By: Sophia Danner-Okotie

Women’s History Month continues, and I must say, I’ve never seen so many people celebrating women like we are this month. Finally, right? The props we’re receiving, the opportunities created, and the respect, are all long overdue.

One lady who’s thriving during this empowerment movement is Alexandria Alli, Designer and Founder of the luxury handbag brand, F&W Style. Her bags are colorful, fun, affordable, and oh so stylish.

I met Alexandria in 2016 and was immediately captivated by her professionalism and knowledge of “The Biz.” Most importantly, I remember how willing she was to give me advice. I’ve watched her take some major leaps in the almost 3 years since meeting her. Just last year, Macy’s began carrying her line.

I visited F&W Style’s new studio in Atlanta to learn more about her story.

“Fashion kind of runs in my blood. My mom is a designer. I would sew little Barbie doll clothes for my Barbie dolls.” says Alexandria.

Her love for fashion drove her into a modeling career. After years of representing other brands on camera, she found herself in an office as a banker.

“There’s nothing that will let you know what your passion is than being where you are not passionate.”

 

 

“There’s nothing that will let you know what your passion is than being where you are not passionate.”

With encouragement from family, she launched her brand in 2009. Like many entrepreneurs, Alexandria tells me she ran into many roadblocks in the beginning. First off, she couldn’t find any successful black women in the luxury handbag sector.

“I did a lot of research to find somebody that looked like me in this industry that was a household name. Not just an urban brand, but someone that everybody knew.”

10 years later, Alexandria’s hard and consistent work has placed her on a global platform. You can now find her bags in about 100 stores throughout the world, including retail partners in India, France, and Australia.

I asked Alexandria for advice on growing a successful brand. She told me the most effective ways are building and nurturing a network.

“Nobody grows by themselves. It’s all about people that you’re meeting, people that you’re connecting with. It could be relationships with an editor. It could be relationships with store owners.”

I left Alexandria’s studio feeling powerful. Her words serve as a source of inspiration for me, and I hope it does the same for all young entrepreneurs seeking success.

 

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