Millennial Minds with Shani Aisha

…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 multi-dimensional and chooses to define herself by her acts of service in the community, personal growth, and development in addition to the lives that are impacted by her influence. She is a woman, she is Shani Aisha. This millennial IT Girl has the skill, savvy, and style to be a key influencer in the creative industry. Shani’s infectious personality, joyous spirit, and originality show why she is the go-to for all things innovative at her company, Three Sugars Creative.

Shani, how does your influence impact the world as a creative?

We fill our homes with the art of our favorite painters and illustrators. We like to make bold statements with fun graphic apparel designed by people like myself. Creativity is powerful in that it can help brighten someone’s day through orators who deliver beautiful messages we need in that moment. It’s our favorite books, music, and film we turn to for healing when we immerse ourselves and need to escape life for a little while. Creatives soothe souls and inspire change, we shift perspectives, engage the whole world in ways–big and small…and to me, that’s life-giving.

You are an emerging voice amongst millennial entrepreneurs. What gap do you set to fill through creating a company that specifically targets companies and individuals that incorporate design and innovation?

In my work and products I create, I seek to always center black people-—especially Black women–the things we say, do, and love. It brings me joy creating and making statements we relate to and that represent every aspect of us from the bougie to the ghetto and every shade of brown. I truly love us and hope to provide products and things that look and sound like us because while the world is changing, I need them to do better. (seriously) I want to normalize black faces being seen on things like my kids’ t-shirts and coffee mugs. Representing us in all facets is what I am passionate about in my work.

Why is it important to hold space for creative-preneurs in a world that over-stresses STEM-based opportunities?

Because art truly makes a difference. I personally feel you can’t have STEM without creativity. My 6-year-old son’s “STEM” (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)  team at his school is now called the “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) team because of that very reason–while STEM is still more prevalent, the importance of making room for the arts is undeniable. It’s important to me to hold space for creativity because it provides a foundation. All of these things work together for cultivating learning, our gifts, and talents, especially as kids. Science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics are connected to literally everything in life.

What has been your most important strategy in maximizing opportunities?  What has been your biggest moment of success since creating Three Sugars Creative?

I’d say my most important strategy in maximizing opportunities has been just continuing to create. Always be creating. I continue to work and create projects for myself even when it’s not for a client. I am always seeking to learn more and be better and to just be a good, genuine person to everyone I get to work with.  Being confident, but still humble in this whole journey has been pivotal. My biggest moment of success. Lol, this is hard because I feel like I haven’t yet been successful. Lol, but I will answer this. My biggest moment to me probably was getting to re-brand the iconic and historic Avalon Regal Theater. I was commissioned to do an entire visual re-brand–the logos, colors, and other visual elements were created by me.

Shani Aisha Chicago Defender

Shifting gears, let’s talk about self-care. Is this a consistent or nonexistent concept in your life (currently) especially as a mom of three? How does Shani show up for herself daily?

Absolutely consistent. My mom was truly my hero and the best person I have ever known and my mom worked herself to death. Not to be dark. I didn’t realize it as a kid, but she had no time to take care of herself and was always showing up for everyone else and to me, this led to her succumbing to the deterioration of her body and disease. Not only because of that, but her life made self-care so much more personal and important to me. I make sure to wake up a few hours before my kids to read, exercise ( I work out right in my bedroom since I can’t take my kids to the gym), have a hot shower, and enjoy my hot tea and ginger shot. I don’t skip this because as soon as they wake up, my day no longer belongs to me. I feel like I no longer belong to me ‘cause three kids is truly a circus. Lol, I’m grateful for my kids, but I have to remind myself that I’m Shani first and a mom immediately after. This makes for peaceful and happy days for us all. Eating well–preparing my own meals throughout the week and not consuming meat and dairy products is important and is also a huge part of caring for myself.

What advice can you share with new entrepreneurs looking to establish boundaries between the personal and professional space?

If you have to, make a schedule, and even if you can’t always do everything right, try to stick to it as best you can. Someone told me, you will never achieve a perfect balance, so I just say, do the best you can by being organized, prioritizing what you need to and the rest will work out.

Lastly, finish this sentence. As a millennial mind, it is important for readers to know…

All things work together for the good. I truly believe that. Even when things don’t look like it, keep going, believing, and speaking life.  The words we speak to ourselves, about others will determine the course. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.


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