Sasha Lalite (Owner/Designer Sasha L Jewels | Healthcare Leader | Philanthropist)
We are pleased to introduce you to one of our latest members here on the Haitian Businesses Directory. Sasha Lalite, Owner of Sasha L. Jewels and a healthcare leader.
What motivated you to start your business/brand?
Creative expression has always been a part of me. I ventured into jewelry design as a way to be creative and to nurture and heal. I create artistic visions through SLJ jewelry statement pieces and jewelry repair & restoration. Through my various ventures in the industry, this journey has been humbling, fun, and surprising.
My inspiration comes from a myriad of life’s offerings- global travels, spirituality, earth colors, cultures, community, and creative collaboration. Jewelry has evolved to be an art and extension of self-expression. Through travel, I’ve experienced different cultures and infused my collections with a variation of jewels & influential native arts. As a business owner, I learned how to run and operate a company from the ground up, express myself through creativity, bring my vision to life, and positively influence others.
I think it’s important in life to be a visionary, to be creative and explore possible inner talents and passions through self-expression. One should not just dream, but execute, and in doing so positively inspire others.
What are the pros and cons of being entrepreneur you’ve experienced so far?
I have freedom to create and gear my business the way I wish. I am not bounded by corporate or organizational constraints and politics. I have the liberty to bring my ideas to life and take ownership. I am able to network and collaborate with other talents the way I desire and make ideas come to life and to have others see my work globally. You never know where your next inspiration will come from, what new passions you will pursue, or what new ideas generate when visionaries are put in one room.
As an entrepreneur you work long hours, but you know that the time, dedication and work is worth it because you are investing in your growth in all aspects. Having your own business is an investment in yourself.
There is no manual to becoming an entrepreneur. You are a risk-taker and go-getter by nature. As such, you experience “wins” and “losses”. As an entrepreneur, you learn how to work with the right partners, because there will be people who try to take advantage of you. You learn to ask the right questions and partner with legitimate people who are aligned with your mission and purpose. It is also challenging to find the right investors and others who are genuinely work with you for the right reasons. At the end of the day, you are your brand and you must represent yourself legitimately.
As a woman in business, what are the challenges you faced as a business owner and how did you overcome them?
1. Being taken seriously– I am a down-to-earth woman, but first and foremost I am a professional. Sometimes when a woman proceeds with her business legitimately and professionally, she is labeled negatively. I don’t agree. As a business owner, I handle business responsibly. I learned to be direct when working with others and negotiating agreements, and learning when its best to pursue or walk away.
- Creating my tribe- I have many family and friends who support and have helped me promote my brand. But one thing you learn is not everyone is going to support you and that can be disappointing. I learned to stay authentically true to my brand and me and surround myself with positive, uplifting people. It’s important to plant yourself in the right soil. That is your nourishment. Radiate positive energy, and you will also attract that energy to you. I faced challenges but stayed open-mind and think outside the box. It resulted in meeting amazing people who also became supporters, mentors, and collaborators.
- Finding balance- Entrepreneurship requires late night hours and non-traditional 9-5 working hours. I made a conscious decision to work to be healthier (exercise, eat well, get adequate sleep, maintain a social life, and balance other work and community obligations).
- Being discouraged– There is no straight roadmap and you will be discouraged. I learned who to do business with, how to listen to my instincts, and which business decisions to make. Society is dynamic so my response with my business must be as well. I have to be adaptable, open to change and ideas, and continuously learning. Sometimes what seems like a “loss” or bump in the road, is actually a “win” and redirecting me in the right direction. I must stick to positive thinking.
- Being a risk taker- I like to think of myself as a risk-taker, but I can be conservative at times with the decisions I make. Having my own business has forced me to step outside my comfort zone, try new ideas and take risks. There is no guarantee an idea or pursuit will work. Many times it involves taking a chance and leap of faith and being patient to see the results. There is a season and time for everything.
What would you say to another woman who’s thinking about embracing entrepreneurship and is hesitant about it?
- Define your motivation and “why” you wish to pursue your business. Make sure your drive comes from the “core” of you and that you are passionate about what you wish to pursue. Then work towards building a strong foundation for your business.
