#GirlBOSS: Neosha Gardner of CreateHER Stock
Raise your hand if you've ever felt frustrated beyond belief when trying to find authentic and creative stock images featuring women of color. *raises BOTH hands* As a #BrownGirlBlogger, it's important to me to have the images that accompany my posts reflect, well, ME! So imagine my excitement when I came across CreateHER Stock, a FREE photo resource for creatives of color.
Even more impressive than the service is the phenomenal woman behind the brand, Neosha Gardner. I chatted with the Georgia mom about her brainchild, the best career advice she's ever received and much more!
How did CreateHER Stock come about?
CHS was a spur of an idea. During my pregnancy last year, I had A LOT of time to relax and acknowledge more of my thoughts and ideas. As I wrote in my journal my frustrations - not being able to find certain images for a blog post was one of them. I've encountered this issue several times before. My inspiration came from my own struggles with finding and outsourcing images as well as the struggles from other women who were dealing with the same problem.
Why do you think it's important for us as Black women to own our image?
It's important that as Black women we take ownership of our image because only we know how to perceive our truth. Mainstream media, television, and even movies often portray us victims, angry women, and inferior. In reality - although some women exist to be those things due to how we're portrayed - a lot more of us are the total opposite. We're strong, powerful, balanced, and love with conviction. I'm a firm believer that Black women are not only creators of a human species, but we're also the solutions to many of life's issues - politics - and resources.
What are your hopes goals for CreateHER Stock?
I hope for many things for CHS. Those hopes translate in my goals as well. The goal is to grow CreateHER Stock to be in a position where we become the go-to resource for individuals for all things authentic stock imagery. We hope to travel and involve everyday people and their lives into our photography. Nothing is more real than life as it happens. Authenticity and transparency is always the goal for CHS and the image we share.
I hope to partner with several people to bring to the CHS community greater resources that will help them not only promote what they do in a better way - but that also focuses on making us a better community through teamwork -mental wellness - support - and sisterhood. We're something unlike any photo stock site.
Tell me more about HUNCreative/Hasneounique, your brand design studio, and how it came about.
Well HasneoUnique originally began as "LaFemmeNieyo" back in 2009 then became HasneoRNG in 2012- lol. I've always had a huge love for creating and drawing things so naturally I made that something I did for other people. Like anyone in design, I definitely came a LONG way in my craft so I own work that I'm not so proud of today but it helped me grow my skill. I started my business by doing $10 logos for people. That's crazy to me now.
"Hasneo" is actually my name (Neosha) scrambled up. Unique is used because I'm weird and simply wanted to be different like I've always been. HUNCreative is the shortened version of my biz name and plus it accidentally matches who I cater to - HUN (female). I create web and graphic collateral for women who mean business both online and offline.
When did you first fall in love with design?
I fell in love with design more seriously my last year in high school (2009). During the summer before my senior year, I attended a summer on college campus residency program, Upward Bound. We took classes, trips, and all. One of my classes involved web design so I learned how to code a basic website and I literally fell in the love with the process.
From there, I went about learning more and got into software and all. The more I knew, the better I became.
What advice do you have for young women who want to start their own business?
There will NEVER be a perfect time to start. If you don't start your business or prepare for one today, do it tomorrow. I quit my 9 to 5 in 2012 to pursue my design business full-time and didn't think twice about it. Sometimes just trusting who you are and trusting in your ability to make something out of nothing is all you really need.
What's the best career advice you've ever received?
The best advice - hmm. If all you hope to make is money, you'll remain broke. In other words, I was told that money should never be something you chase. If you do what you love and it's true, money will come either way and beautiful karma will as well. Never take advantage of anyone's lack of knowledge or speak to shame. Be of service, solve issues, and create solutions.
Bonus Round: What is your morning routine? My morning routine involves the obvious but it also involves a good tea, a great book, an overview of my to-do list, and dirty diapers.
What is your biggest regret? I would have to say none. I try my best to live life without regrets. I believe anything that comes into ours lives is either created by us or meant for us. Our life paths vary so any experience we have should be taken as lessons we learn and grow from.
What is your most prized possession? My most prized possession is my femininity. I am a woman. I am a Black woman and I own that. I have the power to hurt, speak, birth, encourage, love, and heal. So possession of self is surely the most prized - life is always beautiful to have.
Who is your #GirlCrush and why? THAT is tough. I never really had a girl crush. I have women whose purposes I admire. Ladies like Ambrosia Malbrough, Maya Elious, Mama Kemmy, Melissa Kimble etc. So many to name but I admire them because they are so open and honest with life, business, and self. I respect their talents and enjoy the many things they share.
What advice would you give your 17-year-old self? I would tell her to more patient. Anything that is meant for you wiil come. Time is only perception and that your path is built on the work you put in. I wish she knew then that you can't help everyone or force others to see their own greatness.
What is your superpower? My superpower is my lack of complacency. I'm always looking to grow, enhance, and keep it moving.
Do you know someone who should be featured as a #GirlBOSS? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration!