We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexandria Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexandria, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Some people say it’s easy to walk away, but I think it’s hard to walk away. It’s hard not knowing what is on the other side because comfort keeps us in the same position doing the same things. It is risk that shakes up comfort and helps us to become a better person.
But it starts with making one decision. Each and every day we make decisions some lead to amazing blessings some lead to some really hard lessons. Yet, they are all apart of the journey and making us who we are.
What is life without the risk right? Everyday we leave our homes we take a risk, some big or small depending on who you ask. I like to believe taking a risk is simply taking a chance on yourself despite what others feel or think.
I can recall on several occasions where I did this. From joining the military at 17 years old to walking away from a relationship that I felt no longer served me. Of course, the most prevalent is the fact that I quit my job (in the midst of a pandemic) working for a nonprofit organization for six years to walk in my journey as a full-time entrepreneur. It was crazy sure; I had consistent income, benefits and literally a small retirement plan all of the things to stay afloat. However, my soul did not feel at peace. I couldn’t sleep, the thoughts of quitting lingered honestly for years but in 2020 they became more frequent and more prevalent. The whisper became a roar.
Taking a risk was betting on myself. I mean surely if things don’t work out I could always go back to corporate, but I would never know if this thing could work if I didn’t take the leap and commit to my business Aliasa (pronounced Alley-Ahsa).
One thing I remind myself, there are only two options from making a decision, it’s either a lesson or blessing, never a loss. Yet, even in the lesson there’s a blessing. We learn our strengths and triggers and we use that knowledge to continue to craft ourselves.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The journey in my business has been quite interesting. Since I was a child, I had a love for many interests from makeup, skincare, journalism and photography. Now that I am older, I have been able to fulfill these interests in different ways and for that it makes me proud.
Money is great and a powerful asset, but being able to impact individual lives truly drives my business and fuels my passion.
My career started in 2009, when I joined the military at 17 and I knew the only way I would join was if I got a job as a public affairs specialist. This is where I also picked up my photography skills. The year 2013 proved to be my expansion year, and stepping into a new journey. I launched my photography business Dakota Images on a whim after my best friend encouraged me to photograph my first wedding. That same year, I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Asa and received my bachelor’s degree in public relations. Since then, I’ve worked with several nonprofit organizations, sat on nonprofit boards and continued my work. In the process of working full-time, I decided that my heart was yearning for something more. With the persuasion of my family and friends, I enrolled in esthetics school. This allowed me to start my new business Aliasa.
Was this easy? Not at all.
The journey sounds amazing, but in those moments were fear, self-doubt, imposter syndrome, juggling motherhood and being a wife at that time. There were individuals who told me I would not make it in the military because I was “too girly.” There were people who said I would need to take a break from college because I was pregnant. I ignored the naysayers and trusted my gut. I prayed to God to guide my path, to place the right individuals around me who would nurture my growth and most importantly, I prayed to be ready when opportunity presents itself. The most important lesson I believe I have learned so far is that God didn’t give everyone else your vision. Trust yourself and control what you can control. Even when the process is ugly and I wanted to give up, I also know that those times never last. The sun has to shine after the darkness.
What sets me a part is that I love learning and I absorb every bit of knowledge. I’ve nurtured my skills in such a way that I can practice skincare, consult with clients to develop their brand, write a press release, take photos, create graphics and still managed to keep my sanity. My passions fuel me.
What I want the world to know is that as long as I have breath in my body, I will execute the purpose for my life. I refuse to die with goals and dreams buried inside of me. The change I want to see, starts with me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, when it comes to hanging out I am more of the “spur of the moment” type of person. As a Michigan girl and an arts and history lover, I would have to take her to my old stomping grounds the Castle Museum in Saginaw to take a walk through history. Ride the e-scooters on Hamilton Street and have a drink at one of the bars.
I’d take her to Detroit because it is blossoming in creativity and entrepreneurship. We would also visit the Charles H. Wright Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts and Motown Museum – I mean what is life without music right.
I’d take her to some of my favorite vegan/vegetarian restaurants such as Seva, Detroit Vegan Soul and a Taste of Ethiopia. And of course we would go on a shopping spree at Twelve Oaks Mall and visit The Lip Bar because we love makeup!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would not be here for every individual in my life. I stand on the shoulders of amazingly strong Black women, my mother and sister who are the literal foundation of who I am. My daughter Asa, who has given me strength to walk in confidence – that little girl reigns supreme in self confidence. My brother and little sister, and all of my family. And I could never forget my best friends more like sisters who have been there for me in my darkest hour and continue to pour love into me. It is because of the village I’ve cultivated that I stand in my greatness.
My top three encouraging podcasts that I listen to while in the gym: Oprah “Super Soul”, Les Brown and Angela Barnard “The Intentional Mind Podcast.” The encouragement from these podcasts really help to fuel my day.
Instagram: @myaliasa | @dakota.images
Sara Herrera Photography Billy Ware | Respect the Shooters