stewdio photography

MY INTERVIEW WITH CEO AND LUXURY SHOE DESIGNER ON THE RISE, SHATIARRA MONROE OF SHATIARRA MONROE COLLECTION

WRITTEN BY SHARRA GREENE, FEATURING SHATIARRA MONROE

Designer and CEO Shatiarra Monroe modeling her   Feb 14. shoe  . Brand images by  Stewdio Photography .

Designer and CEO Shatiarra Monroe modeling her Feb 14. shoe. Brand images by Stewdio Photography.

If you follow fashion and you’re from my city, you’ve probably seen poppin’ women all over your timeline completing their fits with a pair of signature feathery lace up heels by Shatiarra Monroe Collection. Launching on Valentines Day this year, the online shoe company captured the attention of many with a sultry shoe campaign and has since been growing a tribe of women all over Baltimore who love pairing the brand’s 4 inch showstoppers with their flyest fits. I got to witness the growth as a long time Instagram follower of Shatiarra’s.

I initially took notice of Shatiarra’s account due to her sexy yet classy personal style (plus, she’s gorg) but I began really keeping up when she announced that she was working on something BIG. She definitely wasn’t wrong… and if you know me, you know I’m always on the lookout for new brands to connect with and support, especially ones that are owned by young black women. So It was only right that I reach out to the woman behind the brand. I’m so honored to be the first to interview Shatiarra on behalf of her shoe collection! Check out our interview below as we talk her inspiration, the pros and cons of owning and building her business, and the lessons she's learned on her journey so far.

Sharra: So, I've been following you on IG for quite some time ( I think even since we were both in high school, tbh) and I've always thought you were such a doll! A while back, I noticed your eye for statement pieces, sleek hairstyles, and a soft glam beat. That's what initially attracted me to check out your page because I honestly felt that your style reminded me a little of my own. When did you first take a real interest in fashion and style?

Shatiarra: Aww thanks, it’s amazing to hear that there’s someone who’ve watched me over the years and paid attention to detail and it’s even more fulfilling knowing that the person…well you, are such a beautiful spirit. I value that acknowledgement because I am a person who pays attention to detail. I’ve been into fashion for like ever. My challenge has always been trying to find an item that I thought up.

As I child I’d wear the little cha-cha slides from Walmart and I had them in all colors but I’d try to hook them up with my clothes and it was hard because my slides were lit and my clothes weren’t lit so I then had to make my basic clothes into lit clothes. Fast forward to like high school and I’d make bows to wear with my uniforms and do something crazy with my hair. Every phase of my life displays me trying to work with what I have to get the image I want to portray.

Model  Cori Bullock  wearing the AG shoe, coming soon to  ShatiarraMonroe.com .

Model Cori Bullock wearing the AG shoe, coming soon to ShatiarraMonroe.com.

Sharra: You’re so welcome! So, In today's social media world, there are so many people launching fast fashion clothing boutiques (which we love, but let's face it, there are sooo many, it can be a real challenge to stand out amongst competition). What inspired you to go a different route and take on the task of creating a luxury shoe line in your early twenties?

Shatiarra: I use to feel like I wouldn’t excel at having a successful business because I wouldn’t satisfy everyone. Everything changed the moment I decided that I would just be myself, produce products that I absolutely love, and value myself. That’s it. It sounds cocky but I don’t aim to please anyone. I envision designs and scratch the itch that I get from that. Then, I put in the work to get that idea into something tangible.

This inspires me because I see designers put the bare minimum into their brands, but they are popular or they have a following so, it sells. Imagine if the quality and overall design was as lit as the person behind it all. That’s where I found my lane because I am that. I love everyone who supports my collection because everything I put out and plan to put out is precious to me and to know the world is accepting of it is very comforting for me and it’s the push that keeps me going to continue to grow my collection.

Sharra: You make a good point as far as a lot of people half doing something and having it pop off for them. But I like to think that authenticity always wins so as long as you’re authentic, I feel like there will always be that tribe of supporters that relate to your vision. What do you believe sets your brand apart from other luxury shoe lines out there?

Shatiarra: I believe I am set apart from other luxury shoe brands because I am not trying to fit in. Everyone says this but here’s the kicker, I also do not care to stand out. It’s like a middle ground that I found myself in and not a lot of shoe designers are able to be here. Either a shoe is giving everything and more or it’s pretty basic. Nothing is wrong with that either, but I find myself completely separate from both, yet satisfying, either way a person wants to go, and it’s not something I aim for or that I ever have the intention of doing. It’s just how my personality has seemed to show face in my work.

Shoe styles:    Feb 14    &    Premier   .

Shoe styles: Feb 14 & Premier.

