In a quaint coffee shop located in SoHo, NY., Digital Reporter Ashley Stevenson has an in-depth conversation on family, fashion, and integrity with Stylist Ashlee “EyeConicAsh” Muhammad. Owner of the BeEyeConic Brand, dedicated wife, mother, friend, and stylist for some of our favorite celebrities like Cardi B and Teyana Taylor.
Ashley: Hi! Thank you for meeting with me today.
EyeConicAsh: Thank you so much for having me.
Ashley: I want to talk a little bit about your backstory, you know, I’m from Detroit. I’m a journalist there. I came across your page a few months ago. And I was like, “she’s fantastic.”
EyeConicAsh: Aw Thank you.
Ashley: Of course, you’re welcome. I did a little research and I saw that, I wouldn’t say you’re necessarily “self-made”, because God and your family, but I would definitely say I respect your hustle, and I respect your grind. I want to talk a little bit about how you got started. What keeps you motivated? You’re a mom, you have a beautiful family that is gorgeous. Just go wherever you want to start off.
EyeConicAsh: I think what keeps me motivated, obviously, like you said, is family. I grew up in a very entrepreneurial world, my grandmother who raised me, has been entrepreneur from as far back as I can ever remember, far before I was born. That was something that she held very near and dear to her heart simply because her parents were slaves.
With that being her upbringing and her actualization of what life looks like, she wanted to do whatever she could to be the complete opposite of that. She was never going to have anybody tell her what to do, when they come and go, she was going to live life on our own rules, and under her own terms. And so that was the way that she raised me respectfully.
EyeConicAsh (cont’d): I think that was where I got my start and my push to want to be an entrepreneur and want to live life under my own terms. Obviously, as it stands today, we have a family that needs to get taken care of so I am very much of the mindset that I want to do things to make money, but more so I want our children to know that it is okay for a woman to work, it is okay for a woman to work really hard.
Ashley: Wow, that’s beautiful.
EyeConicAsh: I think that one of two things will happen, they will either become that person or they will look that look for that in a spouse. And both of those are very important too. So, yeah.
EyeConicAsh On Entrepreneurship…
Ashley: What birthed the BeEyeConic brand? When did you get started??
EyeConicAsh: I started the EyeConic brand, roughly around 2015-2016. Before the name “BeEyeConic” was born, when I first became an entrepreneur in 2014 and the twins were born, Mustafa and I had a conversation and he let me know “you don’t have to go back” because I couldn’t stand my job. I made the best of it though.
EyeConicAsh: He was like, “instead of giving all your creativity to them I think you need to kind of just focus that on you… and try to build your own personal brand.” And I was like “Okay, let’s do it.” The first name that I had was “Broke Little Rich Girl” because I was broke. But I wanted to create products that made people feel like they were rich. And that was my first brand.
Then I was doing some talk show things like YouTube talk shows with my friend Tionna Smalls, who deserves a ton of credit. Because she used to be on the show “What Chili Wants” and she’s done a lot of daytime talk show television, she had her own show on MTV “Girl, Get Your Mind Right” titled after her book. She said “y’all are on to something, like you really do need to push your own personal thing.”
EyeConicAsh: Growing up being very insecure and not really feeling like I had a place to really fit in… It was very important for me to let others know that they’re not the only people that feel the way that I have felt. So that’s where the name “BeEyeConic” (obviously started from my birthmark.) That’s where it was birthed from.
Ashley: I LOVE that.
EyeConicAsh On Fashion…
Ashley: I think we all know you for your fashion. Like, damn, have you always been as fresh?
EyeConicAsh: Yes, I can say that confidently. Yes.
My grandmother was always very big on appearances and how you dress, she was one of those people that felt like people will see you when you enter a room before they ask you anything. Right? Let what you wear speak for you first. My dad was the same way, very big on appearances. No matter where he was going, he was always going to make sure that he was dressed to the nines to his own personal style. That was just embedded in me. Throughout my upbringing for sure. Getting dressed and fashion and not to say that I always followed the trend, but I always was very true to myself and what I liked.
Ashley: (laughing) I was nervous about wearing what I have on today.
EyeConicAsh: (laughing) Please no, no, no. No, it’s okay. I’m all for everyone dressing in a way that makes them feel comfortable and expressing themselves the way that they see fit.
Ashley: Today, some of your greatest accomplishments are your family, your children. But what sticks out as some staples in your mind where you’re like, “okay, yeah” I feel like I’m getting there.
EyeConicAsh: Really being able to live, just kind of free, and really wake up everyday and do whatever it is that I want. When I started realizing that that was my life, that’s when it hit me like “wow, you’re doing it, you’re doing exactly what it is that you set out to do.” Another moment was being able to purchase a warehouse for our brands, that was really big. We had all of these things in our living room and the bill for our storage was getting out of control. Being able to afford a warehouse space was a huge deal.
Also, getting to go on tour was a really nice experience.
Ashley: With Cardi?
EyeConic Ash: Yes, Cardi.
EyeConicAsh: We did Europe for three weeks, then the States for a month or two. Those were really nice experiences, just to get to say that I was actually the stylist assistant for her dancers.
EyeConicAsh & Teyana Taylor Photo Credit: EyeConicAsh Instagram
EyeConicAsh On Friendship…
Ashley: I learned a term in photography called the “Triangle of Exposure” and I re-defined the word to mean something about the way we support our friends.
