Chantal from Boyajian Trend Gallery
We’re back! So glad to welcome everyone with the third installment of the Creative Command series featuring Chantal from Boyajian Trend Gallery!
Last week, Violet Roots took a mini hiatus to tackle some behind the scenes operations. I recently was gifted a new MacBook Pro (Grandma FTW!) and setting up a new computer prompted me to clean things up in the backend of this site.
I also created a Mid-Year Survey so do me a favor and fill that out! I want to provide only the best for you and filling out the survey helps me do just that.
Today we’re discussing creativity through the lens of a stylist, blogger and business owner. After learning from a writer and a coach it’s great to see the similarities and differences when it comes to creativity. Chantal from Boyajian Trend Gallery gives her own take on the creative struggle below!
1. Tell us your name, about your blog, biz, or creative pursuits!
I studied Fashion Design at university in England. I shifted my career down the line to advertising and film production in Doha, Qatar. In my free time, I would continue to do styling for editorial shoots and private clients.
In 2013 I was selected by Harpers Bazaar Arabia for their ‘Best Dressed’ list. In 2014 I moved to Los Angeles to further pursue my goals. I launched Boyajian Trend Gallery in 2015, an online boutique housing jewelry & handbags I curate from independent designers around the world.
I also relaunched my blog a few months ago to continue sharing my passion for all things stylish, be it fashion, wellbeing, and events I attend in LA.
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2. How would you define “Creativity”?
Creativity doesn’t have to be something tangible. It’s anything that you can ‘create’. In order to create something, there has to be an initial thought process. Be it a marketing campaign, a jewelry collection or the design of a living room.
Having worked both in advertising and in fashion, I appreciate the creativity that goes in to any form of work, such as an ad in a magazine or the print on a fabric for a dress. I find and express my creativity through my accessories. As I developed my personal style over the years, I found I preferred to wear more classic pieces of clothing and then have fun with my accessories, adding colors and bold pieces.
Creativity comes in many forms, and I believe everyone finds creative comfort in their own ways.
3. What would you say to someone who thought you had to be an artist in order to be creative?
You don’t have to be an artist to be creative. Many people believe because they can’t draw they’re not creative. You can be creative in many other ways. Creative begins with the word ‘create’. Anything you can build, make, sew, put together, write down, or just simply visualize is a form of creativity.
I believe there is such a misinterpretation when it comes to how people perceive creativity, and as long as we have our own minds and can think for ourselves, we can be creative. Even by picking up a fictional book and picturing the characters in your mind you are being creative.
4. Would you consider yourself a creative person? Has it been something you’ve worked toward or is it natural to you?
I would consider myself creative. I studied at an art school and have always worked in design related roles, both with advertising and film. Personally, I find comfort in drawing, sewing, reading, writing and so forth, when time allows me to unwind.
Even if you’re not creating the next Picasso piece, just picking up a pen or paintbrush can be so therapeutic. I didn’t grow up with the notion that I want to be creative. It just sort of comes naturally, especially with my styling.
At University, we focused on the design and construction of clothes, but I fell into styling as I realized I just have more of an eye for that, and I love to make people feel good in what they wear.
5. What do you do to keep yourself in the creative mindset?
Clean space. I need a clean space when I’m working. I work from home in my little office space I created. I *admittedly* do have the infamous pile many of us have in our rooms, where I just put everything on top of each other, thinking ‘I’ll put those back later’. But I reach a point where I have to stop everything and tidy up.
It’s almost like I mentally de-clutter my mind too. I also always have a scented candle on. I am obsessed with scented candles. I do the same when I get ready to go out too. And lastly, I need background noise.
Music doesn’t always do it for me, as I get distracted. Funnily enough (anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed), I usually have the show ‘Friends’ on in the background, as I don’t focus on it. Music can really make or break my mood some days, so I find this show that I’ve seen a billion times is my safe zone and if I need a moment to breathe I have a little laugh and get back down to work.
6. What creative mantra or quote resonates with you the most?
There are many quotes out there that resonate with me, but one particular is ‘Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice’. (Steve Jobs). Taking the route of starting my own business has come with many of its ups and downs, not going to sugar coat it. But I cannot express enough how much I have learned along the way.
I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, but in anything we do in life, nothing good comes easy. One thing that I did learn though is that everyone is going to have their opinion. I do admit, I have taken some things to heart, but you have to learn to separate the practical from the emotional.
