Today we’d like to introduce you to Coya Cager.
Coya, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Growing up I always loved fashion one of my favorite shows was actually Project Runway. I’ve always loved the process of creating clothing and well as how it makes me feel. Although when I was younger, I never thought that I could actually pursue a career in fashion because people always had discouraging words saying “how are you going to make money?” or “are you sure that’s the career path you want to take because it’s so hard?” So, fashion wasn’t my real focus at first, but my mother being very supportive and encouraging about always following your dreams, she’s the one who really pushed me to commit to it. It’s funny because my college journey is a little different from everyone else but at the end of the day, it was for the best. Fresh out of high school I had the goal of attending my dream school FIT but I did not work out like that. I actually got turned down at first, of course, I was sad but I was determined to go. I actually attended two colleges before I was accepted into FIT. I had a goal and I was determined to do it and get to the Big Apple. When I got there, I fell in love with the idea of being around other creative people who weren’t afraid to express themselves authentically. I am grateful for the opportunity that I’ve had there but you would be surprised to know that my degree was actually in fashion business instead of fashion design. If I could do it all over again, I’ve definitely would’ve just followed my gut and went with my true passion which was design, but again I was thinking about the end goal and what was gonna be the “money maker”. Fresh out of college I had a job lined up thankfully for a well-known retail store but again about a year into the job I knew it still wasn’t for me. During the 2020 pandemic shutdown that’s where my love for design was reawakened. We all know that 2020 has changed our lives dramatically for better or for worst. But at the end of the day, I am grateful for it because it helped me become reacquainted with design. I literally would sit around watching YouTube videos on how to make pants and how to make patterns. I even bought myself a new sewing machine. I again was determined and excited to create something. Of course, it was very discouraging at first because my designs was not coming out how I expected them to, but I literally kept going and kept trying even when I wanted to give up. Although I’ve only been sewing for a year now, I’ve grown so much and learned so much about creating clothing. It’s also a plus seeing people in my designs and seeing how great they look in them. I have so many more goals and ideas to achieve so this only the beginning of my journey and excited to see where I’ll end up.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It definitely has not been easy I’ve definitely got so many nos on my journey so far. Especially when it came to jobs and internships. I’ve also got complaints before about my designs in the very beginning being as though I was a new designer so everything was not perfect. I’ve gotten discouraged of course because I’ve been trying to find my place in the industry for so long especially being a woman of color.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I do have full-time job apart from my business that I have with my sister The West Brand. But I would definitely say I’m known right now for my clothing business it’s been running and operating for a year now and we’ve definitely grown and progressed. Our clothing brand is something I’m really proud of because I literally hand-make the pants that we sell so seeing people wear our designs always puts a huge smile on my face.
Any big plans?
My plans for the future is definitely becoming a full-time businesswoman. I would love to have multiple businesses that’s fully running some will include brick and mortar locations of course. I just want to take everything I love and have a passion for and flip it into a business. I also really want to give back to kids especially in the inner city of Baltimore where I’m from when it comes to the arts and fashion. I just want to be able to teach them and provide them with the some of the resources I felt like I was lagging in as a child and nurture their gifts.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://thewestbrand.myshopify.com/
- Instagram: Coyathecreator
Jabrea Kohn onawhimphotography