We had the good fortune of connecting with Leilani Sims-Guillory and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leilani, what do you want people to remember about you?
I want my legacy to be authentic. I don’t want my life to ‘look’ like it was all together, I want people to know that there was great times and some ugly times. But through it all I never hid who really I was. Most of all, even through my mistakes, I was still proud of myself. I want to be remembered as someone who literally could do any and everything. I want to be remembered as an overall creative. (Writer, designer, artist) And by those who really knew me, I want to be remembered as love. In the end that’s all that really matters anyway. Hopefully something, somewhere I’ve created will be memorable to whoever needed it at that time.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have a Clothing Line called Thuglifeandbabyhair. I originally started this because I love jogging suits. So in my mind I planned on making jogging suits only I would wear. In the process of learning how, I started with shirts to play with logos. Which turned into me also making hats. Its funny to say now, but I only started making what I wanted to wear because at one point I decided I was going to only wear jogging suits. The thing I’m proud of the most is that I had zero idea about how to make anything. One day I pulled out my iPad and started making my logo. I personally drew each design that I use in my brand.
Trial and error has been a big thing. Perfecting logos and being specific on where I wanted certain things on the clothing was fun. I cared more about the quality. I didn’t want use a vendor, so I was personally making each item in my apartment. I wanted to try several different designs out before sticking to one. Trying to balance became one of the biggest obstacles because I was also working full-time. I also had a tendency to start one piece, then get an idea for a different design, or color, or clothing, and end up starting that. So forcing myself to focus and finish one thing at a time, helped move me along. I wasn’t really worried about which people “liked” the brand, because technically these were made for me. The hats and T-shirts are already online, the jogging suits are coming soon.
I also am working on my book. Hopefully it will be released by February of 2022. It is a combination of poetry and autobiography. I have always been a writer. Mostly songs, which in the process of song writing, I began learning to make beats. I Write everything from country music to rock, and everything in between.
I started my apparel line late 2020, but I have been writing forever. The biggest challenge, in everything I’ve done,(clothing/music/writing) was always me, if I’m being honest. I had to start being consistent in what I wanted to do, not letting people convince me on what I should do or change. I had to stop getting discouraged, when life happened. It is so easy to get distracted by life, and sometimes uninspired. Especially when you’re still starting up. Sometimes people don’t see your vision or like everything you offer, and that’s ok. Having confidence in yourself and having the right supporters and love around you is a must.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I recently moved back to Chicago, so if my friend was visiting I would take them to LA ,lol
Any of the boardwalks and beaches (Venice). Walking around you see people doing what they do best. Singing, dancing, art, you can even get your chakras balanced. We def have to visit Slauson mall for culture.
We would absolutely have to visit Santee alley just for random gifts.
I love visiting the fashion districts. West Hollywood, karaoke bars. We have to hike to the Hollywood sign.
Since I’ve relocated back to Chicago I’m honestly not sure where I would take anyone. I am sure we would go to Harolds chicken. If it is the summer time kayak on Lake Michigan. See navy pier.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Honestly, I couldn’t name just one person. But I will say all my entrepreneur friends have always spoke life into everything I’ve wanted to do. I am blessed to have some of the most supportive friends around me. Most of my closest friends have their own business, or brand and watching them start was inspiring. I have been a writer since I was in middle school, but having people, who actually know you, speak life into you is something so under rated. They were all quick to support by modeling, shouting me out, sharing my merchandise, one of them even referred me for this interview.
Other: Clothing IG- Thuglifeandbabyhair