Nana Agyemang, a CEO, multimedia journalist, the contributing social editor at The Cut and entrepreneur, who founded the startup EveryStylishGirl. Aguyemang wrote in prominent publications as big as New York Magazine, Elle and The New York Times with a lens on the lives of Black women. Agyemang is the representation and resource of the core value of ESG. The platform Agyemang created allows for Black and Brown women to train for a career path in journalism to reflect the diversity in our planet. It’s about women of color to have exposure and accomplish their goals. Agyemang’s efforts to change the shape of journalism and media landed her the honor of PureWow’s “20 Up-and-Coming Leaders Working to Better Our World.”
EveryStylishGirl started as a blog in 2016 and since then it has grown into a company where many women of color have had the opportunity to grow with industry professionals. There are internship opportunities, a blog and conferences to ensure women’s networking success. The initiatives in diversity recruitment, branding, consulting and social media calls for everyone to engage in inclusion. ESG, the new pipeline to find fresh talent has been featured in Vogue, to advocate for Black and Brown women’s interest in media. Nana Agyemang cleverly launched the Sip N’ Slay conference in 2017, hosted in a number cities from LA to DC has led to over 1,500 Black and Brown women to gain media industry experience. Now ESG is on Instagram Live where anyone can gain the juicy details to become a boss.
Every initiative behind ESG stems from Agyemang’s experience as a fashionable Ghanian-American woman. In her junior year of college, she realized there were far too few Black women in the publications and social media platforms. With few Black women in the room, it does not guarantee Black female advancement in the workplace. ESG is supposed to promote non-traditional career paths for women to know anything is possible. That’s when Agyemang realized there needed to be a safe space for women of color to connect, empower and grow professionally.
The Folklore interviewed Nana Agyemang about her company, journalism, and her ambitions.
You started your company, EveryStylishGirl, to help guide women of color to the forefront of the fashion industry. How has the brand changed from its beginnings to where it is now?
ESG first started as an Instagram blog. My intent was to put every stylish black girl at the forefront. I wanted to create a safe space for us online so we could network, empower, and share fashion and career tips. Now our company has grown into an online and an offline networking safe space for Black and Brown women. ESG works to provide consulting and networking platforms for WOC to connect and build their brands. With annual networking conferences, called Sip N’ Slay, we provide an opportunity for women to connect with industry professionals in order to take their careers to the next level and get the visibility they deserve. Since launching the Sip N’ Slay conferences, ESG has empowered over 3,000 women on the necessary steps to gain professional opportunities in the media industry.
When it comes to content, how do you come up with new ideas to keep your brand fresh and on the forefront of the industry?
As a trained journalist, I’ve been studying news trends for years. I know that trends and ideas always repeat themselves. I read old magazines and think about the issues and highlights Black women faced then to help me as I am planning the next Sip N’ Slay event. I think back to those ideas. I also get inspiration from my team. We have bi-weekly team brainstorms, where we just go on for about an hour about content we’ve seen that we would like to implement.
What are the biggest challenges you face being a writer in the fashion industry?
I would say not being able to always get my foot in the door because I was deemed unimportant. When I first started in the industry, I struggled getting backstage at fashion week, even though I had a media badge, because I was a Black fashion journalist. In this industry, actually in this country, it doesn’t matter where you work because people see your skin first before they hear you. In a world that doesn’t stride towards Black women advancement, sometimes my biggest challenge is just me being a Black woman. However, I hope that the fashion industry community is changing these issues and holding itself accountable for the racial injustice it has put so many other Black journalists through.
Along with running your own brand, you have also spent a lot of time as a feature writer for other brands. What keeps you going when you feel overworked or stressed about your commitments?
My motto for when I am feeling overworked is, “Take time for yourself Nana.” This means I put everything down and I just allow myself to just be. I gloat in reading my favorite book, watching Girlfriends and allowing myself to think in peace. I try to do this for about two hours a day. I take that time to think, rest and reset. This not only allows me time to recharge but also time to think about ways I can grow.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to young women of color looking to enter the fashion industry?
The most important piece of advice I would give to young women of color looking to enter the fashion industry is that they should set three plans for their career path. There is plan A: the dream career you want for yourself and the steps that will get you there. Then there is plan B: the job you would be very satisfied with and your second career goal and the steps that will get you there. Lastly, plan C: the job you will be happy and content and the steps that will get you there. I tell others to create these three paths because the industry is very unpredictable. What you thought might be your dream job now might not be later and if you only focus on that one goal you could end up disappointed and miss other great pathways in your life. I love keeping my options open and staying prepared for them.
You were recently named one of Okay Africa’s Top 100 Women Shaping the Future. Where do you see yourself and EveryStylishGirl within the next five years?
I see ESG in the next five years having a global reach. Connecting and building WOC together from all around the world so they can elevate their skills and grow their reach. I hope we can continue to be a networking platform that results in real success and life long empowerment. Hopefully one day that networking platform could be in the form of an app. We shall see…
Finally, the future may be up in the air, but what can The Folklore readers expect from you next?
I am actually interested in going back to school and learning more about business and law. The power of a graduate network is life changing. I want to continue to grow my own business network and see what doors that may help me open.
Producer: Raven Irabor – @ravencherisse
Talent: Nana Agyemang – @itsreallynana
Photographer: Trenity Thomas – @504degrees
Photo Editor: Tenneh Sandimanie – @bytenneh
Words by: Eman Alami