05 : Deun Ivory
In our first B-side episode, we sit down with creative entrepreneur Deun Ivory and discuss her current projects and her thoughts on Living Corporate's mission.
Deun Ivory Contact:
Black Girl In Om
Zach: What’s up y’all? Welcome to Living Corporate B-sides. So B-sides are essentially random shows we have in between our larger shows. These are much less structured, and somehow, even more lit, if you can believe it or not, than our regularly scheduled shows. Now you may ask “What do you mean by more lit, Zach?” Now watch this - sound man, give the them horns.
Zach: See what I’m saying? For these shows it may just be the Living Corporate team talking about the last episode and more recent events. It may be one of us, it might be three of us, or we may have a 1 on 1 with special guest to talk about their perspective on the latest topic on our show and plug their stuff… you know, just kick it. The guest may be a corporate professional, they may be an entrepreneur, who knows? Right? They may even one of the fastest rising stars in the world of creatives, especially around holistic wellness for black women.
Yes, we have her here folks: Deuncye AKA Deunbra AKA “momma, there go that woman” AKA D.I. AKA your fave photographer’s fave photographer, AKA kween, AKA “whoa why you do em like that sis?” AKA Essence AKA Crwn Mag AKA VSCO Vixen AKA I’m saved but don’t push me AKA “whoaaa is that her?” on the poster at your apple store AKA IG Influencer AKA your intern wishes they could work for HER! Y”all! *the* DEUN IVORY! What’s up Deun?
Deun: [laughs] Oh. My God. You are literally a boost. You are literally a boost. Oh my god, I am completely done, I’m about to fly out of here. That was - wow. That was an amazing introduction. I feel great!
Zach: I’m really glad. So off top, major love to Deun because she was actually encouraging me to start Living Corporate like last year and she been told me I should be doing podcasts. For those who don’t know you, Deun, would you mind sharing a little bit about yourself?
Deun: Yes absolutely, so once again my name is Deun Ivory and I am a creative entrepreneur AKA a woman who does the most. I am a photographer, I’m an illustrator, I’m an art director for Black Girl in Om, which is the number one platform for women of color on their wellness journey. I do brand consulting and brand design for women of color who start their own businesses. I’m an influencer, I do brand partnerships, I do a little bit of modeling. Ooh lord, it’s just- I mean the list goes on and on. Like, I do a lot and I really love what I do because it’s primarily focused on how I can help black women thrive. How I can help black women live their best lives and be unapologetically themselves. So I affirm you, I love on you, I celebrate you through a series of creative practices and I love it and I feel like I am created to do this work that I’m doing. So yeah.
Zach: So Deun, we’ve talked about the fact that your space is holistic wellness for black women, right? So talk to me about what it looks like to be mindful of yourself and to take care of yourself and to practice wellness within, let’s just say, like the corporate context. Like if I’m sitting at my desk and I’m stressed out. I got a funky email or someone’s really riding my back -- What are some practical tips that you could give us around just taking care of yourself?
Deun: Yes, so one thing that I think is really really important is to be mindful of the breath, which is something that we highlight all the time in Black Girl in Om. Like breathing easy? What does that mean? What does that look like? And I think that a lot of time we aren’t aware of how important a breath is. Like when you’re angry, you know your heart is racing, you’re breathing really fast, you’re just really upset, you know? And sometimes it’s good to just sit and meditate. In meditation? You are focused on breathing in and breathing out. You are bringing your focus to this one thing, which is breathing in and breathing out. And within that sitting still, that time of sitting still and breathing in and breathing out, exhaling, right? Inhaling love, exhaling anger. Inhaling growth, exhaling whatever it is that you’re trying to release. You kind of become more balanced and grounded in your own space. You’re able to think more clearly without being driven by emotion, y’know? So I think it’s a beautiful practice and beautiful space to create because you can access it or do it anywhere. You don’t have to pay any money for it, you know, god gave you this breath, use it, be mindful, be aware of it, and meditate as much as you can. And that can be for two minutes. Breathing in and breathing out. What do I want to release, what do I want to I want to bring in, you know. Kind of like aligning yourself with how you want to feel. So, that is one thing.
Journaling is so important because it’s a brain dump. And I think it’s really important to release, especially - I was talking about this with a friend today - black people internalize so much, right? And I think it’s important that we begin to externalize, you know? I mean obviously don’t do anything that’s gonna harm other people, which is why you can turn to writing. You know, you can write out your feelings, try to get to the root of why you may feel a certain way about something. Writing is so important for your self-care journey because you’re able to keep track of like who you are, where you are, how do you feel at this moment, okay? How can I realistically and practically get to this next level or this next whatever in my growth.
Also gratitude. Gratitude is something that is talked about a lot because it’s so powerful. When you just sit and you really just immerse yourself in the blessings that surround you, you can change your mindset and perceive things differently, and look at things just like god trying to show you something. Or you may be mindful of the fact that you are living in abundance despite the fact that you may be lacking this or might be lacking that.
