name: malyia mcnaughton
age you feel: 21... i feel young again
TGM: so tell us about the journey your career has taken you on in the last few years
MM: so my journey has been pretty organic. i thought i knew what i wanted to do, i went to school to study merchandising because i thought i wanted to be a celebrity stylist. i was an assistant stylist for nicki minaj before she became the nicki minaj we now know. and after i was like 'this aint for me' or that's what i thought at the time at least. and so i started to do different things with the brand that i was hired with doing public relations, then sales and then merchandising. and thats when i felt like i didn't fit, i couldn't find the right footing for me. and that was disappointing because i thought i had it all figured out before i went to college.
TGM: we can understand that sentiment, what happened next
MM: so then i went and became a buyer, and when i became a buyer i was like this is definitely not for me. it was like i was doing process of elimination. i was at my last job for five years and i just felt very frustrated, and out of that frustration i started my jewelry line. it started as a hobby, an outlet, and when it gained traction it allowed me to leave that job i hated so much.
TGM: that's awesome! and was there a moment in particular that you knew this was what you were meant to do and you should jump ship
MM: yes i did. i had an aha! moment when i set up the etsy shop, and initially that was the platform i used because i was like "i dont know if anyone is going to buy any of this, i'm not going to invest in a website and what not". and when i made my first sale it shocked me... it was like, oh wow someone saw this thing i created? and so i made a few more sales after that and the feeling was always so fulfilling. i knew that at my corporate job it didn't feel good, but making jewelry, creating, felt right. i was doing something that meant something to me. i had made a list of the things i wanted from a job as i was job hunting at the time and i had words like freedom, ownership, design ability... all those things i listed i was achieving through the jewelry line. and that's when i started to put all my energy into it. and that's what i mean by it being organic process for me.
TGM: you mentioned you consider yourself a creative, outside of being a designer what other creative things are you pursuing
MM: i'd say that the jewelry is the catalyst in allowing me to explore all the creative things i had at the time. but my passion has always been styling, and how that's evolving is that now i'm helping the everyday person evolve through clothing. and that's something you can't put a price tag on, to help someone feel like their best self. i've been doing that for a while. the other thing i'm pursuing is hosting. i thought i belonged behind the camera, behind the scenes, and one of my friends suggested that i do something hosting ... and so i did my first interview with an up and coming artist and i was like 'i could do this!' and that brand just kept sending me out on interviews afterwards. i got to interview common and naturi naughton... and that allowed me to see that i have so many hidden abilities. that's why i say i'm a creative, i dont want to put myself in a box, for so long i said i was a stylist and though i am that-- i am also so many other great things.
TGM: where would you like to take what you're doing in the next five years
MM: in the next five years i want my brand to be seen as a multi-dimensional brand. i didn't add jewelry to the name of my brand because i didn't want to just be seen as a jewelry designer. i knew i had all these other things i was sitting on i just didn't know how to manifest them... the goal is to make madebymalyia an entity that includes all the things i do and create. i want a stand alone location but within that i want to collaborate with major retailers. i want to be international. i sell internationally now, but it would be great to have my jewelry physically in stores around the world.
TGM: what's the most random place someone has ordered your jewelry from
MM: oh! japan! which was like "whatttt" and also australia!
TGM: what helps differentiate you from other people who are pursuing similar things as you
MM: i feel like the people who have followed my journey from the beginning i've brought them a long on every part of it... like right before i quit my job i did a whole snapchat story on it... and i did that because i want people to see what it takes to build something from the ground up. a lot of times we celebrate people once they make it but have no idea about their struggles to get there. so to me, i've been able to build on my very authentic story line that my supporters have access to.
TGM: what's one piece of advice you'd give yourself the day after you quit your job
MM: i'd tell myself not to think that i need to have all the answers. i thought the day after i quit my job that a big company would just call me up, you just have these weird assumptions... and also i'd tell myself not to allow other peoples expectations dictate where i should be going.
TGM: what's the funnest part about what you're doing
MM: the freedom! to go from hosting to being a model at a casting call to dropping off jewelry at the post office, that is so fun to me!
