When creating any business, there are two important factors that make it successful: The financial sustainability of the business and its ability to attract, educate and inform a group of people. Aminata Sow has actualized these factors through her jewelry line, Expressions of Aset. Her jewelry line, which she launched last December, features pieces inspired by African culture as well as inspirational bracelets engraved with encouraging messages that remind us to enjoy life’s treasures and embrace our journey. In addition to her jewelry line and a full-time job, Aminata also makes time to volunteer in her community. It is through both her involvement in the community, Expressions of Aset, and her entrepreneurial spirit that she has been a living example of what we, as young adults, should all strive to be: Educators, Motivators, and Believers.
Did you always know you wanted to start a jewelry line?
Not really. My curiosity for beads and jewelry making was sparked due to a childhood friend making me a bracelet and earring set for Christmas. Afterwards, I begged my mother to take me to Michael’s and a local African Bead store called Dabl’s in Detroit and the rest is history. I sold my items along with my sister who is an artist at local shows in Detroit in the “Youth section”. Unfortunately I stopped making jewelry during my tenure at Howard University, but decided to pick the craft of jewelry making up again last November.
What types of pieces do you have?
I create Afrocentric earrings, bracelets, necklaces, waist beads and bookmarks. I also make custom items.
Explain the inspiration behind your brand name and jewelry pieces?
I’ve been raised to embrace Afrocentric art as a child and it carried over into my adulthood. I wanted to create items that expressed self with a bold statement. Aset is actually the Egyptian name and the correct name of Isis who was an Egyptian Goddess. Her strength inspired me to use her name as a part of my company.
Who were some of the most influential motivators in your life that educated you or peaked your interest and fascination in the African Diaspora?
My mother was the foundation of interest of all things dealing with the African Diaspora. She taught me at a young age to embrace our cultures regarding Africans, Black Americans and those of Caribbean descent. Also, my father is from Senegal, West Africa so I was brought up on multiple customs, values, and religions. I believe it is important to make individuals conscious of the circumstances of the “Diaspora” community through education. Once we set the foundation of self-love and embrace every individual of the African Diaspora, we will then be able to love our fellow neighbor and our community by supporting each other.
What is your advice to other people who may want to get a side business going but may not know where to start?
Just do it!!! Everyone has a creative side and there will always be at least one person in the world that is willing to support your product or service. Omit feelings of doubt and worry and believe in your craft! In the words of Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do; People buy WHY you do it.” If you believe in your product/service, others will too!
What approaches do you think we should take to developing a more entrepreneurial spirit in the generations after us?
My dream is to build businesses within the Black community and teach others about the importance of supporting and maintaining wealth within the community. We have to first start having the conversations of supporting self and actually putting action to it! We must teach the younger generations that it is ok to embrace your creative and innovative self and produce products and services. Ultimately, my dream is to become a philanthropist and become a vessel for change within the community. I live by the motto, “reaching back to pull forward”.
I am currently brainstorming to create my own page, apart from my Etsy page and working on new items. There is always room for improvement.
How do you want to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as a person who was not afraid to make a change and someone who gives time (resources, knowledge, money, etc.) willingly and selflessly.
What is one lesson you’ve learned from Happy Hour/Life in General?
Lesson #42: Every Happy Hour is a networking opportunity!!!
To get more information about ‘Expressions of Aset’ and to purchase Aminata’s pieces, go to her Etsy website or email her:
Expressions of Aset