…because black millennial women who balance the personal and professional need the spotlight, too.
In life, our main assignment should be to use our influence to impact. Today’s millennial woman is multidimensional and chooses to define herself by her acts of service in the community, by whom she raises in addition to the lives that are impacted by her influence. Christian Maxwell is an influencer and digital media marketing strategist. She has represented and worked alongside some of the top brands in the beauty and haircare industry. As a millennial, she is leading the pack and securing the bag in monumental ways. Above all, Christian is a wife and mother and she’s here to talk with the Chicago Defender about balancing the personal and professional.
Christian, how does your influence impact the world?
We support diversity on the shelf and online so that consumers actually have a choice when it comes to their hair and skincare. Our goal is to scale beauty and haircare brands so that the shelves offer more and more choices for the consumer who has a unique need that the general market can’t address.
You are a leading voice for millennials. Why was it important for you to create a platform that connects black women to opportunities, events, and brands?
It was important for me to create C IS FOR NETWORK because through my work at Studio Maxwell, my marketing agency, I saw the disparities that black and woman-owned brands face firsthand. High-quality and authentic marketing is not readily accessible to most brands made by people like me. Most of the space is cluttered with content creators who are no longer interested in partnership with brands but solely focused on one-sided deals that offer little to no benefit to scaling beauty brands. We wanted to change that. I want to create a connection between the consumer and the brands who yearn to serve them without it being strictly about monetary gain. C IS FOR NETWORK is for the culture.
For those just introduced to your platform that may consider you an overnight success. Can you break down how your authenticity and strategies led you to the 23.4K followers you have today?
I started off as a natural hair influencer over 10 years ago. That journey led me to build skillsets in design and digital marketing which I now leverage today to market multi-million dollar beauty brands at our agency Studio Maxwell. My passion for the industry is diverse though and I love educating and sharing about new innovations so C IS FOR NETWORK is that outlet. Myself and the co-founders, Justin Maxwell and Ashley Mercer all have a true heart for the beauty and haircare industry so this work is natural for us.
Let’s talk about partnerships and collaborations. Which brand has been the most meaningful for you to work alongside and why?
Our partnership with the Q-Redew brand has been the most meaningful to date because of their collaborative spirit. The brand is woman-founded and the owner is truly one of the most open-minded, collaborative companies we’ve worked with to date. We value clients/partners at Studio Maxwell and C IS FOR NETWORK that are passionate about working IN their brand, advancing their footprint, and serving customers with true innovation while being team-oriented.
Can you describe the moment you felt you could do this work full time and not as a side hustle?
I knew I could do beauty brand marketing and content production full time when I cut my hair 10+ years ago. The moment I started making videos about my natural hair journey, I knew I had found my “thing”.
On a personal level, as a wife and mother how do you manage a level of balance to incorporate self-care?
Hmm, that’s an ongoing pursuit. I’ve been on a grind for over 7 years nonstop now while birthing children and nurturing my marriage. Self-care is just now coming into my purview because I honestly didn’t have the luxury of considering it up until just recently. At this stage in my business, I have to spend time doing self-care because I am requiring a great deal from myself and my clients/partners require a great deal from me as well. I need fuel.
I incorporate self-care into hobbies that have meaning for me. Gardening is my hobby. I can zone all the way out and literally not think about a thing for hours while I’m in my garden with my vegetables.
Motherhood is an interestingly beautiful journey. If you could offer a piece of advice to new mothers looking to cater to both themselves and their seeds what would it be?
It would be to constantly remind yourself that the hustle will always be there. Their baby years are fleeting. I have just recently brought that into perspective because the hustle used to blind me. Showing up for them, being attentive is my main focus because none of the success matters if they’re not thriving.
Lastly, finish this sentence. As a millennial mind, it is important for readers to know…
Partnership and sowing seeds matter. Too many of us want accolades too early in the game. We want to show the wins before they really even matter and we lose sight of the real work. Focus on building a network. That will take you farther than any Instagram posting strategy or coaching framework. People work is everything, there’s no way around that.
To connect with Christian visit her social media platforms.
Contributing Writer, Arika J. Linton is a Dreamer, Planter and Doer. By day, Arika works as a proud educator at an inner-city high school in the west loop. She enjoys helping young people tap into their authenticity and serving as a guide for teens who are at a crossroads between the college or career pathway. By night, when she’s not spending time with her brave and brilliant two-year-old she enjoys writing about a variety of black culture topics.