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Daily Inspiration: Meet Janaya Hampton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Janaya Hampton.

Hi Janaya, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I started making clothes in 2017, right after I graduated from Howard University. A lot of people often ask me why I didn’t do it while I was at school. Truth is, I was just so caught up in campus life and playing volleyball that I didn’t really have much interest in starting a business or making money off of my hobbies/talents. Anyways, I graduated and started crocheting when I got home. I needed a top to go out for drinks on Cinco De Mayo, so I went in my closet and grabbed an old ball of yellow yarn and a crochet needle. My mom had taught me how to crochet when I was like 7 or 8, and I would do it occasionally when I was bored or when I wanted to make someone a handmade gift. The top ended up being super cute! I remember putting progress pictures of me making the top on snapchat and pictures of me with the top on in public. So many girls/guys complimented me on the top, and several people asked if I could make one for them!

I was super shocked by the response I got. As a recent college graduate with no “real” plans, I decided I would see where this little crochet thing would take me ;). I had just read “Girl Boss” by Sofia Amoruso, the Creator of Nasty Gal, so I was already in this headspace of “being my own boss”. I can’t imagine how many girls that book inspired! I had a passing thought of creating a brand called Asterisk* while I was reading the book. I can’t even tell you how it randomly came to me haha. I liked the idea of an Asterisk* symbol being the logo and that the word “risk” was in Asterisk. I had already decided that I wanted to move to a big city, so I had been looking up internships in LA that were in the communications field. I wanted to be a Sports Reporter when I was in college hahah. I have a cousin out here, so I asked him if I could stay with him while I figured out what I was going to be doing out here. I felt like I was making a “risky” move, which brought me down the wormhole of realizing that my whole life has been filled with “risky but right” decisions. So the name was just so fitting for me.

I continued selling tops before and after moving to LA. After failing to find a steady internship in the communications field. I started considering taking my brand seriously. I had already made an Instagram for it so it was basically legit, right? Lol. I figured the best way to really create a brand and start a business would be to work for someone that is already doing it! So I reached out to the creator/designer of Grayscale and asked if I could work for her. I had the best experience and learned most of what I know by working underneath her.

I worked with her on and off for about two years while simultaneously growing Asterisk*. I officially opened my website in 2019, and I haven’t really looked back since. I’ve expanded into cut and sew items and hope to venture into men’s clothing soon! Stay Tuned 🙂

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I’d be lying if I said it’s always been easy. I mean, LA is an expensive city to live in. I had family to help me which I am extremely blessed for. But, ultimately, I still had to figure out how I would make money since my business didn’t always allow me to live solely off of that income. Doing odd jobs and trying to find steady work was probably to most challenging obstacle I had to face out here. Covid also threw me for a loop, I definitely contemplated moving back home to New Orleans in the beginning. I’m super glad I didn’t! I’ve noticed that your biggest wins are often right on the other side of those crazy obstacles. So, it’s only right to see it through.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I guess the technical term to call what I do is designing, but sometimes I don’t feel I’ve earned that title yet. I like to create moments with my brand and my clothes. I want people to feel confident wearing my clothes not only because of the fit but also because of what my brand represents!

A lot of people know my brand for being crochet clothing or “risky” stuff, which is all true, but I believe my brand is just a representation of someone walking in their purpose. I just want to encourage people to do the same. It sounds all fake deep and what not, but really I just do what makes me happy and God handles the rest. Every. Single. Time.

That’s what sets me apart from others. Crochet was my avenue into fashion because that was what I’ve always known how to do. And I have plans to continue expressing my art with crochet through Asterisk*.

There are several things with my brand that I am proud about, but right now, I’m most proud of my most recent swim campaign, Risky*Swim”. I enjoyed designing the clothes and creating the campaign concept. I finally allowed myself to take a big leap in marketing and it really paid off! Shout out to taking risks 😉

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
The more I don’t care about what the public thinks of my work, the more successful I am. I’m just more in flow when I’m following my heart and blocking out outside noise. Having discipline is also definitely another way I’ve been successful. Playing volleyball most of my life definitely gave me that edge, and for that, I am forever grateful!

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