Ugonna Ezuma-Igwe | Managing Editor
Talya Suber is a third-year in Fashion & Textile Management at NC State. Talya runs an online fashion company called TalyaRayel.
NM: When did you start your business and what inspired you to start your business?
TR: I started my business after the 2016 elections. It became a way for me to express myself during a hard time. I wanted to create awareness for the social issues I was passionate about like combating racism and sexism.
NM: Have you found it challenging to be a woman and a business owner? If so, what challenges have you had?
TR: Out of all my business classes I was always surprised to see that I was one of few women in the class and even fewer womxn of color. I think the field of entrepreneurship can be intimidating, but I try not to let that scare me away from what I came to do. Most of my challenges have come from me being a young entrepreneur still trying to take care of classes and relationships while balancing the next steps of my company. I struggled with some people not understanding my designs and the message of racism still existing in today’s society.
NM: What inspires you to keep going?
TR: I keep going because I still have more to give, more to design, more places to travel.
NM: What did it take to start your business?
TR: It took a lot of encouragement from my dad‒who also owns his own company‒for me to even understand that I could start a company while still a student. However, it wasn’t until I got involved with social advocacy that I felt the final push for me to get my designs out there.
NM: Where would you like to take your business?
TR: My goal is to be able to travel all over the world with my company producing designs that promote social justice and ethical fashion. I would also like to use my business as a platform to serve other communities in need.
NM: For someone trying to start a business, what advice would you give them?
TR: Start your business early! You will always have other responsibilities that you may prioritize over starting a business. Don’t second guess yourself or else you may never do it.
NM: What was the most challenging part of starting your business?
TR: The most challenging thing was filling out all the government forms to file for a business license. It’s not too difficult, but it’s time-consuming and weighs a lot on expenses.
NM: What sets you apart from other businesses?
TR: I am not just selling designs, but marketing my personality as my brand. I have adopted a social responsibility for my company that allows me to advocate for all of my identities.
NM: Where do you draw inspiration from?
TR: I draw inspiration from different parts of the world as well as my own Black culture. I love street style and asymmetrical pieces.
NM: What was most surprising to you about starting your own business?
TR: I was surprised by all the regulations and forms that have to be filed for a business. They all have to be paid to stay updated or else you could lose your trademark.
NM: What business achievement are you most proud of?
TR: During my second year of business, I had tons of orders flooding in from social media marketing that I had been doing. I was so proud of how many orders I filled as this was the first time I had sold out of products so quickly. It taught me a lot about dropshipping and inventory.
NM: What’s your favorite part about owning your own business?
TR: I love having the flexibility of designing and running things I want them to be. Fashion is a highly opinionated field. I value having an outlet where I don’t have to change the looks I styled just because someone higher up doesn’t like it.
NM: What do you wish you had known before starting a business?
TR: I’m not sure. I wish I knew what my logo was before I started so that I could market it better.
NM: What can we expect to see from you?
TR: I was eager to do the Fashion Exposé for Pan-Af Week to showcase new, bright designs. However, I am still planning to release a mini-collection full of bright colors and custom artwork painted onto my garments.
TalyaRayel can be found on Instagram and Facebook: @talyarayel. Below are images of her work that are available on her website. TalyaRayel website is https://www.talyarayel.com/.