Today we’d like to introduce you to Angel Swanigan.
Hi Angel, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I started out in business in 2012 after having an abortion. This pained me terribly and haunted me with guilt. I refer to this instance as my awakening moment. It was the moment that birthed my purpose because it took me off of autopilot and made me become a conscious and deliberate creator. I founded my Non-profit organization- YANAAA INC. (You are Not Alone At All) in 2012 to target loneliness, boredom, and isolation within our youths. These were all things I faced as a youth which caused me to self-sabotage. The pain I felt urged me to share my story and to guide those who dealt with similar situations I had gone through. I became a pillar in my community by hosting 6 empowerment seminars at the City Hall in my hometown, speaking with youth at high schools, and mentoring the youth that sought mentorship. My goal was to bridge the gap of communication between our youths and the adults within the community.
With the spread of awareness of my work within the community, I became more sought after. I proudly taught a personal growth and development program to the youths at our local Westhab Center. I’ve had reputable guest speakers come out to share their stories with the kids such as Lowell Robinson, an ex-overachieving college athlete for the Pittsburgh Panthers. I also led a group of young entrepreneurs to the high schools to share their stories and success with the students.
While I loved the work I did in the community, I had decided to take a break when lack of compensation began to affect my livelihood. If I couldn’t afford to help myself, how could I help others.? We hadn’t become a 501c3 (tax-exempt and charitable) organization until a few years later, so all that I was doing was fueled from my personal pockets. I just couldn’t afford it.
I joined a network marketing group named “Organo Gold” to become more knowledgeable about business, selling, and to make money on my terms. “Think and Grow Rich” was the book that represented their company values and was a must-read. The combination of the conferences plus the books they recommended influenced me to become a self-help addict. Books like “Rich Dad, Poor dad” by Robert Kiyosaki really shifted my perception on life, finances, and more! I became totally immersed in the studies of the concepts mentioned in the book. I felt that all of the information I read was information that not many individuals in underserved communities had no idea existed. I made it my mission to be the one to inform them. Angel Inspires was born as a result. Again, I set out into the community not only as an inspirational speaker but an informational speaker as well spreading my knowledge about the things I had read and applied to my very own life. At this time, I was 23 years old and ready to tell my story, inspire and educate.
My newfound knowledge led me to take a different approach to challenging situations in my life. For this reason, family and friends looked at me as “crazy,” which made them stop supporting me. I no longer had a place to live. Eventually, I became homeless and lived out of the two-part office a friend had allowed me access to anytime I wanted. Unfortunately, this was short-lived. I had decided to move here to Ohio to get back on my feet, extremely pained about all the work I had to leave behind.
Within my first month of being here, I hosted the Domestic Violence and Breast Cancer awareness event for Yvette Thompson (now Yvette Lloyd)
Becoming homeless back in NY hadn’t scared me much but when I became homeless in Akron which I knew nothing about and only the immediate family I had there. It was scary. The family member I moved with was considered a “Christian” and didn’t agree with my decision to meditate and other things I did. She had decided that she was going to send me back to NY. Instead of going back, I checked myself into the Haven of Rest shelter and figured things out on my own. I kept journals to keep track of my thoughts and experiences. It was not easy at all, but I managed to catch wind of a home health aid program who trained and hired me in. My next goal was to save up enough money to move out but to also start college to further my education in the medical field.
I enrolled in Fortis College for medical assisting. I maintained a 3.75 GPA (in the dean’s list consecutively) with nearly perfect attendance. I was very honest with my teachers about my situation. Word spread, and Fortis College published my story as a student success story.
Before the pandemic hit, I was working as a medical assistant. But this still wasn’t fulfilling enough for me. Once the pandemic came, it opened my eyes and made me realize that I needed to go back to the things I truly loved doing. One way I did this was by starting my boutique business- Sexy SizeUp Boutique LLC. I started it because shopping places were so far from me, and many of the places I shopped at were either overpriced or had clothing that wasn’t true to size. We carry plus-size clothing, accessories, shoes, cruelty-free and vegan makeup products, swimwear, and more. As time went on, I realized I needed to sow a piece of inspiration and support into my brand. I came up with a brand ambassador program that supports women in their endeavors and provides them with opportunities, pay, and exposure. We’ve successfully gained grand brand ambassadors with thousands and even millions of followers on social media, professional rap recording artist lady lunatic, and have given multiple women in different states and cities the opportunity to showcase their talents at our fashion shows.
Since launching my boutique, I’ve been featured as Bounce Hub’s member of the month, had an article written on me by RemiTV on Remitvmedia.com.
Our last event was in Harlem, NY at the famous Harlem Haberdashery- home of 5001 flavors. They design clothes for well-esteemed celebrities such as Missy Elliot, Fat Joe, Da Baby, and more. We were honored to have Bianca Golden (America’s Next Top Model Alumn) there as well as Liris Crosse who was the first plus-size model to win Project Runway. She also was on Law & Order Organized Crime.
Ultimately Sexy SizeUp Boutique LLC is not just about clothing and shopping; it’s about enhancing the self-esteem for plus-size women of all shapes and sizes as well as giving women the support and resources they need to start their own endeavors.
Aside from this. I have created a platform known as Conscious Conversations where I highlight black businesses and their efforts and challenges and successes. I have interviewed celebrities such as Micah Dixon, Humble G tha Fiddla, Ash Cash, Kells Barnett, and more. All of my interviews were for the purpose of inspiration and motivation.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Struggles along the way include homelessness, lack of sales due to Covid-19, huge amount of inventory being stolen during a fashion show.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Sexy SizeUp Boutique LLC is a plus-size boutique one-stop shop catered to plus-size women up to size 5XL. We are fashion, beauty, and inspiration. It is our goal to enhance self-esteem for plus-size women while providing support, resources, and encouragement for our brand ambassadors. It’s not all about what we carry. It’s the impact we make with every individual who chooses to shop our brand. We are currently online only but will be coming to a store or city near you soon. You can visit us at www.sexysizeupboutique.com
Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs, or other resources you think our readers should check out?
Inside the vault with Ash Cash (was happy to have had the opportunity to interview him in the past)
Groove with Portia- Portia Booker
Oprah Winfrey’s soul series
Think and grow rich- Napoleon Hill
Laws of Success- Napoleon Hill
Outwitting the Devil- Napoleon Hill
The power of Now- Eckhart Tolle
The Magic of Believing- Claude Bristol
- Website: www.sexysizeupboutique.com
- Instagram: Instagram.com/sexysizeupboutique, Instagram.com/angelinspires
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Inspirationsangel
- Youtube: Angel Inspires