Sharra: That’s a cool middle ground to have. I feel like finding that happy medium between elaborate and super simple designs diversifies the type of people who are attracted to your product… So, the city of Baltimore is often rumored to be/associated with being full of people who have an unsupportive, "crabs in a barrel" mentality. So I HAVE TO ASK, upon launching, did you experience this at all or did you receive the support that you wanted and expected with birthing and selling your own collection?

Shatiarra: So, I did not experience this when I launched and if it did take place it was nothing that I was aware of. I only paid attention and gravitated to the love. Maybe if I chose an industry that was over saturated or popular in our city, I probably would have seen a disconnect from the support that I expected vs. the support that I got, but I don’t know anyone in our city with a shoe collection that they personally designed. If so, I’d love to meet them. I love to see people into the same thing that I’m into.

Sharra: I love your perspective on that. Only focusing and gravitating to the love literally can cut the number of distractions in half. So, you describe your own personal style as "elegant and classy with a hint of edginess". Is there anyone who heavily inspires your personal style? Possibly, a style icon or public figure that you would love to style in a pair of your signature shoes?

Shatiarra: Believe it or not, I find inspiration everywhere. I’m into Pinterest and I save bookmarks on Instagram of so many different looks and ideas. I can’t pin point a particular person because I take bits and pieces from absolutely everywhere. I’m just like anyone else when it comes to their business, I want my shoe collection to be spotted on some of the greatest. The issue with people like myself is that after that occurs, it will still always be an accomplishment I’ll find myself always trying to achieve. Right now, I like to look at like “instagram famous” models and determine who I would want to do promo for my shoes. I have a promo strategy that the models love and I look to reach out to larger IG models with a similar approach.

Sharra: Reaching out to those with a strong presence and personal brand on IG is definitely a good move on your part because even though I’ve been following you for a long time, seeing your product on girls all around the city, all over my explore page is what really opened my eyes to how fast your brand is catching on, which is so dope. So, how has your life changed since launching Shatiarra Monroe Shoe Collection and what are 2 lessons you've learned from being a business owner, one personal and one professional?

Shatiarra modeling her  AG shoe , coming soon to  ShatiarraMonroe.com .

Shatiarra modeling her AG shoe, coming soon to ShatiarraMonroe.com.

Shatiarra: OMG, you’d be amazed at the major lessons I’ve learned since launching because it’s not what a lot of people are vocal about when it comes to the cons. I’ve learned that I like the friends that I acquired through business more than I like my lifelong friends and relatives. It’s a breath of fresh air meeting people who think like me because although I love the people closest to me, we all are not necessarily on the same page when it comes to making moves, otherwise we would all be winning big right now.

A professional lesson that I’ve learned is that profit is not going to come right away. I used to hear this all day but as a business, of course your goal is to make a profit and if I’m selling then I felt like I should see my profit right away. But no… and people don’t talk about why but it just doesn’t happen that way. The money comes 2nd. You have to love what you do first, and this is how I run my collection. Remembering the love that I have for what I’m doing is how I find resolution in that lesson.

Sharra: YES! You a real one for bringing that up because like you said, it’s something that’s almost taboo when it comes to new business owners and creatives entrepreneurs so I’m glad that you were able to learn that lesson early and still keep going. Last but not least, I peeped an accessories tab on the site, is that something we should be looking out for soon or will you be adding accessories to your inventory way later on down the line?

Shatiarra: Accessories are coming very soon. I plan to have 20 items on my site by the end of the summer. I have so many ideas so right now my dilemma is organizing it all. I will venture into clothing and accessories eventually but my primary focus will remain on creating luxury women shoes.

~Thank you so much for chopping it up with me, Shatiarra! I’m so excited to see what your future holds, girly! All love!

Like what you see? Click here Shop Shatiarra Monroe Collection! Follow the shoe page to keep up with future releases and follow Shatiarra on Instagram for more glimpses of her day to day life and her bomb personal style!

Hope you guys enjoyed this interview! More content coming very soon to the Walking Art Blog. Stay tuned!

Sharra,

“The definition of walking art.”

THE POWER OF BEING "LADY-LIKE" (WHATEVER THAT IS)

Written & Styled by Sharra Greene | Captured by Allen Stewart

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     So while I was preparing for this shoot, my makeup artist and I were talking and she asked me what I would be wearing. Upon me mentioning that I was wearing a skirt, I told her how much I love skirts (anyone who truly knows me, knows this) because they make me feel really feminine, lady-like  and chic. She then added "and so empowered, too!" I've never related to something so much in my life. Our conversation drove me to start thinking about the different perceptions that people have of what it truly means to appear and "behave like a lady". 

