At just 25, Ariana Pierce is taking social media by storm with her trending fashion, travel and business advice. Starting her first business at the age of 17, Ariana is on fire and her positive messaging about achieving your dreams is truly inspirational.
From an early age, Ariana has been creating, living and mentoring with her own experiences and inspirational lifestyle products, blog and online show. This business leader runs the successful nail polish company, Superstar Nail Lacquer, which she launched eight years ago. She also manages a thriving online accessories company, Style Shoppe, and is creating a serious buzz with her travel accessories. She also just released her book, “How to Build Your Blogging Business in a Week,” that offers simple, easy-to-follow steps to make money, grow businesses and sales, and build personal brands.
Whether audiences want to grow businesses, change up their lifestyles or dream fantastic futures, Ariana motivates thousands of business owners, professionals and lifestyle changers to aspire to, build up and really live through her lively, straightforward and actionable recommendations. A much sought-after lifestyle, fashion and brand expert, Ariana continues to inspire and influence her generation and beyond.
We got this busy young lady to chat with us recently from her Orlando, Florida home, and she offered some gems about starting a business and much more!
Mommynoire: I read that you’re a 3rd generation entrepreneur, so being a self-made business woman is in your blood. Tell us about how you grew up.
Ariana Pierce: You’re right, my grandfather was an entrepreneur, my mom was an entrepreneur, and when I was younger my grandfather was a great example to me. He was actually one of the first African American business owners in the Grand Rapids (Michigan) area to do real estate and work on properties and buildings and I would see him do those things. He would also always tell me to carry a pen and paper, make sure you have business cards, make sure you have a camera, and I’m like seven or eight-years-old and I never understood it as a child. But really he was just instilling principles in me to carry on the entrepreneur mindset that he started. So that was awesome. And then I grew up with my mom having a business; she owned a cosmetics line and she had an ice cream shop, so she was doing a lot of things way before having your own makeup line was even popular, back in the ’90s. I would just watch her and watching my grandfather made me say, “ok I want to put my name on something.”
The great things about it was that, though they were entrepreneurs, they never made it super easy to own my own business, they made me earn it. Not that they had me struggle or just be out there and not know anything, but they said, “Listen, you have to work for this. If you want this reward, you’re going to have to go out and get it yourself.” And so they would give me examples.
And then what happened?
AP: When I was 13 years old, or maybe younger, my mom had me put on a play for this group of friends that she had. She told me, “You go out there and sell these tickets because I want you to see what it’s like to be a salesperson and sell something in business.” And I thought it was cool. You know, the tickets were only like $5, but it was amazing that I learned those principles and different lessons over the years. So that’s how I got to the place where I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
So it’s something you’ve always grown up with, but did you ever feel like you wanted to work for a company? That’s such an amazing gift to give to children, to teach them that they can be anything they want to be…
AP: When you’re growing up you have tons of dreams. I used to want to be a cheerleader, I wanted to be a hairdresser, I would see my aunt or a cousin do something and I wanted to be that. I had aspirations to be everything that you can think of. As I got older I did want to do other things like this career or that career, I wanted to go to college, I wanted to do internships, but I knew in the back of my mind that entrepreneurship was the way to build your own empire. And that’s the thing, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a job at the same time. I remember taking a few years when I was a teenager to work for my parents to get the experience in. So I said, I’m just going to take this year to work fro you guys–I’m going to be the secretary and take the calls, just as if I was working for anybody else. I got trained by the other secretary that was working there. If I did something wrong I got written up about it and I went through the whole process of seeing how it is to work on both sides because I wanted that experience.
When you’re an entrepreneur that doesn’t mean that you’re not necessarily going to work a job. I say that all the time because some people feel like it’s their destiny to help someone else build a whole empire– which could be your business as well. Over time, I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur so that became my choice.
When I was 16/17 years old I started the Billionaire Girls Club and I said this is going to be my first actual business that I put my hands to that it’s my idea that I came up with. It was a brand where we taught girls around the country how to have etiquette so it was almost like a sorority for teenage girls on how to deal with your teachers, how to deal with parents, how to get good grades, how to eat at a formal dinner, how to dress up properly, so that was my first real business and I said , “Ok, I can do this forever. I want to start things, I want to build this empire,” so that’s when it because really serious to me.
Don’t get me wrong I definitely went through a phase that I heard my grandfather and my mom but still I was like, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah I’m going to do my own thing’. But when I was able to help people live their dream by doing my business, that’s when I said, oh yeah, I’m gonna do my thing.
The foundation was already set, you just had to get your bearings…
In college, what did you do?
