What can I say? I have a thing for authentic women who choose to win on their own terms. Lamara Davis is one of those women. Blessed with the talent to create, style, and design, Lamara is the CEO of Ainkas Jewels, a collection of women’s clothing and fashion jewelry that embodies chic and contemporary styling with a hint of fabulosity. It’s no wonder that all of the pieces she chooses and designs for her collections are all bold, beautiful, and full of personality because Lamara is exactly the same way. In this candid interview, she shares how she sets her brand apart in her industry, overcomes life and business obstacles, and manages to do everything she wants and dreams while also being an active mom to her son, Kyan. Lamara is truly defining what it means to live life unapologetically and intentionally on purpose. Take notes.
Who is Lamara Davis?
- I am a mom, a friend, a business woman, and an Island girl that loves to have a good time.
When you’re not working on projects for Ainkas Jewels, how do you spend your time?
- I spend a lot of time with my son Kyan. Other than that, I have to make time to have fun. Many people with businesses tend to sacrifice the fun in pursuit of growing their business, but that won’t work for me. I will only be 30 once and I want to enjoy what it has to offer. I never want to forsake the moment in pursuit of my business because I already know what is meant for me is for me.
Who or what is Ainkas Jewels named after? Why?
- The name “Ainkas” is an African name that means powerful and complete. It defines women that desire to lead, women who are courageous, bold, energetic, strong-willed, and stand out among the rest. It’s crazy how this name fell on my lap to be honest. I began creating this company in 2006 when I was in college. I sat at the computer and my thought process was that I wanted a name that looked and sounded expensive as well as of African origin. So, I googled African names and came across Ainkas. I did not take much time to research the definition, I just thought it looked nice. Years down the road when I really began to cultivate this business, I took some time to really research the name, and I was blown away. Everything that my brand is was defined by this name. Everything that I am was defined by this name. I can only think it was just a little kiss from God because at the time I had no idea the name has no much meaning, but when it all came together it was perfect.
What inspired you to become a jewelry designer and start Ainkas Jewels?
- I have always wanted to do fashion and sell clothing, it was like my ultimate dream, but when I was in college I did not have the finances to even begin selling clothing so I decided to sell jewelry. The cost of entry was low and the minimum purchase required was low. It was perfect for me. I have always loved accessorizing and was the friend that everyone came to for the finishing touches of accessories, so I knew I would be good at it. That’s how I started with the jewelry. My brand did not really develop until years later when I was pregnant with Kyan. I have been serious about my business for the last four years and the brand has grown in ways I never imagined.
As a single mom, what challenges do/did you run into as an entrepreneur and how do/did you overcome them? As a single mom the hardest challenge is time management.
- Trying to juggle between being the active mom I want to be, work a full time job, grow Ainkas and then still make time for myself are my greatest daily challenges. I just keep going, keep moving, and adjust based on the day. There is no perfect solution, you just have to do what you have to do.
Your signature piece is the Powerful and Complete necklace, what was the inspiration behind this piece? Did you design it?
- Yes, I designed that piece on a sticky note at work. The necklace was my first custom piece and it is simple and dainty with a powerful message. I think as woman that is how we are. We are beautiful, dainty creatures with so much power in us. The necklace embodies the meaning behind my brand. Ignite Your Dreams, Follow Your Passion, and Inspire Others.
In a world full of accessory company’s and jewelry lines, you have been successful in creating a brand that stands out in the industry. What are some tips that you can share for aspiring entrepreneurs and creatives when entering an already saturated market?
- BE TRUE TO YOU!! I cannot stress this enough. As my business has developed, at times I found myself trying to follow trends or add products that people told me I should have even when I didn’t like them. Whenever I did that, it never felt right and it reflected in the sales. My greatest sales and success comes when I stay true to me. When I create collections for Ainkas, I will only put out jewelry that I love. I don’t care about anyone’s opinion and I don’t care if another online store has it. There is only one Lamara and no one else is me so I just have to stay true to that.
You are a woman who wears many hats. As you are also a wardrobe stylist and personal shopper, what tools do you use to manage all of your responsibilities?
- Prayer! Talking to Jesus is my biggest tool because there are many days when I don’t know how everything is going to get done. There are days when I want to quit and say this is not for me. But in those moments, he always lifts me up, opens a door and makes a way. The key is to never quit even when it looks like that is the only way. Never quit!
What do you find to be most rewarding about your current lifestyle as an entrepreneur?
- The most rewarding thing is the process. To reflect on where you were and then to see where I am and then to know where I am going.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- In the next 5 years, I see myself using the platform of Ainkas to inspire women to push for their dreams. I see Ainkas Jewels being a household name that is carried in stores across the country. Most importantly, I see myself with freedom. The freedom to do what I love daily with the people I love.
What is your definition of winning?
- Winning is getting it all on your terms. I want to win on my terms.
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