     I'm usually the one who shows up and hears a comment like "why are you so dressed up?" or "It's not that deep, you didn't have to wear a skirt." I always find these comments funny because as someone who explores self expression through style so often, it comes so naturally to me so I never really think of it as "over dressing". I enjoy getting dressed up for life so much for several reasons, one of them being because when I look good, I feel good. I feel like I can take on whatever comes my way. Though there is soo much more to me than the way that I dress, expressing myself through dress actually does make me feel both feminine and empowered, all at once.

     By definition, "lady like" means "appropriate for" or typical of a well-bred, decorous woman or girl. But to me,  it's interesting how as fashion and society evolves, our standards of what it means to be "lady like" has evolved with it in so many ways. Some may feel that you have to dress modestly, have a certain set of manners, or perform certain tasks to be essentially valued as an authentic woman with a sense of class and integrity.  This idea is often pushed on women in society. However, in today's world, I am so glad that so many of us (myself included) are creating our own standards and embracing whatever truly makes us feel good as women. 

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When someone suggests that one needs to increase value, strength, or power in a stuation, we often hear "Man up!"  Well I'm here to tell you that there's nothing more powerful than a lady who is authentically herself, and who feels free enough to express that in whatever positive, inspiring way that she can think of. I believe that when a woman feels free to be herself, she is then best able to live her best life and add value to the lives of others. Whether it's wearing a skirt,  speaking up for yourself, spreading love and light to others, or all of the above, do whatever makes you feel "lady like". Woman up. 

Credits:

Photographer: Allen Stewart of Stewdio Photography

Makeup Artist: Vanessa Lazo

Styled by and Featuring Me

Feel free to comment your thoughts on this post! Xoxo

Sharra,

"The definition of walking art."

PASSION MAKES PURSUING YOUR GOALS WORTH WHILE: THE LESSON I'M CURRENTLY LEARNING ABOUT CELEBRATING PROGRESS & BEING PATIENT WITH MYSELF AND MY BRAND

WRITTEN BY SHARRA GREENE AND CAPTURED BY ALLEN STEWART

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I'm sure that all creatives and people with a dream can relate to having so many ideas, so many things that we want to do that our thoughts and feelings are sometimes all over the place. We want to know that these things will be executed to the best of our ability and that we will benefit from the accomplishment of these goals in one way or another. We just want to know. I've recently discovered  that these goals have to be completed one step at a time and all we can do is focus in and clap for ourselves after each step until we see it through. 

A lot of times, we tend to wish that we could see the future. We wish we could know exactly what will happen and exactly how to be prepared for it all, ahead of time. Essentially, we are asking for a cheat sheet to life. I, myself still wish for this sometimes. But what I am realizing is that there are actually some things that we're not supposed to know before we start on the pursuit of our dreams. Maybe if we knew everything that it would take, some of us wouldn't even begin.

When I started this journey at 17 years old (I'm 21 now),  taking my love for fashion and style seriously and establishing it as a real career goal, I had no idea the amount of personal development it would take to even get started in this industry. (let alone, the amount of money, resources, quality contacts, etc.) Most importantly, though, I had no idea the amount of patience that would be required of me to grow in this field. Looking back, I'm honestly glad that I didn't know. In this situation, ignorance was in fact bliss for me. True passion and love for what I was pursuing replaced knowing it all. I now know how important it was for me to embrace the unknown and I'm proud of myself for starting  when I did.

Today, I am no different from others in the way that I often see where I want to be in life and the things that I want to accomplish and it makes me anxious and sometimes impatient. I've recently been given some opportunities that can really help me to expand my brand and my audience and to continue to hone my craft so that the people who are supposed to receive it, will. (you will see these opportunities unfold if you follow my blog posts) Imagining the possiblities, of course causes me to want to know what's on the other side for me. But I'm learning to just put my best foot forward with every photoshoot, meeting, magazine submission, new client, blog post, and everything else that I'm working on and to let my passion drive me, being proud of myself every single time for my effort, no matter the outcome, and to be patient and keep pushing forward. 

When all we can see and feel at the moment is the unrelenting passion that we have for what we want to do and who we can be, that passion makes it much easier to stay the course and be patient, even when we don't know all that the future holds. I feel this is one of the greatest life lessons I'm learning right now and I hope it will be for you, as well. 

Shop my look  : I am wearing a  bebe wrap crop top ,  Mistress Rocks cameo skirt ,  major attitude boots . and jewelry from my wardrobe.

Shop my look: I am wearing a bebe wrap crop top, Mistress Rocks cameo skirt, major attitude boots. and jewelry from my wardrobe.

Credits:

Photographer: Allen Stewart of Stewdio Photography

Makeup Artist: Beauty by Idris

Styled by and Featuring Me

Stay tuned for more blog posts, both featuring and styled by me, coming very soon! 

Sharra,

"The definition of walking art."