Nana Agyemang is a multimedia journalist and CEO and founder of EveryStylishGirl. ESG works to provide consulting and networking platforms for Black and Brown women to connect and build their brands. Formerly Nana worked as a journalist and social editor for New York Magazine, BBC News, The New York Times and CBS. Her focus on telling stories about the lives of Black women led her to attend Columbia University for her Masters in Multimedia Journalism.
As part of her continued passion to display diversity in media and fashion, she created EveryStylishGirl Biz, a sister brand to ESG and a platform for WOC looking to change the world of business. In addition to running both companies, Nana loves to report on social activism and women entrepreneurs. She wants to ensure that the news we read reflects the diverse world we live in. Learn more about Nana and her journey to establishing her "Black Woman Boss Energy" company EveryStylishGirl in this month's Beyond the Frames feature:
Tell us about your childhood. Was there ever any fashion and media influences in your life?
Growing up in rural Ohio was rough. I was often the sole Black girl in the classroom. I always felt frustrated with the lack of diversity in every space I was in. I ended up turning to major fashion and beauty publications to find people who looked like me. I bought copies of pre-teen magazines like J-14 and Teen Vogue to keep me updated on the latest fashion. Their influence alone motivated me to one day create spaces and platforms for women who looked like me growing up in rural underrepresented communities.
What was the pivotal moment that made you think, “I have to act on this idea. I’m definitely on to something here.”
I think my aha moment was in 2017 when I interviewed Yara Shahidi for EveryStylishGirl. At that point we were just an Instagram blog with maybe 5K followers. Yara giving us the chance to share her story was telling. If such an established Black actress was willing to work with us then who else could we interview? Who else would sit down and share their story with us? We felt like we were one of the few media blogs writing for a Black Gen Z and millennial audience. We wanted to carve that space out and keep it growing. I became enamored with the idea of being a voice for the voiceless young creative Black community.
Tell us more about EveryStylishGirl. What has been the biggest highlight of it for you?
There wasn’t really a platform for Black women creative professionals to thrive and learn. We created a safe space for these women to turn to through EveryStylishGirl. EveryStylishGirl also hosts media conferences called Sip N’ Slay— a conference that gathers creatives who want to learn more about excelling in media and/or business. However, during the pandemic Sip N’ Slay felt particularly special as its theme touched on something we needed to talk more about in the Black community: mental health. That Sip N’ Slay conference focused on “breakdowns and breakthroughs.” This was a topic that had really hit the Black community for a while, particularly in 2020. Historically, Black people experienced trauma and violence more than their white counterparts, and very few Africans and Black Americans turn to therapy. We end up stuck with our sadness, hopelessness, and trauma. Even more so during the pandemic. But that year we made it a priority to create learning spaces for anyone dealing with their trauma. It was so meaningful and therapeutic. One of my favorite summits yet.
What about the most difficult part?
Similar to many small Black-owned businesses, 2020 was a challenging year. There was a lot of pivoting. We had to pivot from our in-person events to having all our experiences online. It was intimidating. We were worried about how we would create an impact through the screen. We asked ourselves, how would we hug and connect with our community online? But little did we know it was a blessing in disguise. We not only tripled in our attendees but we had women tuning in from Mozambique, London and Toronto! All that to say, you never know how a turn in events could create a greater impact for your community and business. Now I’m no longer afraid to embrace change. I look forward to it and welcome it actually.
What impact do you think EveryStylishGirl has had on its community?
From the very beginning, the ESG mission was simple: highlight the women of color in media who are often ignored by mainstream fashion mediums. We are doing exactly that and on a global scale now. We have events in Ghana where we host learning summits.
Every Stylish Girl continues to grow with a branch called Every Stylish girl Biz. What advice would you give to fellow entrepreneurs who are looking to expand their business?
Be resilient. There’s going to be a million no’s but the few yes’s will be worth the work. I promise you.
Has it become everything you’ve ever imagined it to be? If not, what does that look like?
Yes! I’m just thankful I’m doing exactly what my life mission is. To uplift the women who look like me.
Where do you see your business in the next 10 years?
I want to keep inspiring and teaching WOC globally. I see our company curating more event experiences around the world and creating supportive materials for women to launch their own businesses and expand their digital brands. We would like to work with more corporations to help them recruit and employ diverse and talented hires. We have a global recruitment directory that companies could sign up for now if they’re seeking talent. We also offer job postings!
How can people connect with you to learn more about your work?
Thank you Nana for sharing some insight into the journey and your passion for EveryStylishGirl. Your work is impactful and making great strides to empower WOC to dominate the spaces they enter. We hope some of you will be able to attend the next Sip N Slay in Accra, Ghana this December 2022!
*Bôhten does not own the rights to any photos used. Photos were directly sourced from Nana Agyemeng and EveryStylishGirl platforms*