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Meet Trailblazer Shirley Ipaye

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shirley Ipaye.

Shirley, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
To start off my journey, I took the societal “norm” direction and went to college. I attended a couple of different schools, partied, didn’t apply myself, lost myself, got kicked out, went back, you know, the norm, lol. That cycle legit went on for about four years. In the summer of 2015, I began a different school, and I was close to getting my Bachelors. That was the year I found something that I was good at, I mean extremely fye at, and it was effortless; I figured out I could paint (it’s almost like my friends knew before I actually knew because they kept encouraging me to try it out.) I guess during that time, college was different for me because I had an outlet that I truly cared about to keep me going. Every morning that summer, I would wake and bake lol drink some tea, watch “That 70’s Show” and paint. 2015 was also the year I got into making jewelry, I started off making friendship bracelets and would use healing crystals on some of them to set intentions. I also began to drill crystals with my Dremel rotary tool and make necklaces. I was fluent in the art of jewelry making without even trying my hand at it. I know it’s partially because my Mom’s hobby was to make jewelry and I’m guessing the other part is because I’m Nigerian and we love jewelry so I couldn’t help but embody that.

After I received my bachelors, I knew I didn’t want to work in corporate America because that lifestyle wouldn’t make me happy and I’ve also had over 20 jobs so I wouldn’t even play myself like that, lol. I realized I got my degree for a number of reasons, some of them weren’t actually my own. One of the reasons being so I could actually complete something. I had a tendency to start things and not finish, and I thought why not finish school and get a degree (obviously, after all those loans, and not working in my field, that wasn’t the smartest idea, but hey, lol.) Although I didn’t make use of my degree per se’, I still know how to apply what I learned in Marketing, Advertisement and Business, to my own business so my Marketing degree didn’t go to “waste” after all. Fast forward to 2019, I’ve been painting and making jewelry ever since, even obtained my LLC for my self-care business, Orange Canvas Limited Co. check me out!

Great, 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 hasn’t been a smooth road, but I wouldn’t call it back-breaking either. The struggles that I faced were not necessarily with my business but within myself. They ranged from inconsistency, living in fear, and going against my intuition. I guess in turn all of those can hinder growth and at one point I did realize I was going in circles. Once the realization set in for me that I’m literally the only thing in my way, I knew I had to change that.
For young women just starting their journey, I would advise to always trust yourself, your intuition is within you for a reason, to lead and guide you, listen to it, listen to you. I would also advise against doing something because it’s the “norm.” If you don’t want to go to college, don’t, it’ll save you a lot of money and time that you can put into your passion. It’s so easy to fall into trends or what family members are telling you to do, but do what works for you because it’s your life, not theirs, and you have to do what makes you happy.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Orange Canvas – what should we know?
Orange Canvas is a self-care brand, anything/everything that feeds your Sacral Chakra. The Sacral Chakra is the region that focuses on creativity and self-care/self-love. Orange – the color of the Sacral Chakra and always remember the world is your Canvas. This brand provides different products that contribute to caring for one’s self.

Creating Crystal Jewelry brings me tranquility, and it also looks good, and I know if you look good, then you feel good. Also, crystals actually heal different aspects of your body/mind, which is another way to practice self-care. I also express myself through Contemporary Art, and for me seeing something beautiful, like a piece of art, puts me in a good space. I have so much more to come that will awaken your Sacral Chakra just as the jewelry and art, so stay tuned!

I am most proud of actually launching my brand, this is because I always have awesome ideas but tend to let the pressures of doubt or fear get in the way, but I let that go and just did it. It took a while for me to launch, but I’m happy I’m now able to share my talents. Instead of keeping them hidden, I’m like no, everyone needs to experience this, everyone should benefit from this!

What sets me apart from others is how I create my Crystal Jewelry. I actually sit there and drill through the crystals, this is not an easy process, nor is it fleeting, but it is definitely liberating. When it’s just me and my Dremel rotary tool, I feel at ease, and it’s so fulfilling when the hole I’m drilling finally reaches the other side and then adding the embellishment just sets it off.

Which women have inspired you in your life?
The women in my family have played major roles in my life. Of course, my Mom would come first, she’s the definition of a hard working woman and she taught me so much, instilled so much, paved the way for me to do so much. My two older sisters taught me to be yourself unapologetically. My Aunt also inspired me to be great because as a child, I would love being at her house because it was and she was so eclectic. She was also an artist and multifaceted so I’m sure that’s where I got some of my talents from. Also, shoutout to my Grandma, the matriarch, the epitome of greatness and “doing you.”

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Image Credit:
Shirley Ipaye

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