We had the good fortune of connecting with Tatyana Arrington and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tatyana, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
The idea of STIX Unlimited is not one that I can take credit for. STIX Unlimited comes from the mind of my brother Ahjanee “Lemon” Arrington. He began designing back in high school and in 2010 started the very early beginnings of STIX. I remember like it was yesterday when he started designing clothes. I had never seen such originality and depth to art before. One of his earliest designs was the “ALL EYES CROP TOP” he made for women and when he gifted me one I wore it as many times as possible. I still even have to this day. The name for Ahjanee’s business stemmed from the nickname my Grandpa Wheeler gave him personally, “Sticks” due to his slender frame and height (6’2). I can only assume he found a unique way to spell “Sticks” and added the “Unlimited” part because that’s who Ahjanee was. He lived without fear and did everything to the beat of his own drum from such a young age. To lose him when he was only 24 was difficult because I always feel he had so much more to share with the world. My mother, Vanessa and I knew that after his passing this couldn’t be the end of the STIX but a new beginning.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Since our re-launch in April, my mom Vanessa and I have definitely faced adversity but each time we prevail because we truly believe Ahjanee is guiding our hand and helping us to create his vision. Ahjanee passed late December 2019 and at the top of the New Year my mom and I knew we wanted to start working on STIX but honestly did not have much experience in the Fashion Industry and were in the peak of our grieving process. We had to do a ton of research to insure we were knowledgeable on fabrics, colors, designs, etc. We definitely hit a few wrong turns with samples not turning out how we thought they would and losses in that aspect. Our mission was always to stay true to Ahjanee’s vision so no matter how many obstacles we faced we knew that everything had to be done just right. Oddly enough sometimes it felt like he left us a blueprint for how he wanted things to be done. We found a few of his old journals and colors, sketches and everything were there for us to help push his dream forward.
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 love to dedicate this shoutout to everyone that made the re-launch of STIX possible. Our manufacturers, we are proud to say, are part of the BIPOC community and work effortlessly to ensure Ahjanee’s vision is captured. Shoutout to our STIX photographers and videographer Gregory Terrell, Shea Stephens, and Daryus Hawkins that produced the photos and videos for our website and social media pages. All of our models are Ahjanee’s best friends and his second family. Without them we would not have been able to achieve the authenticity of the brand and we thank them so much for being a part of the journey with us. Shoutout to my parents, Ken and Vanessa, my mother works alongside me and is the one that ensures Ahjanee’s vision is never strayed. My dad is our biggest supporter I say and actually pays for his items haha. Lastly, I would like to shoutout and truly thank everyone for supporting and shopping with STIX. None of this would exist without the support and love people had for my brother. I am often amazed and so happy about how many repeat customers we have and how people go so hard for the brand. From the bottom of my heart I truly thank everyone for supporting Ahjanee’s brand STIX Unlimited. Ironically enough our best selling item is the “EVERYONE TEE” ($35) featuring an original logo that stands for unity and uniqueness. In a time of horrific acts against Black people, all lives cannot matter until Black lives do. This is a fight for EVERYONE.
Personal Photo: Gabe (Rich Visuals) Business Photos: Shea Stephens & Gregory Terrell