AP: I studied marketing and business at Michigan State University. I absolutely love my school. And I did some international studies, so I did study abroad; I went to Paris, London, Belgium, Florence and Rome. I was able to study marketing which had a bigger impact on my life than the everyday classes that I was taking on campus in Michigan because I got a world view of business.
I started my line, Superstar Nail Lacquer, going into my freshman year so when I was in school I was trying to balance doing this new business and also maintaining classes. I didn’t know how to study, it was a lot of pressure. I was like, oh my God, I have to make this business successful, I have to pass these classes and get good grades.
It was a lot of pressure but I gained a system on how to do both. I would spend my weekends on my business. I didn’t go to parties because I had a full-time business I was working on and I was traveling and doing speaking engagements and things like that. So as entrepreneur, my college experience was a little bit different, but it was well worth it, for sure.
So when did you fit in starting to blog?
AP: I started blogging closer to my third year of college, just writing about my experiences. At first it was one of those things where it was once every three months, I wasn’t focused on it. I had so much to do, I was like, who cares about a blog? And then blogs started to blow up and I was like, hey, I need to use this platform to grow my business.
So one of the things I was trying to figure out is, what I should blog about. And a lot of people go through that feeling like, what do I blog about every single day? So I said, why don’t I write about my hobbies and what interests me and then mix in my business. So my blog became a platform for me to grow my own brand, instead of talking about everybody else’s brand only–which I do, I collaborate with people and brand I love–but I use my blog to talk about my nail polish, my style shop, my travel accessories, and that’s really how the blog took off.
So when you go to my site, ArianaPierce.com, you’ll see Ariana’s Style Book, where I give tips and advice and talk about things like, “How To Deal With Failure In Business” and shared how I had a down moment because a deal didn’t go through. I got so many comments with people saying they were thankful that I shared this side of business because a lot of bloggers don’t do that.
What advice would you give to young girls wanting to start a business?
AP: First I would say to hone in and focus on what you want to do. Sometimes that’s really hard. When you start off, a million ideas come to you. It’s a mix of passion and what you know will sell, and what is practical for today. Sometimes you can have a passion for something and maybe it’s just not time for it. Sometimes you can have a great idea, but you really have no passion for it, and the first road block that comes up, you want to quit. That’s not the business to start.
Sit down, meditate, and ask yourself, what do I really want? Usually your business idea comes from solving some type of problem. For example, when I was starting Superstar Nail Lacquer, it was an idea that came to me and my mom, we both started it together.
We sat down and thought about clothing but that market is so saturated, and then we said why don’t we come up with a fast-drying nail polish? We’re always sitting in the nail salon waiting for our polish to dry, why don’t we create a formula that is fast-drying, environmentally safe and vegan? And of course this didn’t happen overnight, this is after weeks of planning and reading, and when you open up your mind, that’s when ideas will come.
The second thing is, you should find a coach or a mentor. Whether it’s someone you know or someone who you just read their books or go to their website and get their weekly newsletter, find a successful entrepreneur who you can look to for inspiration. Read, read, read what they have to write.
Like my mom always says. “Successful people leave clues.” They’re leaving clues in their message, they’re leaving clues in their books, they’re leaving clues in interviews.
When you see someone who clicks with you, listen and go after everything that they are doing. That may help you find your purpose in your vision.
Another thing is to make a vision board. If you don’t know what you want to do initially, create a vision board for the results you want. “I want to be a successful business owner.” Picture and see yourself with other successful business owners. Paste your face in the middle, standing next to Oprah or whoever. It’s amazing how what you continuously focus on, you attract in your life. So say: I’m going to be a successful entrepreneur, I’m going to have my own business, and I’m telling you, an idea, some type of opportunity is going to present itself to you, and make everything that you put on your vision board come to pass. Even if you do know what you want to do, create a vision board for your business because it keeps you in line with what you are supposed to be doing.
You also do mentorships and coaching and workshops. How can people learn about those?
AP: Myself and my mom are going on tour, this our third year. It’s called The Ultimate Success Tour
and it’s a one-day workshop and one-day coaching session for those who attend. In February 2016, we’re in Orlando. Then we go to Chicago, LA, Atlanta and New York. Then in the summer time, we’re back in Orlando to do a three-day conference. You can find out about it at TheUltimateSuccessTour.com
What do you see for your five-year plan, when you’re 30?
AP: In five years I definitely want to be continuing my coaching. I love seeing other people start their businesses, that’s part of my purpose. I would love to see it where we can pack out stadiums and help people in their business and lives. I want to grow my nail lacquer brand and travel brands internationally as well. Those are the two things I’d definitely like to accomplish.
With the way you’ve been going it sounds doable!
AP: For sure!
Check out Ariana Pierce at arianapierce.com and follow her on Instagram.