At Jackie, we want to have a conversation about Black History Month and the amazing women of color in our community who are building brands and businesses that are doing truly meaningful things. We were able to sit down with Lindsay Ayers from The Faith Feast and learn more about her journey as an entrepreneur and blogger, digging deep into what Black History Month means to her.
Tell us about you! What is “The Faith Feast”?
“The Faith Feast is a community created to help women (and a few men) dive deeper into the word of God and enjoy their faith journey. My desire is to encourage, equip, and empower women to pursue their faith with confidence and joy! I also love to encourage them to dress well, eat better, and live their best lives. Life is a FEAST if we have the eyes to see it.”
How did you decided to start this online community?
“I was walking through a really challenging season and needed somewhere to process my newly discovered passion for my faith. I was in Chicago, newly single, away from family and knee deep in law school feeling all the feels. It was a dark season with little glimmers of light. My faith was one of those glimmers and cooking was another. I was feeling so much peace in the kitchen and I realized that for me, food and faith go hand in hand. Coming out of such a hard season, I realized that all of life, whether that be food, faith, fashion, or fun could be a feast if we had the right vision. I created the Faith Feast to allow women to come alongside me in my quest for MORE with hopes of them finding more too.”
What has been your experience being an entrepreneur and a woman of color?
“I call myself a baby entrepreneur, but I think it’s about time I change that. Being an entrepreneur is hard. I have a few products and I also am privileged to partner with some amazing brands (team Shop Jackie!) , but choosing what to make free, what to sell and who to partner with can be challenging. I really have learned to trust that inner voice telling me which way to go.
When it comes to being a woman of color in entrepreneurship, I have found that I have a unique opportunity to speak to a wide audience that might not normally get to hear from a voice like mine. This has presented me with some challenges. I recently started discussing my race and my experience more openly and while I mostly have received support for it, I have lost followers, but being black is part of me, my perspective and my experience. If you follow me, that is something that I expect people to know I won’t shy away from, even if that makes some people uncomfortable. I value my integrity and my voice more than I do profit. Overall, I think being black has played a unique role in my journey. I have been chosen for things because I am black and I have been overlooked for the very same reason. I believe that the opportunities that are for me, always come and my job is to continue to work with a spirit of excellence and trust God with the rest!”
Can you share with us a bit about what Black History Month means to you?
“When I got out of school, Black History Month was not something that was really on my radar. This year though, specifically because of the diverse group of women that follow me, I felt a special need to share about the amazing things black people are doing now. It is important to me that we are all exposed to those who don’t look like us and have an opportunity to connect with them. I believe that one way I can facilitate racial reconciliation and unity is by sharing these incredible people and giving my tribe an opportunity to connect. Church is often the most segregated place when it should be the place that is most integrated. For me, it is especially important that as a person of faith, other believers are exposed to believers of color. If we are going to see this reconciliation come, it will start with the church. I want to be apart of that and Black History Month feels like a great time to ramp that up a notch. Additionally, Black History Month this year has been a time of lament. I am painfully aware of how far we have to go in our nation and I have found myself heartbroken over recent news stories. I have made a point to talk with my non-black friends about this in hopes of making them aware of mine and so many others experience. It has been a mixture of deep pride and celebration for my culture and deep grief and longing for better days for my nation.”
In what ways has being a woman of color empowered you to go above and beyond in your business?
“I think I go above and beyond in my business for other women of color. I want other women of color who want to start faith blogs, or online businesses, or just do whatever they want to know that they can. The older I get, the more I realize how much representation matters. Sometimes we really do need to see someone else doing it to believe that we can too. Additionally, I want young girls of color to see God in their lives and begin to pursue Him as early as possible! I genuinely hope to serve as a positive role model to any youngster following me. I don’t take this platform lightly. What I say matters and will last, whether I want it to or not! Lastly, I think it is important for other races and ethnicities to hear from a voice that is different than theirs. We grow in the tension that differences often bring. I hope to challenge and be challenged through The Faith Feast continually!”
What advice would you offer to women as they are beginning to build a brand or business of their own?
“The best advice I could give someone is to stay true to you. It can be really tempting to imitate or portray an image that is not authentic to who you are, but this is not the true path to any form of success, no matter how you define it. That is the other thing I would say, define success for yourself or other people will define it for you. This too is being true to yourself. The piece of last advice I would give is always know your “why”. The roadblocks, the failures, the hiccups- they are inevitable. But the why will keep you going when you want to quit. These are all things only YOU can define. The answers are in you, no where else.”