Cali native Angel Brinks has been the head designer and CEO of Angel Brinks Fashion for over 5 years. You may also know her as a cast member on VH1’s Basketball Wives LA. I talked to Angel and had her dish on life as a designer, mother, and reality TV star, check it out below.
How did you get your start in fashion?
I initially noticed I had an obsession with fashion when I was eight years old. All throughout elementary, middle school, and high school, my love for fashion grew. I would save up all my allowance to buy materials and make clothing. My grandmother lived with us, and she had a sewing machine so I would sit by her side and watch her sew. Not only did I love clothing, but I also pretended I had a clothing store. In high school, I was nominated for best dressed. It was between another girl and me. She won, and I remember I was so hurt. But, that didn’t stop me. I ended up attending college and really got into fashion design.
What made you decide to start your own clothing line instead of working for someone else?
I knew I had a lot of creative ideas, endless ideas. I didn’t want anyone to dictate when I would be able to release designs. Working for someone else was never even a thought. Not that it’s a bad idea, I just had to be 100% in control of everything. I started making pieces for myself. Everywhere I went, females asked me where I got what I had on. They would offer me money to make them the same thing. It got so overwhelming that I started not only making sample pieces, but many pieces of the same item. I launched my website, to be more “official,” and it was an overnight success.
When you first started Angel Brinks Fashion, what was the most challenging aspect for you?
When you start a business, there’s so much to it. You can’t just make money all the time. There’s licenses, insurances, ways of doing things. Employees, location, materials, etc. There is so much to making clothing, I wish it wasn’t so challenging. You have to have an amazing team. Pattern makers, cutters, sewers. Skilled, experienced, and efficient employees. You can’t just run a business, knowing business is very crucial and important. What was challenging in the beginning is putting it all together.
How did you develop your personal style?
Style is something you’re born with. It’s not taught. You have to have an eye for things. Style and fashion is a creative thing, comes from within. When you have eye and passion for something, it comes to you naturally.
What advice do you have for any young women looking to design or start their own clothing line?
I recommend taking business classes/courses, and fashion design school. You have to have a very good idea on how to do both, otherwise you can lose a lot of money not knowing how to run your company and keep customers happy.
What is the best and hardest part about being your own boss?
The hardest part about being a boss is having to sacrifice a lot of other things, like a personal life and family life. When you’re a boss, you’re not just working 9-5. You’re constantly working around the clock. A true boss never stops working. It may look like bosses are just relaxing sometimes, but a real boss is constantly thinking of their next move. So naturally, some things will not get as much attention. The best part of being a boss is making the decisions and working on your time. It’s also the best feeling to know you’re accomplishing your dream, and of course the pay for being your own boss is very rewarding.
Why is it important for your brand to have a diverse representation in your models and sizes?
A model is the one showing off the final product. Your hard labor. Your initial creation that took so many steps. So of course the model should represent the outfit the best as possible. A model should be able to show how the outfit will look on all different types of physiques. The last thing you want to do is be misleading. You want to be as clear as you possibly can when selling your product.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love being with my kids. It’s the only time I can feel younger again with no cares. It’s my only escape from the real world. Kids don’t feel the responsibilities of an adult, so being with them makes me feel happy. I do like to travel, I don’t get to do it much, but when I do, it’s fun to not be in my usual element. I love to cook, watch movies, go bowling, shop for shoes and handbags, and be in the presence of family and friends.
Who is someone you respect in the fashion industry and why?
Beyonce. Her confidence blows my mind. She wears whatever she pleases, from casual denim and pumps, to flashy one of a kind pieces. I don’t know her personal life, and I respect that. She gives me so much life through her music. She makes me feel strong. Family is extremely important to me, and from one hard working mother to another, I admire her work ethic and being able to balance both.
What tips do you have for business owners looking to increase their social media following?
Quality photos. You have to make someone stop, pause, and catch their attention. Make that one chance you get, a great impression. Also, there are a lot of social influencers with a lot of following. Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement, so I recommend advertising through them, but only if they truly enjoy your product. Nothing is worse than promoting something without trying it.
What’s the biggest misconception about you?
That I’m a push over. People think because I’m unbothered that I’m a push over. There is a huge difference between being unbothered and quiet. Just because I’ll allow people to talk to me any which way doesn’t mean you won. My “quietness” doesn’t mean you got to me. It only means that I truly don’t care to call you out on it or argue. Mature adults don’t need to be taught how to act, and I am only responsible for two people, my kids. I’m also the only CEO of my company since day one (almost six years now), there’s no way I could have made it this far being a push over. So that is the biggest misconception of me.
Why did you decide to take your personal brand further by joining reality television?
I’m a business woman. I will forever advertise my brand. I started of being a walking model of my line and it was an overnight success. Then it became word of mouth. I will always try all avenues to reach as many people as I can, so why not get on a hit reality show to reach another audience that may not be aware of my brand?
Where do you see Angel Brinks Fashion in the next few years?
I see my brand expanding to men’s fashion as well as children. Hopefully I will have perfume as well.
What do you want your supporters to take from this interview?
Nothing is handed to you. And even if it was, you have to continue to maintain it. Do not give up, take all your energy, bad or good, and put it to good use. Be who you want to be, because if you have passion for something then it will not fail.