Phoenix

Creating Clothes for a Cause

Emma Bush was always running around in clothes her mom and grandma would make for her. So it wasn’t a big surprise to anyone when Emma learned how to make her own clothes and accessories from the early age of six.

“I’ve been doing that for a long time, sewing, making jewelry, and art and different things,” Emma said. “All of my interests kind of collide as far as handiwork.”

Emma Bush, shopping for supplies.

Emma Bush, shopping for supplies.

(Keep reading! But also click here to listen to the full episode!)

It didn’t occur to her until she was around fifteen that she could do something with these amazing skills. After realizing she didn’t want to be a dentist due to her disdain for spit, she started looking for other avenues that would eventually lead her to where she is now. The owner, sole creator, and designer of the clothing brand ‘Soapbox Clothing for a Cause.’

“I was doing alterations for people in high school so I had the art and everything,” she said. “I was just like, ‘okay, let’s see about making clothes’. By the time I graduated, and I went to community college, I was like we’re gonna do fashion design. That’s gonna be my major.”

During a spring fashion show in college, Emma used the name ‘Soapbox Clothing’ for the first time when she signed up to show a collection of items. She was so proud of her collection and has people remember items from it to this day.

From a shoot for Soapbox Clothing. Two looks Emma made. (Photo by: Raina Bowers)

From a shoot for Soapbox Clothing. Two looks Emma made. (Photo by: Raina Bowers)

“It was a really good collection, it was all like these satin slip dresses and they were really pretty,” she said. “People still, every once in awhile, will be like ‘oh you made that like silver dress’. Cause I had this like six-foot tiny like supermodel girl wear it, and that was cool.”

Her clothing is now in full swing and she can hardly find time to do much of anything else. Yet while she is making clothes and building her own company, she is also using the proceeds to donate to charities and initiatives that she believes it.

“I don’t have free time because I’m doing this all the time, and I love it, which is great,” Emma said. “It’s not something that I’m just pushing to the side. It’s something I genuinely want to build.”

She donates to causes such as the Honeybee Conservancy, Fund for the Children of Flint, Michigan, PLanned Parenthood and many others. As an outspoken feminist and activist, she knows that talking about problems and having open discussions is only half the battle. To help, she makes sure she is helping causes she knows helps others.

“If you like my stuff you’re gonna be benefiting these various things I believe in,” she said. “So like, women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, the environment, all these different things that I’m gonna try and fuel, that I believe in.”

Oftentimes, Emma collaborates with other local artists for photoshoots, pop-ups and other opportunities. Even though she has had a few people try and take advantage of her along the way, it hasn’t stopped her from working with others and joining in the creative Phoenix scene.

“It’s kind of a wild thing to sit down and go, ‘oh wow, I’m so much more capable of making things and ideas and everything,’” she said. “Now I’m bringing other artists into it and it’s great and it’s all so good. Very fulfilling.”

Starting her business has not been easy. In the past, she has had people use her to get free products in exchange for little-to-nothing in return. Like many people starting a business, though, she has learned the value of her time and her products and is now able to navigate through those who really want to help out and work together from those who just want a free shirt.

“I’m placing more value on myself, which is healthy and great,” Emma said. “I’m not sending out free things because you know, I worked really hard to make this. It’s not super difficult to be nice and open to other people. So, if people want to make an effort, they will, and if they don’t, forget em.”

Photo of Emma.

Photo of Emma.

Emma works hard to follow what she believes in and is able to do it all by following her passion. As her company grows, we are sure many people will be wearing and supporting her!

“Stand, not by your own, but by yourself on what you want to do,” says Emma.

You can follow Emma and see all of her fabulous merchandise on Twitter and Instagram.

ALSO, you can check out her website here!

Still want to know more about Emma and starting a business? Click here to listen to the full episode!

Thank you so much, once again, to our follower and supporters! It means a lot to us!