Whilst it’s amazing and a blessing to have people share their thoughts and opinions with you, it is important to do what you believe is right and the best for you and your business. Even if you end up making a mistake, no mistake goes to waste. You learn from it and do better next time.
7. How has creativity impacted your blog or business?
I wanted to (and still, plan to one day) design and create my business with my own designs. However, when I get creative, my emotions can be a little more at the surface and taking this risk of starting my business I wanted to first learn to build a thicker skin.
So I decided to create my business still doing what I love to do, finding interesting pieces from talented designers and sharing them.
This way I get to focus more on the business side and what’s best. I still get to be creative in my pictures I take, in appreciating the beautiful work of the designers I work with, in creating graphics for my website and so forth. Working for myself has forced me to learn to pick up other creative talents (though it’s still a learning curve for me), in learning to be a photographer and graphic designer.
8. What inspires you to create and achieve your goals?
When I get positive feedback from customers for my store, Boyajian Trend Gallery, or when I get feedback on my posts on my personal blog and/or social media. I find so much joy in inspiring others. Also, being in LA, there’s a huge hub of talented people here living out their dreams, and being amongst them is an incredible feeling, especially on days where you start to doubt yourself.
I speak to others and they mentally pump me up and I feel so motivated. While I find great inspiration in others, one lesson I have learned is to not compare your achievements with others. You don’t know their journey and how much they’ve put into their work to get to where they are. Everyone’s journey is different, and so long as you’re working hard for what’s best for YOU, you’re already on the right path.
9. What is your initial reaction when you realize you’re in a creative rut?
Anxiety and a giant, messy cloud in my brain. When I’m in a creative rut, I find it hard to focus on one task at a time and get easily distracted, for instance when an email pops up I think ‘Oh, let me reply to that’, or I remember I didn’t reply to a comment on a post yet.
10. What do you do to get past feeling blocked? Do you have a strategy?
When I feel I’m in a creative rut I force myself to step away from it all. I have to do something completely different to switch off my mind, be it walking the dogs, tidy up, exercise, whatever it may be. Then I’ll come back with a fresh, clear mind, sit down, go through my tasks, prioritize my list of to-do’s and work through it at a more relaxed pace.
When I work in panic mode, I can end up creating more work for myself. I have to be relaxed.
11. Have you relied on an outside source to get you out of your rut? (eg. support group, coach etc.)
I do a lot of networking and love to attend events. Working alone at home can get pretty lonely and personally I need human interaction. So I try to attend relevant events where I can meet like-minded people and share our thoughts and ideas and get to leave inspired and motivated.
12. If you take a self-esteem hit or if you become negative how do you combat that?
When my self-esteem takes a hit, I work very hard to not let myself stay in that zone for long. If I need to feel upset, have a cry, whatever it may be, I allow myself to do so for that moment, to let it out, then I move on. We all go through ups and downs, but if there’s one thing I learned, it’s that staying in a negative mindset does absolutely nothing for you.
At the same time, don’t bottle up emotions. I have literally made myself physically ill by pretending everything is fine and pretending I’m not stressed, and at that moment I realized my health is not worth all that.
So if you want to have a good cry, do so, or call up a close friend and talk it out. Whatever vice you have, do it, then move forward.
One method I love to use is to write about why I feel down about something, I don’t post it or anything, but I just write away. I write out everything that I’m feeling, close it and get back down to my work. 99% of the time if I re-read what I wrote, I have a little giggle to myself that I allowed something that wasn’t actually that much of a huge deal to bother me so much.
13. What do you focus your energy on when you’re feeling stuck?
I have to step away when I’m feeling stuck. I love to clean, tidy, declutter when I’m feeling creatively stuck. For instance, I’ll open my wardrobe up and go through my clothes and put aside items I don’t want anymore.
I love to just create cleaner spaces. I think perhaps this is more a mental stimulation if by physically I de-clutter spaces in my room or my office, I create a clearer space for me to think and process my thoughts.
14. What tools or tips would you offer to other creatives (in general or specifically in your field) who find themselves uninspired?
If you’re feeling any doubt or negativity, write it out, don’t share it, just write it out, let it out and de-clutter your mind. Clean up the space around you when you’re being creative and light a scented candle. If a space smells nice, it just feels that little bit cleaner.
What do you think of Chantal from Boyajian Trend Gallery?