To gear up for our Summit21 Conference this year in Atlanta, 21Ninety has scored exclusive interviews with some of this year's participants. 

Enter Stephanie Jefferson, creative director of Pretty & Bossed, who created her company to uplift fellow Black, female entrepreneurs through apparel and accessories. Why? Because not everyone is comfortable working a typical 9-5 job and would rather be the CEO of their destiny, sis.

Read 21Ninety's exclusive interview below:

21Ninety: Can you give us a little of your background? What inspired you to create Pretty & Bossed? What was the vision behind it?

Stephanie Jefferson: I wanted to create Pretty & Bossed as a way to empower black women. The disparity between black women and other women became apparent to me when I went to college on the east coast at a PWI. So many things were expected for me to know as a young woman studying science that I was not prepared for throughout high school. This caused me to have a lot of insecurities throughout college, and even when I started to work in an entirely different male-dominated field, IT. 

It wasn't until I started my daily affirmations and making sure I always had a bomb outfit on that a confidence boost manifested. So I figured, why not combine the two? There have to be other women out there with similar experiences who could use the extra confidence boost. It is hard being a black woman in this world. We have to look out for each other. Isn't that what we came to Summit 21 to celebrate?

Photo: Pretty & Bossed

21N: How long have you been creating apparel and accessories? Was this always your chosen career path?

SJ: I have been creating apparel and accessories for about two years. Unfortunately, this has not always been my career path. I went to school for Neuroscience with a minor in Education Studies with hopes of becoming a doctor. Pretty and Bossed is more of a passion for me than a career path.

21N: What kind of work goes into the process of creating these products? What types of materials do you use?

SJ: Blood, sweat and tears is a cliche but are true to solidifying Pretty and Bossed. I listen to my team ( African American women worldwide) and use their trials, tribulations and successes to inspire the products that I present. I use the world as my canvas for my work because I want people to feel as if they can relate to Pretty and Bossed. 

The process we use to create the products is direct to garment printing so that they continue to stay intact, just like the bosses buying them. We are now working on using all products from manufacturers who treat their workers well. We can't say we want to empower women when the manufacturers underpay and overwork their workers. It has been difficult, but I think we have finally come up with a good solution for this.

Photo: Pretty & Bossed

21N: Which products were the most fun to create? Any favorites for clients?

SJ: The products that were the most fun and creative were the t-shirts. I don't know about you, but I love a good graphic tee. The slogans are most definitely what makes everything pop. A favorite for clients would have to be the Ramen to Riches t-shirt. They also really love the Pretty, Petty and Paycheck Ready tee as it has most women cracking up when they see it. I had fun with creating that one.

21N: What do you think makes your business unique over others like it?

SJ: Pretty and Bossed is unique because it is statement apparel and accessories. Meaning that the clothing allows a woman to show her goals out loud. For example, We have a shirt that says Future Millionaire, and when a woman wears that she is letting the world know her success is going to take her upward. We believe in speaking goals into existence and making the necessary steps to make them happen.  

Photo: Pretty & Bossed

21N: What do you love most about the work you do?

SJ: I would have to say I love everything about my business. However, what I love most is making women feel empowered. When I see women wearing my apparel or accessories, I feel like I am helping them show the world that they are a force to be reckoned with. When you walk around with a shirt that talks about the billions you plan on making, it not only shows the world you mean business but it also reassures you on the days you may not feel motivated that you still got it! That DJ Khaled moment in the mirror is everything.=

21N: What do you hope to gain from Summit21 this year?

SJ: Tools for both personal and business success. This will be my first time attending, and I heard such great things that I had to come this year. I'm a bit of an introvert, so participating in events like this forces me to get out of my comfort zone.

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