, you have to face yourself in a different way. I think it’s important to constantly put yourself in that uncomfortable position of figuring what you look like and who you are around different people and different spaces.”
Starting out at Parsons School of Design, Skylar initially studied fashion design. She then decided to switch over to strategic design and management.
“The great thing about Parsons is that they are big on sustainability. Asking the questions of why are you creating? Are you creating with intent?”
These were questions Skylar asked herself constantly, which in turn, opened the doors to the lingerie world. The intent of loving women and the need of things for black women by black women drove her head on into creating her very own line, As You Are. As You Are is more than just its pieces, but about the people wearing it, the community, the affirmations and perspective of everything it actually stands for.
Marshai saw a need in the lingerie community where brands are only hitting on one or two, but not all three factors: Quality, design detail or intricacy, and inclusivity.
“I’m trying to stay in the realms of what people want,” said Marshai. “[They want] beautiful lingerie that’s comfortable and that fits them and their body. When we talk about nudes, [we are] finding shades that are actually your skin type and not just one basic nude color that is meant for everybody. The idea of the company is that it fits you ‘as you are.’ Come as you are with your scars, with what you might deem as imperfections, and whatever size, shape or shade, you are welcomed and catered to.”
As You Are:
The As You Are brand is more of an experience for yourself. Skylar is breaking barriers and reminding women that, yes it is nice to get cute and sexy for your significant other, but it starts with you. Her pieces are to make the woman feel good and to bring back the idea that it is okay to want to look good for yourself without you thinking of or putting someone else first. When it comes to the production of the As You Are brand, Skylar explains that she had to take a moment and step back for rebranding.
“I realized that I was missing a mark and I needed to go back and make some corrections. I need to step back into the community aspect that the line is supposed to represent. Where I invite women on to share their stories and create spaces for women to talk about what they’ve been through, where they are and where they’re going when it comes to body positivity and loving themselves.”
“As You Are is a worn representation of a love letter that you’ve written to yourself. It is intimate, personal and specific for you. Because who else knows you like you do? Who else can talk to you and love you and hold you other than you? So why not create lingerie that does the same.” – Skylar Marshai
The ideas for Skylar’s brand and the amount of success she has conquered this far is not something that happened overnight. With big dreams of being in the Forbes 30 under 30, to being able to handle all of her parents’ bills and send her siblings to college, these accomplishments come with hard work and faith in God.
Along with her faith, Marshai attributes her daily affirmations to getting her going and manifesting everything she wants and more. One of her key strategies is speaking into existence everything that she wants to herself regardless of the resources, or regardless of if it sounds realistic at the moment. Maintaining a positive outlook and inviting the happiness and wealth that she wants, with hard work on her end, of course, has worked out tremendously for her.
Marshai limits the number of boxes she puts herself in and stands true to the idea that there is power in the tongue.
“When I am down I remind myself that I am good, I am enough, and I am handled. It has already been taken care of.”
Wearing multiple hats:
Aside from being a student, a business owner, and social media influencer, Skylar has worked with renowned businesses like Macy’s, Nine West, Barney’s and more currently Buzzfeed. While holding the position of a social media strategist for Buzzfeed, she has taken away a lot that not only helps her in her day job but reflects the information and strategies she uses for her personal brand as well. Skylar explains how important it is to save face but remain authentic.
Being linked to her job at Buzzfeed means representing that brand on all aspects and although the Skylar Marshai brand is very curated, she believes that authenticity is most important. With Instagram’s ever-changing algorithm, the keys to success on the platform are truly trial and error.
“Once you catch the wave, you kind of just ride it out and keep doing the same things,” said Marshai. Whether for her personal brand or for Buzzfeed, Marshai believes consistency is huge and creating purposeful content for the people that are following is extremely important.
Marshai has made strides with Buzzfeed and takes her position there as a young black woman very seriously. Being the change in the industry she wanted to see, she turned social handles around in a matter of months with the help of her team. Fortunately, Marshai is afforded an inviting work environment where creatives can really just spread their wings the way they see fit. If something is wrong, they work together on why it was wrong and ways to improve.
Aside from creating constant quality content, she says you have to stay authentic. Social media is a highlight reel. You have to be careful because nobody is going to put out the bad that goes on in their lives.
“Whatever it is you decide to go with, music, fashion, design, marketing, authenticity is at the root of it. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter when it comes to social media. The network could shut down and then where would you be? Who are you in the end when all of that happens? If you haven’t already been practicing authenticity, you’re going to be lost when it comes to your career and relationships. When you are embracing who you are, ‘as you are’, that is what’s most important.”