Today we’d like to introduce you to Christie Grant Clermont.
Christie Grant, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve always been doing art, but I feel that I got into the business of art after my mother passed in 2010. I was able to channel how I was feeling through my art and then later on it developed into more of just a therapy but more of an expression for me. In 2015, I got married to my awesome husband and moved to Haiti to be with him. I rebrand myself from Soulcraft Productions to Chez Christie. And with Chez Christie, I became even more colorful. I was inspired by the new island I was living on. Because of the influence of Haiti and my background into just being an extra person, I started Bloom Ayiti with a friend and we were able to create these headpieces. Bloom has then morphed into a dope creative agency that creates for events and photoshoots.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Oh no, I would not say that this has been a smooth road! In fact, if anything comes too easy I question the validity of it, you know. But there is a difference between something being extremely easy and something just aligning and falling into place and I believe in that as well. There are times where that happens but my advice is to not be a stranger of the work. Also, believe in yourself. Plain and simple. Set goals for yourself. Stand strong in who you are as a person, as a creative and as a businesswoman. Often at times, people who are craftsman or who offer service in the creative realm or just in business, sometimes we get into this psychological kind of battle with ourselves. We start comparing our worth to the amount of money we make or the greatness of our craft to whether people receive it or not. I want you to know as an artist or a businesswoman that you should not go through those hurdles. It is easier said than done, but you should not compare yourself. If you do, it becomes a neverending race. There will always be someone doing better, but you are who you are. I applaud the blessings of others, but I tend to not get too caught up because hateration and his lil cousin, “but what about me” are a serious thing 1 and thing 2! Lol, people act like they won’t creep up on ya, but it will! Stay true to who you are. Stay true to your pricing and your worth. Your mind, your energy and your time are valuable. Your principles are valuable. And lastly, never shy away from critiques and learning.
What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
With Chez Christie, I specialize in visual art. My focus is on Black Madonna and abstract art. I also paint black women in different settings but mostly I focus on the Black Madonna and religious type of motifs. When I was in my college art history classes and I saw all these beautiful large paintings that reflect religion and reflect the views of you know just normalcy in life. I did not see people of color and I especially did not see women of color. What I wanted to do is show women of color in an ethereal almost reverent way, so that you can identify with it. With Bloom, I get to be totally extra because that’s who I am. I specialize in planning events, photo shoots and creating head pieces. It started off just as simple headpieces and as time goes on they are getting more and more extravagant. We are branching out into Garden parties, weddings, baby showers engagement shoots, and baby photoshoot! We’re doing it all and I’m excited about what’s to come!
The thing that I’m most proud of as a brand is seeing women of color use my brand as a platform to be beautiful. I think that with Chez Christie I’m painting what’s in my mind. I’m painting women how would like to see them and how they would like them to feel. And when my customers buy my art it’s like they identify with that. But when I am doing Bloom I get to put my hands on people, I know that’s kind of weird, but in a figurative way, I get to really interact and reach out and make people feel beautiful. I get to make your vision come to life. In terms of photoshoots, these photos last for ages to come and I’m honored to be a part of that. I am honored to work with a lot of women and their families. It’s a very spectacular thing.
What sets us apart from different businesses I think for Chez Christie is my need to show black women in a reverenced manner and I also throw in some social issues as well. My style is folk artsy style and I just want to be different in the fact that I’m going to focus on mostly and mainly religious motifs and just recreate the narrative. I want to slowly show black and brown women in this wonderful light.
With Bloom, we want to help you get your vision out there. I know that’s very basic but that’s it. I think the color that both companies have is just POW in your face and we want to be in your face! We want you to be scrolling and to stop on us. We want to inspire and foster creation. That’s what we want. We want when you see something else, that’s similar to our brand, we want you to think of us first! Ha! And it’s happening!
There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that a lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
Oh my! Always be willing to glean from others. Work under someone and just watch them. I like to watch people. When you’re around the person you admire, you’ll see what sets them apart.
I’m looking for mentors and people who can speak into my life all the time. But I’m a question asked. I will get the answers! I never assume I know it all. Because I DONT!
- Chez Christie Paintings: $120.00-$3000.00
- Bloom Ayiti Headpieces: $45.00+
- Bloom Ayiti Styling and Events: seek quote via email
- Website: Chezchristie.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @chez_christie
- Facebook: Facebook.com/chezchristie
- Other: @bloom_ayiti
Yanique Downer, Yayabeatsface, Clearly Focused Mediaworks, Artanza Denson, Simone Renee Photography, Chez Christie, Finished Focused, Kenya Simmons, Bloom Ayiti