EyeConicAsh: Oh, wow. Okay.
Ashley: When I think about you and your friends, you guys’ remind me of that triangle. How you boost each other up and support each other. We live in this culture now where there’s a healthy brand of self-love, then there’s a very toxic side of it that excuses poor behavior. How important is it to have a solid team and to maintain your integrity as you’re climbing the ladder of success?
EyeConicAsh: Well, I think that that’s everything. Believing in yourself and all of that starts with you. But it is extremely and crucially helpful to have people to actually believe in you also. That lets you know these ideas don’t only need to live inside your head. I can think I’m great all day and tomorrow, but if I’m putting these things out and nobody is like, “Oh, that’s hot” “Oh, that’s dope” then it has to end somewhere. Right? So I think that having a support team is detrimental for sure. I think having integrity is everything. That’s actually one of the things that we are drilling into our children right now is about having integrity.
You know, I never want to be one of those, like, I hate the word “influencer.” I never want to be one of those people on social media who is accepting money to just promote anything. I’m actually building my own personal team right now to get me in more rooms and start larger conversations. One of the things that I’m very, very big on when I’m having meetings with them is that I will absolutely not do anything for a check. I wish that more people operated in that scope and didn’t just do things for money.
EyeConicAsh (Cont’d): I just made a post that asked people to leave some of the greatest advice anyone’s ever given you. Someone said in the comments, “not all money is good money” and my grandmother raised me on that. One thing I would always say is, no slack or no shade to them, but Flat Tummy Tea, they offered me 1000 different codes and I’m like, I’m not accepting this discount code because I wouldn’t ever take it.
Ashley: I was just having a conversation with some of my friends and although I’m not in that position yet, I feel like they’ve all reached this level where they’re ready to get married. As an entrepreneur, wife and mother, how do you maintain your role in these relationships/friendships?
EyeConicAsh: With my friends?
EyeConicAsh: I think it’s very easy, because he’s (her husband) also my friend. Right? Right. So he folds right on into our friends group, just like the rest of my friends. I think that when your spouse is your friend, it makes the transition that much easier. Because while yes, obviously you love them. And you know, your relationship is different. When you have a romantic relationship. I think being friends is really, really important, because it makes the transition that much easier.
The Muhammads Photo Credit: EyeConicash Instagram
I think that when your spouse is your friend, it makes the transition that much easier
EyeConicAsh on Women’s Empowerment…
Ashley: Let’s talk about women empowerment…
EyeConicAsh: For sure.
Ashley: There’s a lot of false women empowerment happening in the world right now. There are women out here walking around, wanting so badly to look confident and forget to have confidence… And if you don’t know how to be confident, then sometimes people will just emulate somebody who they think is confident, right? They try to look, act, and talk like them, and miss out on this whole opportunity to be themselves. Then when things don’t work out for them, they’re mad at people for not liking who they pretended to be.
EyeConicAsh: That’s exactly it.
Ashley: As you’re navigating in these spaces and maintaining your authenticity, I know you said that integrity is really important to you, what message would you hope to convey to other women?
EyeConicAsh: I definitely get the “fake it til you make it” thing. I understand that, that was a part of my growth and my healing, was faking. I love myself and I was so confident and all of those things. What happened was I said those things so much to myself that I actually started to believe it. These people don’t believe these things. And they’re not doing the backdoor work get to that space. I think that part of it is really, really important. Yes, you’re faking it, let’s just say, but do the backdoor work to actually start to believe these things so that it’s no longer fake. When you’re walking into these rooms, when you’re presenting yourself on social media, you are really this person, because what you said is so pertinent. There are so many women who need to be empowered, but they don’t need to be empowered by fake women empowerment people who are really mean girls. They need to be empowered by people that actually want women to win, that actually are entering these spaces and willing to give whatever knowledge it is that they need.
EyeConicAsh (con’t): While I do believe that we all have to have our own journey, nobody wants anything handed to them or should anyway, because some people do actually want things handed to them. That’s not the correct thing. Let them know the pitfalls and the things that you went through in life to see that it’s attainable, and that they can gain it too. So many women want to be like gatekeepers of this information and gatekeepers of happiness and what it took them to get where they are. That’s something that will never resonate with me. I’ll never understand it.
Ashley: Do you have any other words of encouragement you want to share or words of advice for the people who will read this in the future?
EyeConicAsh: The biggest thing that I want to say is that if you ever look at someone’s social media feed, understand that there are years and years and years of work that went on behind those things for them to gain the success that they have. Now, the beautiful thing about social media is that you can track it, but there’s so many things that don’t get posted, that don’t get shown, that don’t get seen, and that’s real work. I think society likes to microwave things, people want to put something in and automatically get something out. I think that if you are building a brand like me, understand that you have to give before you ever receive. Whether it’s giving knowledge, whether it’s giving hope, whether it’s giving gems and words of wisdom, don’t ever be too afraid to give in order to receive.
EyeConicAsh on 3 Fashion Staples Every Woman Should Have…
EyeConicAsh: Three staples every woman should have in their closet are a good black leather jacket, like a good vintage one. Two, a really good pair of jeans. Three, some crisp white shirts.
EyeConicAsh & Digital Reporter Ashley Stevenson
Click here to follow EyeConicAsh