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Graphic designer Ashley Sims helps Black women boost their businesses

Ashley Sims (Photo credit: Kristine Robinson )

Ashley Sims took a risk and it changed her life for the better. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked for a handful of corporate companies. In 2014, she launched the Aesthetic Girl Design Studio.

The Aesthetic Girl Design Studio is a graphic, print and web design company based in Atlanta and Brooklyn, New York. Sims works with fashion and beauty brands, and bloggers who want to promote their work and services in an aesthetically outstanding manner.

The designer shared with us her views on risk-taking and collaboration.

As a woman of color, what do you consider your superpower to be?

My superpower is my ability to quickly assimilate in any environment. As a woman of color, you must be able to comfortably navigate any environment with class, versatility, and smarts. I have the ability to be just as comfortable in a boardroom full of predominately White Ivy League grads as I am with my girls grabbing drinks at a mom-and-pop coffee shop in Bedstuy, Brooklyn.

What key skills or qualities make you unique?

My eye for design [and] being able to curate without brainstorming is something that comes naturally to me. Since I was young I’ve always been able to identify names of fonts and styles very well and match them with a brand story. I’m pretty sure this is because my dream has always been to own a magazine someday and design the layouts myself.

What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self, things in your future are going to surprise. Don’t worry girl, you’ll be just fine. Don’t forget where you came from and hold tight to those values Mumsie instilled in you. They’ll come in handy when your character is tested.

Why is it important for women of color to lead or work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?

The mind of the woman of color is like that of no other if you ask me. When in a bind, we are resourceful and we work great under pressure because we know we must succeed. It is important for us to be seen in leadership positions to represent the underrepresented masses of our culture to bring light to what affects us and assure all minds matter.

If you could thank any Black woman history maker for her contributions to society, who it would it be and why?

I would thank Elaine Welteroth for her contributions to the art and fashion industry. As the former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue and second African American in history to hold this title, she is an inspiration to all Black women. I am thankful that she is making her mark on society unapologetically spewing Black girl magic on the fashion community. Every young girl and teen girl can aspire to someday kill it at a renowned publication in a high-level position just [as] she did.

Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?

My biggest inspiration is my mother. I’m so inspired by her ability to sacrifice and push through any circumstance. She sacrificed her love for fashion when I was born to become a nurse for job security. Since then she has been diagnosed with lupus, but she never lets her illness hold her back as an excuse from day-to-day responsibilities and hobbies. It’s amazing to witness strength and courage on that level.

What are three success habits you implement in your daily routine to maintain your success, sanity, peace of mind, etc.?

I wake up early because the early bird catches the worm and keeps a sane mind throughout the day.

I find inspiration every morning and night on Pinterest and in magazines because it’s important to constantly expand your mind. It’s important to keep an open to new sensory information that keeps you on trend. “If you see a great master, you will always find that he used what was good in his predecessors and that it was this which made him great.

Each day, I pray and talk to God as it keeps me grounded, humble, and grateful at all times.

How do you feel about the hashtag #CollaborationOverCompetition? What qualities or values do you deem indispensable in your business partners or collaborators?

I love the idea of collaboration. I’m a strong believer that everyone has their own taste and unique skills to offer the world. You can work with a collaborator and not step on one another’s toes. It’s important to bridge relationships, cross promote with like-minded brands for additional exposure. However, my must-have quality in a collaborator is the ability to compromise. When working together with a partner, you will both have many ideas that will be brought to the table — so it’s imperative that we are both able to compromise when a disagreement arises. I’m all about girl power and always down for a beneficial collaboration.

What are your thoughts on taking risks? Making mistakes?

My favorite quote is “The magic happens outside of your comfort zone.” If you don’t take risks, you’ll never experience the beauty of the unknown. I’ve found over the years that some of my biggest risk-taking experiences have been the most rewarding experiences in my career and personal life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made many mistakes but they have been just as rewarding because of the lessons I’ve learned. It only takes me making one mistake for me to learn to never make that mistake again.