When Your Art is Your Work

As artists, or even just creative people, we all dream of the day where we can make a living off of our passions. But what happens when your creative energy and passion are the only thing you do to make a living? Does your ability to produce your art take a hit? Well, we sat down with someone who knows a lot about just that.

 

Natalie Allen is a full-time freelance travel and editorial photographer and writer. She has been full-time for a while now but has continued to love what she does and produce incredible work time and time again.

 

Photo by: Natalie Allen

Photo by: Natalie Allen

(Click here to listen to the full episode! To learn even MORE about our guest, just keep reading!)

 

“Over time when you’re more experienced, your work starts to dramatically develop,” said Natalie. “You start to find your voice. And again, when you start sharing your personal-loved photos on the internet, people also take notice.”

 

Her personal love for photography and documentation stems all the way back to high school, and back then phone cameras weren’t what they are now. If you wanted good photos, you had to get a good camera.

 

“I just saved up for you know, a canon t3i, and it just forever changed my life,” said Natalie. “I really wanted a little extra something to just have those good memories, because I loved journaling - I loved photo albums and scrapbooks and all that other crap. I’m a sucker for that shit, so like I really just wanted to ultimately document my friends and my time in high quality.”

 

She posted her photos of her friends on social media, and people started to see how talented she was. When it came time for her senior year, she was on the council for her school’s theatre department as the historian, i.e. the photographer.

 

“People just started to take notice, and then I thought, well shoot, this is a pretty good business to run,” she said. “It just turned into something so much bigger, and I am just totally running with the wind with it now.”

 

Photo by: Natalie Allen

Photo by: Natalie Allen

She works in more than just photography now. In fact, Natalie is a licensed yoga instructor, a contributor for Fieldmag, an ambassador for United by Blue, a field scout for Hipcamp, and a freelance writer for many different blogs for companies. When she’s working on so many projects at once, one might ask how she balances her work and personal life.

 

“What really helps me is the film vs digital work,” she said. “So like film is my personal sort of hobby with photography that I’m kind of toying with and playing with and having some good old times with. And then the digital aspect of photography is still definitely there, and I can use that as sort of my career point. I don’t know. Finding that balance is definitely hard.”

 

A couple of years ago, Natalie was feeling bogged down and uninspired by her work. So she asked herself what she wanted to try. What was drawing her away? That’s when she found her love for film photography.

 

“It’s just something that speaks to me more,” she said. “It’s more raw, more honest. And there’s just something about getting film back.”

 

I think that losing your voice in your art is something that we all can relate to at one point or another (or maybe multiple points) but, like Natalie, it’s all about balance and finding what you love and chasing it.

 

“You know I would say last year was a really good year for me,” she said. “I had a lot of travel opportunities, whether they were entirely personal or for jobs, and I just feel like I really found my voice finally after years of doing this.”

 

Photo by: Natalie Allen

Photo by: Natalie Allen

When your art becomes your job, there are steps you can take to keep yourself sane. Just remember, people take notice when you love what you do. Or, remind yourself of what you are doing, just like Natalie does.

 

“Even on my travels when I shoot I try to just take as many photos as I possibly can while simultaneously living in the moment and just taking in all of the environments and sights and smells and sounds and the other senses that do come with photography that help create that image,” Natalie said.

 

You can follow Natalie and all of the amazing stuff she is doing on Twitter and Instagram. Or check out her website! (and if you need any photos done, you know, hit her up!)

 

Still want to hear more about Natalie and freelancing? Click here to listen to the full episode!

 

Thank you so much, once again, to our followers and supporters! It means a lot to us!

 

The Shameless Women in Comedy

As a young female comedian, Trejon Dunkley has had to step out of her boundaries to pursue her passions. This fierce lady has overcome many pressures and excuses from others to seek opportunities in the Phoenix area. She is now a regular star, coordinator and host in the local comedy scene but it hasn’t been easy for her to break through and join the “boy’s club” we know as stand-up comedy.