Yeah so I would say meditation and breath, journaling, and gratitude.
Zach: Man those are great answers. And it’s funny, you said it at the beginning but you’re absolutely right. The tips, the advice that you’re providing here- it’s free! All it takes is intentionality and making sure that you actually do those things, but it’s not like I need to go sign up for something way out here.
Zach: That’s really cool, and I think it’s funny because the other point you made around us internalizing things like black people we do internalize things like as a culture. And when I talk to other people, like other minorities, those experiences are not so exclusive to us, right? So I think that’s really good advice. Man, thank you for that.
Deun: Definitely! I’m happy to have shared it.
Zach: I love your story and I’m excited because we’re really just still at the beginning of it. Now I know you’re not in Corporate America, but you have friends who are and you’ve done partnerships with actual Corporations, so it’s not like you’re completely alien to the concept of Corporate America. I know that you have been listening to Living Corporate, can you kinda talk to me about how you feel about the show so far?
Deun: Yes absolutely! I mean when you first brought this idea to me, I was like “hey, this is definitely a space that needs to be created” because there are black people who, you know, have these narratives that need to be shared about their experiences in the corporate world and from my understanding, there was no space like this, especially for black millennials! So I think that this is very beautiful, very necessary, very transformative. I feel like it’s a safe space for people to feel like ‘I can come here and talk about everything that I’ve gone through and help other individuals who work in corporate america get through what they’re going through’. And although I have the blessing of not working in corporate america, you know, like you said, I do know a lot women, and work with them often through Black Girl in Om, to talk about being in corporate spaces where they’re the only black woman, and you know, they need to know like “how do I practice meditation? How can I cultivate a self care practice?” It’s all necessary, it’s all connected, and I’m happy to help in any way that I can and I’m so happy that you guys have created this space.
Zach : Man, thank you for the love, Deun! And straight up, this is heartwarming, it really is. The thing about it is, it’s just so funny that because of the space that you engage and some of the work that we’re doing. So we actually have a show coming up in a couple weeks around mental wellness in corporate america, so what I’m really excited about as we get that show going is really pointing people to some of the resources and some of the things you’ve been doing, right? That you’ve been working on around wellness and just holistic wellness for in your case, specifically black women, but I think a lot of the things you actually create will be helpful for any non-white person in majority white spaces, right? And so when you think about what we’re doing is we’re trying to, to your point, create that safe space and beyond a safe space, a courageous space. Like for people to really lean in and be themselves, and to be affirmed and built up.
So for those who don’t know, we’re in Houston, we’re in my home. We are in my abode
Deun [laughs] Okay.
Zach: And I noticed, I’m looking around, and I see art, right? And for those who don’t know, I’ve been a fan. I’ve been a Deun fan.
Deun: This is true
Zach: Right, and I’m looking around and I’m looking at artwork adorning my walls and it just leads me to ask, you know, who was your first true blue client? Who was your first client?
Deun: You are so extra. YOU, Zachary Nunn, was my first client. And I thank you so much. You had me design a custom illustration for you and your beautiful wife, and man, you know, that really just started something special. Because, I mean I really started poppin then, people were like coming to me, requesting me, and it was amazing, so thank you!
Zach: [laughs] Self serving on my side for sure, and jokes and stuff aside, I want to thank you for taking the time to sit down with me today. And I know you’re busy, right? So talk to us about what you got going on right now. Get your rounds off. Like, what are some of the brands that you’ve worked with, who are the favorite celebrities, I know that I saw recently that you worked with Luvvie, but just talk to us about some of the things that you’ve got going on and some of the things that you’ve recently completed.
Deun: Right, so like I told y’all from jump, I always have a lot going on, and I’m just so blessed and so eternally grateful for that. Speaking on previous achievements or goals or whatever you want to call them, I was featured in Essence in their April issue for Black Girl in Om, which is really really beautiful. If you have not been to an Apple store, you need to go their right now because you will see my face and my work shown all throughout the display monitors, on the phones, on the little gallery wall, on the iPads, all of that good stuff. And so that was really beautiful too because I was reached out to by the creative director of Today at Apple personally, who told me that he was a really huge fan of my work and I was like “dang, this is crazy!” You know, so he had me create and curate these beautiful images on my iphone, and so I had a chance to put my friends on, you know, and so they’re in this international campaign which is crazy, and my self portraits! So that was really beautiful. And recently I became one of VSCO Voices grant recipients and I’m gonna be taking on this 6-month project about sexual abuse within a marginalized community, specifically black women. And that is a story that is very personal to me because I too am a woman who is now thriving in the aftermath of such a traumatic event. So that’s something that I am currently doing right now and yes I did have a chance to shoot Luvvie for the cover of this magazine with Design Sponge that will be coming out really soon. I have some amazing things in the works for Black Girl in Om, you know we have some retreats popping off, some live podcasts, I’m going to be doing my first keynote address at a photo conference in Palm Springs next year in 2019. Be sure to follow me on instagram and I will keep you updated with tickets and all of that.
