Today, for our Black History Month Series, we’re offering insight on handbag designer, Sonique Saturday. In addition to being a handbag designer, Sonique is also a blogger and celebrity stylist whose clientele includes Erykah Badu, Meagan Good, Tracy Ellis Ross, and more.
Saturday’s innate ability to create opened the doors to her dotting career as a designer. She tells us, “I got started doing my handbags in college. I was taking a trip and wanted a universal bag to wear with every outfit, mood, and season. I just wanted that one universal bag that I could put all my junk in and just go, and I couldn’t find it. Long story short, I made it. It was just for a trip and when I got to this particular destination, so many people, everyone, just gave me an insane response that I totally was not expecting. So, I knew that people were responding in a positive way to something that I kind of created over night.”
Unsure where this newfound creativity would lead, positive affirmations from others in response to her designs revealed the endless possibilities. “When I got back to school, I wore the bag around the campus yard. Within my circle, so many were like, ‘I want that bag. Make me one.’ It kind of just turned into something like most businesses do. It turned into a hobby, my hobby turned into my side job, and my side job turned into my career. So it’s really a dream come true. I know it sounds very fairy tale, but that’s basically what happened.”
Contrary to what others may think, Saturday did not have any representation with any agencies to begin her career as a stylist. She says, “I was living in LA and someone found me on social media and said, ‘Hey, I love the way that you dress yourself. Do you think you can dress me for this particular project?’ So I said, sure. It was basically something that had nothing to do with how I dressed, which caught me really off guard. It was this really low budget webisode about an African American guy moving to France documenting his journey as he adapts to the culture. I needed to do wardrobe for an American guy and a French guy, so the fact that I could play with two cultures was fun!”
Solidifying herself as a freelance artist was a pivotal moment in her career. Here’s what she had to say about her first paying gig, “I told them how much I wanted to get paid, they agreed, and I said, ‘Wow, this is remarkable’ Whenever you do freelance where you’re your own boss, there’s nothing more empowering than saying what your price is for a service you’re doing and the client is accepting. I think that’s an empowering moment in a young creators life because it let’s them know, ‘Hey, I can make it on my own two feet.’ It’s so amazing how the universe aligns you with your purpose. Once that happened, other stylists would reach out to me and say, ‘Hey, do you want to come out and help for this shoot?’”
As if styling wasn’t enough to keep this Georgia Peach busy, she continued to develop designs for her brand. Her fake “Birkin” design caught the attention of model, Amber Rose. She says, “Amber Rose was the 1st celebrity to wear my bag. I am forever indebted to her. She’s the reason why Sonique Saturday kicked off as a west coast brand.” This exposure of her brand created wavelengths within her business. Most recently, her fans have accused the Gucci brand of stealing her graffiti styled design without crediting her, something Sonique finds flattering, not offensive.
Having created a brand from the ground up, she encourages aspiring designers to first depend on themselves. She notes, “You don’t need anyone to make it. People are going to help you along the way. It’s just human nature to help each other out. So, help is going to come, but you need to work as if help is not in existence; as if help is not on option. I think a lot of young designers don’t want to start form the bottom. It’s the best way to start from the bottom because once you do make it to the top, and you will, you’re going to make it to the top. I don’t care if you’re making shoestrings for a living. If you keep making shoestrings, people are going to constantly be outsourcing your supplies, period! So it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, as long as you keep doing it, you’re going to be successful. “
In addition, “if you’re an aspiring designer, you need to put your seat buckle on and tie your shoestrings because it’s a long road, it’s not something that happens overnight. And if you’re looking for something that does happen overnight, then you’ve already answered your question, which is that you’re not really a designer, you don’t really want to do this.”
We totally hear you on this! Persistence is the key to success.