Meet Trejon Dunkley, a badass female comedian, actress, writer, editr, etc.

Meet Trejon Dunkley, a badass female comedian, actress, writer, editr, etc.

 

(Check out/listen to the full podcast here! Or just keep reading as well, I didn’t write this thing for nothing)

 

Looking at Trejon now, you wouldn’t imagine her journey to the stage to be met with so much doubt. She is a fearless, unapologetically funny and bright girl when she is in front of a crowd but she has had to overcome both racist and sexist interactions along the way.

 

Trejon came from a troubled home and had many instances growing up where she was bullied for the way she looked and acted. She speaks to how she didn’t fit in with the “cool black girl” mold and how her peers treated her.

 

“I got teased a lot because I wasn’t very good looking,” she says. “And I was very dark with kinky hair, so I got bullied a lot. I was just like a weird kid and I wasn’t cool, and you gotta be cool if you’re a black girl or you will be torn apart, and I just was not. I liked emo music and history.”

 

It wasn’t until she watched the 1997 movie of Cinderella with Brandy as the star, that she changed her outlook on what she could be. Trejon decided to pursue a degree in acting at Northern Arizona University after high school, but left quickly when she was met with the racist tones of her classmates.

 

“[They] were trying to tell me to ‘keep my expectations low’ because girls of your complexion don’t get leads. Another student just cornered me in the hallway and said ‘listen, you’re too black to get roles. I know. I’m dating a light-skinned black girl and she’ll probably get leads, but not if they find out she’s black.’”

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Even though she had some good professors and friends at NAU, she realized she didn’t want to stay there. Who would?

 

So she moved to Arizona State University and joined the screenwriting program.

 

“I thought, if they’re not gonna give me roles, I’ll just write my own. That’s the mindset that I kind of went in with.”

 

It was there at ASU she took her first comedy class which was taught by a black woman, the only woman in the film and media faculty, in fact. Trejon speaks to how having her as a mentor allowed her the courage and community she needed to feel she wasn’t going into everything blindly.

 

“I think it’s so important to be able to see people who look like you and have come from similar backgrounds as you in those positions of power, as directors and as actors or as professors. Seeing someone in your field makes you feel like you actually can do it because they did it before and they did it 30 years before me when things were tougher. I would really like to be that voice for someone one day.”

 

Despite all she has faced in school, theatre, comedy (among other areas of her life) Trejon is now thriving within the Phoenix comedy scene.

 

She is the host for Maiden Phx, a monthly all-female comedy show, a co host for the Great Exposure comedy show in Phoenix and she is the coordinator for a weekly open mic.

 

In her roles, she works to support diversity and opportunities for women of all shapes, sizes and color. She makes sure she is cultivating young women to pursue their dreams and chances of comedy.

 

“Hire women. Trust women. Just give them the same benefit of the doubt that you would give any other recommendation. And if she sucks, it’s probably not cause she’s a woman. It’s cause she sucks. Same with writers or creators of color. Don’t just hire them on to be the ‘urban flava’ or like the diversity casting.”

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She continues to push for women to join comedy and to give them the space they need to succeed.

 

Trejon said she knows the comedy scene is still very much a “boy’s club”, but the women in comedy aren’t to be fucked with. Rather, they should be treated with the same respect and patience as male comedians.

 

“There’s still not enough women getting booked. There’s still not enough women who have the confidence to take the chance and ask the booker because they’re afraid. I think we need to get past that and have that same kind of lack of shame that a lot of male comedians do.”

 

You can follow Trejon and all of the cool shit she does on her Instagram or her Twitter.

AND go check out Maiden Phx. It’s every 1st Thursday of the month at the Plazma Bar in Phoenix. You can also catch Trejon co hosting the Great Exposure comedy show at Plazma. And, every tuesday, she runs an open mic at Grand Avenue Pizza in Downtown Phoenix.

You can listen to the full episode here!

Thank to everyone for their support and ears so far! We here at We Must Ignite appreciate everything!