I mean, I don’t even know. Literally the list could go on and on and on, but those are some of the major projects that I’m doing, and I’m so excited about them, so. Yeah, that’s what I got going on.
Zach: That’s really cool, so you know, you said something about your Instagram, so where can people connect with you? Where can they buy your art? Where can they engage with you further?
Deun: Yes, absoutely, so you can follow me on instagram @deunivory. I’m on that on instagram, I’m also on that on Twitter, and Black Girl in Om, you should follow us on instagram as well because we curate and create amazing experiences and art
Zach: yes y’all do
Deun: Thank you. Oh yeah, I have another baby, Ivory and Ashe Life on Instagram which is a company that I founded with Lauren Ashe who is also the founder of Black Girl in Om. It’s like a mindfulness goods brand for women of color. And Hello G&G which is an activation series that I just started with my friend Abena Boamah, who is the founder of Hanahana Beauty. If you are in need of some lotion that’s gon get you your entire life, and have you glowing and shining like none other, you need to check out Hanahana Beauty on instagram. So I know those were a lot of handles, but I got a lot going on, and I’m pretty sure you’re going to be receiving so much beauty and affirmation from all of these platforms.
Zach: Oh absolutely, and you know, I can specifically vouch for - well fist of all, Black Girl in Om is super dope. I visit your website, I visit your IG page all the time, beautiful work there. And then also I can vouch for Hanahana Beauty because I’ve actually met Abena a couple months ago, and she gave me some of her cocoa butter.
Deun: The shea butter
Zach: The Shea butter, excuse me, that’s right the shea butter and it was fire
Zach: Yes my fingers were very very supple
Zach: My skin was lustrious
Deun: [laughs] that’s literally - yes, like that’s what it is, it’s just what it is. And she’s been featured in essence and numerous other platforms because this stuff- it’s the truth.
Zach: So the thing about it is - this is our inaugural kick off for our b-sides but eventually we definitely want you, Abena, Lauren Ashe, we could make it just like a Black Girl in Om party because we really want to talk about entrepreneurship while being other, and you know, like you guys have really burst on the scene, and yall - the space that you guys are inhabiting, you guys are really rocking that domain
Deun: Thank you!
Zach: No problem, I mean, thank y’all. Let’s do this- before we kinda wrap it up, do you have any more shout outs?
Deun: I wanna shout out to everybody! I mean relationships are such an integral part of my success, for one. You know, I would not be here if god had not blessed me with the relationships I have with these phenomenal black women who are intelligent and brilliant and who celebrate me and have shown me how to celebrate others. So definitely my creative partners Lauren Ashe and Abena Boamah, my best friend in the whole wide world, Victoria Banjo. My good friends in Houston, you know Eunice and Selma and Unique and everybody from Good Hope, my amazing husband Eric Michael Ward, who is also an amazing photographer and is the reason why I’m in photography now. He’s so dope. Oh my god, who else? Alex Elle for really just trusting me to create her logo and allowing me to be on her podcast, which gave me great exposure and also the reason why I have so many clients and you know, people who kinda know me, yknow, I’m grateful for that. And Sarad at Essence for reaching out to Lauren and I for the Essence cover, well not Essence cover, but you know, I’m manifesting that-
Zach: Yes, c’mon
Deun: -for the Essence Feature. Crwn Magazine for always putting us on, if y’all need to be in the know of like a black magazine that caters to black women, our hair, our experiences, Crwn Mag, C-R-W-N. They are legit. Adrian Rochelle who is another phenomenal black woman. Just-- Brilliant! Ahead of her time. Please follow her on Instagram, she’s amazing. If I have missed you, please know it is not on purpose. Okay, I just came back from a memorial party, it was real lit, I was eatin real good and I’m tired, but know that I love you and I mean well. But thank you to everybody who has been supportive, who has loved on me and shown me support and held me accountable and also been very honest with me from the jump, so. Yes, those are my shout outs.
Zach: Dope, well, we’ll make sure to include all the @’s and links for all that you’ve referenced so that folks can make sure to connect with you. Definitely shout out to you ma’am, shout out to your wonderful husband, E-Mike, who is my best friend, right? Best man at my wedding. Shout out to LaurenAsh and Abenah and HanaHana and Grow & Glow, and shout out to Black Girl In Om!
Zach: Okay, well look, I think that might do it. I think that does us for the show. Again, guys this is our first b-side, these are just gonna be loose,laid back, more fun episodes, and you can kinda meet friends of the show and kind of just get to know some of the hosts and some of our guests. You know, we don’t typically do it like this on the regular shows, but Deun would you mind signing us off?
Deun:... okay! [laughs] alright, thank you for joining us on the Living Corporate Podcast. Make sure to follow us on instagram at @livingcorporate, twitter at @LivingCorp_Pod and subscribe to our newsletter through
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. Aaaaaand that does it for us on this show. Once again, my name is Deun Ivory!
Zach: my name is Zach, peace!