FLM- Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Shaquoya Jackson-Ishman. I am a swimwear designer and content creator from Columbus, GA.
2. FLM- Tell us about your upbringing.
My child hood growing up was good. I am considered a military brat. I lived in a few different states and countries such as Germany, but I mainly grew up in Columbus. Everything wasn’t perfect at all times, but we stick together as family so we were always there to support each other.
3. FLM- Describe your experience in your industry from the beginning.
My first experience in the entertainment industry was around 06/07 doing promotional modeling for Hennesy and Jack Daniels. I had always been into modeling at a young age doing fashion shows and photoshoots, but I really experienced the industry when I started doing promotional modeling.
4. FLM- How long have you been in Atlanta?
I came to Atlanta after I graduated college at Alabama State University because I traveled back and forth a lot doing modeling and other opportunities as well as my boyfriend at the time; now husband; had things going on in Atlanta as well so it made sense to us to make the necessary move. I wanted to get back to Georgia anyway since I’m from Georgia!
5. FLM- Talk to us about your fashion events.
Honestly most of the fashion events I've done have been out of town. I have done a lot of fashion weeks like NY, MIA, LA, AZ, but I feel like the fashion scene and music scene was meshed together a lot of fashion shows at bars and clubs. Now I see more upscale events, shows and pop ups period with brands. Everything is now more amplified. Musically I just know if you were hot you were definitely getting played in the club. I learned a lot of new artist from the club!
6. FLM- How did you get into designing?
I got into designing by being pushed from the runway to behind the scenes really. After not liking how shows were being run that I was participating in, I wanted to do my own thing and just work my own business. I wasn’t sure at the time what I wanted to do, but in the midst of designing a logo for a friend I randomly started drawing swimsuits. I liked them all and was interested in starting a swim line for all since I was at one point one of the largest models in swim scene in Montgomery. I actually googled all the info on starting a swim line boutique and it took off from there.
7. FLM- Who is your swimwear made for?
My core demographics are vibrant, sexy sophisticated individuals normally ranging between the ages of 18-30.
8. FLM- Go through the process of producing your first design.
Producing my first design was not easy. I had to figure out everything from scratch. I started making my patterns from muscle shirts. I’d draw my design on the shirt while looking in a mirror. Then I’d cut it out and make my pattern. My mom’s friend made my whole first collection, which was awesome! After my samples were made I sent them to my manufacturer to replicate them and finalize any changes needed. It may sound easier said than done, but when trying to find a good fabric print, choosing your fabric type and knowing measurements it can be a big headache. It’s all worth it when seeing your creation come to life!
9.FLM- What inspired you to start the company?
I wanted to start because I wanted to have something of my own. I chose swimwear because I was inspired by my own designs and the idea of creating these styles for all shapes and sizes. I honestly never really imagined being a designer. I was always into modeling and interested in acting, but when I prayed for guidance in business it just kind of came out of the blue so I definitely ran with it. It was honestly a new found love.
10. FLM- Have you designed for other brands?
Yes, I have designed for other brands before. It was two different upcoming work out brands.
11. FLM- What's the most challenging part of running your business?
Being a mother and business owner is very challenging. Your time management have to be on point or you will never get anything done. Honestly it has slowed me down a lot. The motherly role has taken over the business role. I think having a team is important overall, but when you have children it is extremely important or the overwhelming feelings from both ends will wear you down fast and it is important that both get equal attention.
12. FLM- What's next for ShaLaJá Swimwear?
Whats planned next for ShaLaJá Swimwear is expansion and collaboration. I want to work on new forms of expression through fashion. I want to collaborate with other brands in building a fashion house. There are many things in store for my brand in the future I just pray that everything aligns.
13. FLM- How can FLM readers get in touch with you?
You can get in contact with me through our website at shalajaswimwear.com and all social media handles @shalajaswimwear. Be sure to sign up to our email
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