TGM: what's the hardest part
MM: keeping the momentum... because in the beginning you don't have expectations, so you're just doing what feels right, but once people start to see or you start to see the things that you wanted to manifest, you start to set up bigger goals, which is great but you can set yourself up to think that if you're not achieving them within a certain time that you you're failing... so that's the hardest part, to allow myself to just let it happen.
TGM: if you weren't pursuing this, what would you be doing... the corporate job still?
MM: that's a good question! not that corporate job though, i probably would have gotten into style blogging and built my presence through that.
TGM: what would you tell someone who's scared to start new and to take that leap of faith
MM: never think it's too late! once i hit that three year mark at my old job i was like "i guess i signed my death certificate here. this is it for me, i didn't do what i should have done and i'm not where i wanted to be so i might as well just stay" and when i finally had that epiphany that it's ok to start over, that's when things started to change for me. so never think it's too late to start over.
TGM: there's a fire in your apt, you can only save three items from your closet - what are they
MM: (laughs) sheesh that's hard! ok three items... i have this skirt that i got from Demestik by Reuben Reuel and i wore that skirt to AfroPunk in 2015 and that's when i got featured in vogue... that skirt means so much to me, you can see it in the photos. i have this hat that i love that makes me feel like a badass and this leather jacket i'm wearing... it has saved my life so many times... (laughs) outfit wise i mean, it goes with anything.
TGM: what are some stores you enjoy shopping at
MM: zara for sure, i seem to always find the things people overlook and then they ask me where i got what i'm wearing... i'm like "the same place you go to!". h&m also has some good hidden gems and marshalls! i find some great things there.
TGM: what's something you'd passed down to your future daughter
MM: probably my boundless necklace
TGM: if you could do a capsule collection with anyone who would it be
TGM: whose closet would you raid
MM: i don't even need to think about that... rihanna!
TGM: which show would you like to sit in the front row of during fashion week
MM: all of them! alice & olivia, alexander wang and rick owens.
TGM: describe your style in one word
TGM: you've been featured in a few online publications, which was your favorite
MM: i'd say vogue because it was unexpected and to be seen on a platform like that was major for me... it changed things
JUST FOR FUN
TGM: what's your favorite sound
MM: the ocean
TGM: what's your favorite smell
TGM: favorite song to be seduced to
MM: maxwell, a woman's worth
TGM: describe your best sex in one word
MM: (laughs) powerful!
TGM: you win a trip around the world, what's your last stop
MM: cape town in africa
TGM: biggest guilty pleasure
MM: butter pecan ice cream
TGM: top five apps
MM: instagram, facebook, etsy sellers app, gmail and google calendar
TGM: favorite person to follow on social
MM: i'd say rih again because she's so unexpected
TGM: name your memoir
MM: it's complicated
TGM: favorite cereal + cartoon combo
MM: tom and jerry and french toast crunch
TGM: you get to have a dinner with four people who are they
MM: sherod lewis (my friend and publicist), oprah, june ambrose and rihanna
TGM: hollywood called and they're making a movie about you, name the genre and actress that gets to play you
MM: it would be a love story and i'd cast meagan good
LETS GET PERSONAL
TGM: when was the last time you had a good cry, and what was it about
MM: a few months ago, it was because i was unsure of what to do next.
TGM: what scares the shit out of you
MM: not achieving everything i want
TGM: what makes you feel vulnerable
TGM: name something about yourself that you love
MM: my sense of humor! i think i'm funny.
TGM: name something about yourself you've made peace with
MM: that i'm not perfect
TGM: being on social media, what's one misconception you feel people have of you
MM: hmmm... that i have it all figured out, but i'm still working through it.
TGM: what's one thing you want the world to know about you
MM: that i have more in store and what you've seen is just the beginning.
TGM: what's one thing you want recognition for
MM: how hard i've worked to get to where i am.
TGM: write your 12 y/o self a post it note
MM: malyia, you are going to achieve everything you put your mind to. don't second-guess what you already know to be true.
TGM: write your 80 y/o self a post it note
MM: did you love enough?
TGM: finish these sentences : nyc is____
TGM: next year i will be____
TGM: my girls are ____