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Daily Inspiration: Meet Atarah Styles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Atarah Styles.

Hi Atarah, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
One word to describe my journey: PIVOT.

Plus-size fashion has always been a part of my life. I was raised by strong plus size women who despite the lack of options in our clothing in the 90s/00s always made sure I looked my absolute best! I also recently realized I enjoyed going to plays and watching biopics/period shows and movies for the COSTUMES more than anything! And before I officially became a plus size wardrobe stylist, I noticed other plus women would turn to me for fashion advice.

But let’s go back…

I got my start in the beauty/fashion industry over 12 years ago at my alma mater, Coppin State University. After receiving numerous compliments from my peers on campus about my makeup, the thought of doing makeup on others began to cross my mind.

January 2009, I launched my business! I have since had the honor of teaching/mentoring other aspiring and seasoned artists who sit where I once sat, as well as serving hundreds of women, men, and Brides. It has been truly rewarding.

But, here is where the PIVOT comes:

It was March 2020 and the pandemic had us shut down. I think it hit EVERY single beautypreneur hard. It was a rude awakening for everyone with a service-based business that required human contact.

THEN, a few short weeks later, in April 2020, my mom unexpectedly passed away. It knocked the wind out of me. My biggest advocate and cheerleader is GONE. I questioned everything. And, it was then I knew I didn’t want to waste ANYMORE time. I wanted to go for everything that was mine.

While everyone else was becoming more relaxed in their clothing options during quarantine, I slowly discovered what helped my grief process was being able to get dressed up! STYLE is what has helped to HEAL ME. And, now I use STYLE to heal others.

Later that summer, my plus sisters Caroline Adegun and Carmen Rosas invited me to be a guest on their content series with a well-known plus-size brand and asked me to STYLE all of us for the segments I was featured on. I was like “Wait a minute, ME?!”

From there, I took a leap, and in December 2020, I officially launched “Atarah Styles,” my current venture as a plus-size wardrobe stylist and image concierge. And, in March 2021, a year after the pandemic hit, I went ALL in and decided to slowly put down my brushes and QUICKLY pick up my hangers! It has been a beautiful yet blessed transition.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Overall, the transition was surprisingly EASIER than I thought! My greatest obstacle has honestly been ME and my overthinking. Balancing single motherhood and my livelihood has also been quite an adventure!
Prior to the pivot, one of my greatest struggles was leaving my comfort zone, what felt familiar (makeup), and shifting my focus to wardrobe styling. In my mind, I built a tribe that mostly saw me as a makeup artist and mentor. I didn’t realize that that same tribe would stick by me during this shift.

Imagine, giving your all to something for 12+ years and taking a leap of faith, and starting all over from scratch. I was stepping into a new lane and I STILL have so much to learn. As a makeup artist, I was the expert. As a stylist, I am back to being a novice. It’s almost like aging backwards.

I also had the dilemma of leaving behind my loyal makeup clients, and whether or not I wanted to quit makeup altogether.

And, not having my mother as my confidant anymore has been extremely difficult.

Now, I am forced to navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship without her. I used to call her about everything, and some days I still mistakenly dial her number. I just wish she could see everything that has unfolded, good and bad. But, she prepared me for this.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am known as “The Plus Size STYLEmother!”

I am a plus-size wardrobe stylist, style coach, and image concierge and the CEO of Atarah Styles! Atarah Styles is an EXCLUSIVELY PLUS SIZE Image Concierge Agency offering an array of image-based services including wardrobe styling and rentals, creative direction, closet curation, and organization, hair/makeup, and photography.

My agency will also soon be offering beauty education, etiquette, and modeling classes! And, coming later this summer 2021 is the first launch of my own Collection, a head-inclusive fedora fashion line, “CROUND.” I got tired of not being able to find fashionable hats that fit my head, and I realized this is a challenge for many plus people. My line will solve this problem!

My specialties as a plus-size wardrobe stylist are branding, celebrity, and editorial. If you have a full figure, I help you FIGURE it out! As a plus woman, I understand the pain points we experience when it comes to dressing our bodies and our market is so underserved and misrepresented. I am here to make it feel SERVED and SEEN like it never has before!

What sets me apart is I’m also an advocate for size INCLUSIVITY in the plus fashion industry. I don’t just want to work with the “Instagram size 12 curvy model.” I have expertise in working with women of ALL plus sizes (10-32+)! I am intentional about my body of work representing the FULL spectrum of plus-size bodies!

My work has been featured on Ashley Stewart, as well as other plus fashion platforms. One of my proudest moments so far was partnering with Ashley Stewart to host an in-store styling event! I have also been published in several plus-size magazines!

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
It truly has taken a village to raise Atarah Styles. Firstly, my late mother Latonya Carter, who sacrificed so much for me as a teen mom, my late grandparents John & Gloria Carter, and my godmother Karlitha Umoja, who helped to raise and mold me into the woman I am today. They all poured so much into me, and my grandparents taught me a lot about running a business as they had one for 40 years in the Sandtown community.

I am also nothing without my beautiful and loving 5-years-old daughter, Feyisara, affectionately known as “Munchie.” She is my motivation and reason to push for greatness daily. I want her to have the best life possible! She is one of my biggest cheerleaders. She loves making clothes for her dolls and helping Mommy pick out outfits. Her random hugs and words of encouragement are always right on time! She just knows when I need that.

And, being a mompreneur requires a whole ‘nother VILLAGE. I’m so grateful for my friends and family who have regularly stepped in to help me with my daughter so I can pursue my dreams. I could never do it alone!

I’ve had many amazing mentors and coaches over the years. My beauty mentors, Tamika Pinckney and Tiyana Robinson are most responsible for this amazing pivot in my life and business. They both encouraged me and gave me the nudge to step out on faith, get out of my head, and pursue styling full force. I also have to thank my Stylist Coach Nikki Venus for helping me level up my stylist business and mindset! All of their coaching, direction, wealth of knowledge, and resources have been a game-changer in my career!!

I am also truly thankful for my friend, Caroline Adegun who saw something in me and dropped the seed in my ear to consider wardrobe styling.

And, I have the greatest tribe of sisters and brothers in and outside of this industry that you could ever ask for. My tribe locally, nationally, and virtually– holds me down and continues to stick by me! We celebrate, support, and inspire each other. Collectively, they are my “STYLES-ily.”

I am also grateful for my assistant Jay, who has helped tremendously to skyrocket my business with her innovative ideas and content creation.

Lastly, I am NOTHING without all of my amazing clients, photographers, my agency partners, plus brands, and models I have had the honor of working with so far. For this to be one of my very first years as a stylist, I have been BLESSED to be a part of some amazing projects and experiences!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
SHair Photography, Jaila Marie, Jocelyn Renae Creative, Tiffany Goodwin, Client Latonya Turnage, & Visuals of Jaila Marie.

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