- Address your fears. Many times the only thing holding us back is fear. Don’t let your doubts or others deter you from your pursuits. We make all these reasons why we can’t possibly accomplish something. Set your intention and manifest it, pray, make your business happen. If you are truly thinking about embracing entrepreneurship, write your thoughts down into manageable goals. Take it one step at a time or you will get overwhelmed. It involves a lot of work behind the scenes, don’t expect all glam.
- Celebrate your wins, even if they seem small. Give yourself a chance. Those are accomplishments. One day you will look back and think, ”I remember when the idea of starting my own business was just a seed, and look how it has grown.”
What’s new and what should we look forward to from your brand?
The SLJ Brand is looking to expand its client base to partner and collaborate with other businesses, stores, cultural institutions and associations. This will allow us to do more customized orders for a wider clientele. SLJ is open to businesses and associations contacting us (contact us at SLJ@sashaljewels.com).
SLJ offers unique, limited-run pieces in a multitude of collections. Current collections include the Ultra Retro Chic, Natural Adornments, Wire, and Glass and Pearls. More recently, Sasha L Jewels introduced the Heritage Pride Collection. The Heritage Pride Collection honors heritage and worldwide cultures through fashion statements. Clients can express fashion to represent their country and celebrate their heritage and accessorize with vibrant colors and festive styles that are inspired by carnivals and celebrations. This collection currently consists of the Americas, which have undoubtedly been influenced by African, Latin, Tribal, and Caribbean cultures. We are excited to expand the collection to represent more worldwide cultures.
What specific group of people does your business impact and why did you choose to cater to market your products and services to this group?
Sasha L Jewels LLC (SLJ Designs), as well as its clients, are versatile. SLJ clients are daring, take chances and challenge the “norm”. They represent diversity in fashion. They wear SLJ jewelry in the workplace, on everyday excursions, or fashionable evenings and venues. SLJ jewelry encompasses variations of color that translate across all seasons, on women of all ages. Our styles represent a spectrum of women and fashion lifestyles from urban & island, to high fashion elegant evening wear. SLJ chic, fresh, eclectic jewelry designs are made for the independent, fashionable, expressive individual.
SLJ caters to this clientele because we encourage clients to “Wear What You Feel.” SLJ creative designs are carefully handcrafted- providing the client with a sense of individuality, empowerment & embellishment. Through artistic creative expression, I strive to achieve uniqueness and connectivity through simple, yet bold, jewelry designs. Every piece is made with love and care to ensure the highest quality. My work comes to life when I see or hear how my clients wear and enjoy their SLJ jewelry. My vision meets my clients’ vision. My goal is to inspire clients to step outside their comfort zone. Be bold, daring, and confident! We should all feel free to make a unique statement in this world through artistic expression.
Share one or more highlights of your career as an entrepreneur.
Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to step outside my comfort zone to do things I never imagined. I have been able to grow in all aspects of my life and exude my growth through my brand. I have collaborated with fashion designers, interior designers, graphic designers, artists, songwriters, community leaders, and other entrepreneurs. Highlights of entrepreneurship include being featured on the cover of the June 2017 issue of DOPE magazine and in Jay Z’s promotional Tidal video. I have been featured on fashion runway shows that support special causes and supported causes related to Haiti Relief Efforts. Due to the diversity of my jewelry, I’ve been able to work in various fashion scenes on a multitude of projects.
Another highlight is the Sasha L Jewels Internship Program. Through my business, I am able to mentor students and provide a more professional experience for them related to the arts, business and public relations so that they are also able to gain more experience. I also have learned so much from them. Many of my interns have moved on to make great contributions. I am proud of them. Mentorship is important to me. I created many internship programs in the several Companies. Students are encouraged to apply to SLJ Internship and can contact us if interested.
In your opinion, why is it important for the Haitian community to support Haitian owned businesses?
I believe that all organizations, from the individual artist to the global corporation, are responsible for giving back to the community in which they live. If we all do a little, it can add up to something significant. Aside from being a jewelry designer, I have always been active in the community (I have been a leader in the health care industry as well for almost 20 years). Sasha L Jewels provides another way for me to give back and support local and international communities, including the Haitian community both locally and abroad. I am proud of my ancestry. I think it’s important for the Haitian community to support Haitian owned businesses through a reciprocated relationship for growth and education. We should uplift, contribute and celebrate the successes of each other and ensure that we creating and promoting a successful, growing, and a healthy community amongst our own.