“If I show up, I’m going to show up as my best self.” These words were spoken to students in the School of Business and Industry at Florida A&M University by James C. Rhee, CEO and executive chairman of Ashley Stewart, the clothing company turned movement.
The visit to FAMU earlier this month marked Rhee’s ninth stop on a college tour as the company markets its core values of perseverance, confidence, resilience, kindness and empowerment.
Since its establishment in 1991, Ashley Stewart has had a strong connection with the African American community. But after being on the brink of bankruptcy in 2013, the clothing company had some serious rebranding to do.
After the transfer of power to Rhee, the company aimed to not only be more inclusive but to be more than just another clothing company.
Ashley Stewart wanted to be a voice to a community and empower women of all hues, shapes and sizes.
By creating a strong social media and multimedia presence through @byashleystewart and AshleyTV it has been able to grow seemingly overnight.
Following in the spirit of girl power, the Oct. 4 forum also included guest speaker Sonia Jackson Myles, a FAMU Alumna and founder and CEO of The Sister Accord LLC and The Sister Accord Foundation, which aims to educate and enlighten the female community on the power of sisterhood while eradicating bullying and violence against girls and women.
Both parties pushed notions of education, self confidence and community outreach above all else. And encouraged all students to take setbacks as moves for encouragement rather than failure. These messages left a lasting impression on the audience.
Junior Dyandra Antoine said: “This really made me more confident to go into the business that I want to work in: the fashion business.”
Her SBI classmate E’lexis Thomas shared a similar sentiment. “iI motivates me more to do what I have to do to get my own business open,” Thomas said.
Rhee also encouraged students to apply for their fall 2019 #ASGives scholarship, which grants 10 individual students the amount of $5,000 toward their education.
In addition to the award, the recipients will be flown out to their annual Finding Ashley Stewart ceremony to accept their award on stage.
For more information regarding the #ASGives scholarship and the Find Ashley Stewart, visit www.ashleystewart.com/