Tribe is a professional collective supporting black women in beauty, fashion and CPG. The organization was started by Chanel Tyler, Alexis Avent and Crystal Sai to galvanize a network and help women navigate careers even when they sometimes feel isolated.
I love that Tribe recognizes that we're more powerful when we raise each other up. There is a lot of room to be made at the tables inside the big beauty and fashion houses; Tribe is pulling up the chairs! Read on for a fun All Worked Up with all three founders.
Congrats on launching tribe - can you tell us a little bit about how it came about and what hurdles you’ve faced so far?
One [particularly long] work evening, eight women, including the three of us, met for happy hour. Almost instantly conversations centralized around the lack of representation of black women, both externally in marketing campaigns and advertisements, and internally within senior leadership, a shortage of professional, emotional, and motivational support in the workplace, and just an overall frustration with their respective industries (which happened to be Beauty). We made lemonade out of lemons and TRIBE was born. TRIBE (n): a supportive space and professional collective celebrating black women working in Beauty, Fashion and CPG | @tribe_org
Hurdles: Honestly, many of the things you would expect with a start-up, THE GRIND IS REAL!
MONEY | sources of funding to carry out our vision, build visibility around our brand and grow our membership base.
NEW LAUNCH | Tribe was launched in April of this year so we are very new - getting started, driving awareness, gaining media traction, and finding spaces to host board meetings and events.
HUSTLE / GRIND | this is a passion project for us so we are working on TRIBE around the clock, the hustle never stops and it’s not easy. So much of the free time we had prior to launching TRIBE goes into growing TRIBE.
How do you make time to grow this community and be on during your traditional work day?
We recently expanded our board from 6 members to 22 members across 6 functional areas. We were able to bring on some really incredible women with phenomenal professional backgrounds and talents. The energy, the vibe, the way we collaborate is going to help us take TRIBE to the next level. We can now be more strategic and get more done. Most passion projects are not 9-5, they are 5-9 and much more. We leverage much of our free time outside of the “work day” to dedicate to meetings, calls, getting organized, building out plans, sourcing venues, creating assets, etc. Basically, #TeamNoSleep
What’s coming next from Tribe?
We are focused on growing our brand through expansion of our digital platforms, enhancing partnerships, and delivering more events and relevant content to our members. We’re excited to share our engagement with the Fashion Week community, being that fashion is one of our member pillars. We have exciting activations planned to celebrate black female designers, entrepreneurs and professionals.
Our overall vision is to create a safe, supportive and empowering space for the collective of black women that are a part of our org. We plan to increase visibility and mobility amongst all our respective industries and help bring attention to the importance of diversity in leadership as it relates to black women. We are focused on building out our brand through expansion of our digital platforms, enhancing partnerships, and delivering more events and relevant content to our members. Tribe is more than a name, it is a MOVEMENT. Support. Connect. Celebrate. We are you, we are me, we are TRIBE #weareTRIBE.
Where do you reside and what is your favorite local spot close to home?
We all live in Harlem, baby! We are all self-proclaimed foodies so here are a few of our favorite spots by occasion.
Brunch: Lido, Fumo, Blvd Bistro
Happy Hour: Yatenga, Ponty Bistro, Cantina
Late Night Drinks and Ambiance: 67 Orange, Corner Social, The Edge, Harlem Hops, Barawine
If you haven’t tried these places, try them! You can thank us later!
It's breakfast time on a weekday, where are you and what are you eating?
Chanel @buymechanel: Honestly, weekday breakfast can miss me, I usually have a vegan coffee or a smoothie from Juice Press, brunch is totally my thing though! I am ALWAYS eating at my desk, it’s really difficult to tear away from work and I guess I figure it’s multi-tasking!
Alexis @alexis_kristine: I am so not a morning person sooo...anything Chanel is making on @LemonsandThings, but if I can’t make one of her fabulous recipes Grapefruit and hard boil eggs. Unfortunately, I am always eating at my desk. #multitasker
Crystal @4chocolategirls: Coffee is a must, along with a Trader Joe’s light cheddar cheese stick at 9am. At around 10:30/11am, its hard boiled eggs with Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning (thanks to our Events Director Mechelle!) or Chia Seed pudding with Coconut almond milk. Always at my desk, womp lol.
It's dinner time on a weekday, where are you and what are eating?
Chanel: I love to cook! i It’s extremely therapeutic for me, but I don’t have nearly enough time to do it. I started an IG “blog” called @lemonsandthings as Alexis mentioned, and I post a lot of what I love to make on there. It’s mainly brunch dishes. I’ve failed at meal prep so many times, I can never keep up with it. I typically cook on Sundays and Wednesdays and that covers dinner for the week, if not there is always Seamless (Evelyn’s Kitchen is my favorite). I love hosting and have people over often for dinner, game nights, brunch and mini celebrations.
Alexis: I’m going to Chanel's house for whatever she’s cooking. Seriously though follow @lemonsandthings and live your best cooking life. Otherwise, I’m all about an easy sautéed dish preferably with veggies and fish of some sort. My weekend (aka Sunday plans) are typically spent on a skin care or hair regimen over prepping food.
Crystal: Dinner is a toss up! I could be snacking on hors d'oeuvres at a work or networking event, meeting with girlfriends for dinner, or quite frankly having a glass of wine and ordering in. Sometimes I workout and am exhausted and might just have a snack before bed. My schedule is all over the place (in the best way!), so it really changes from day to day.
Describe your workwear style.
Chanel: I would describe my workwear style as casual chic. I work on a team that operates similar to the startup world and the culture is professional but relaxed, so I wear jeans and a blazer, wrap dress and wedges, or a blouse and high waisted slacks. When I was in a more formal environment my favorite brands were Club Monaco, J Crew, and Theory. Now I’m much more into Zara, DVF, Asos and Rachel Comey. The older I get the more I prioritize function, it needs to be versatile and comfortable at a minimum. I like to go from work to play / day to night. For commuting, I have unfortunately become a seeker of fashionable but comfortable flats and heels, but every once in a while I’ll be in a sneaker especially if I have post work errands. I hope to communicate confidence, openness, fun and style that is uniquely me.
Alexis: My workwear style is unapologetic, fashionable but functional. Nordstrom, Asos, and Zara are my go to retailers for workwear. I wouldn’t say I prioritize form or function, it is more so whatever I am feeling at the time. I do keep in mind when getting dressed any afterwork plans I may have that day. I like to change up my style, I’ve never been the type to fit inside a box. I DEFINITELY change my shoes per my commute, does any tried and true New Yorker not? The only message I ever try to communicate with my style is this is me, take or leave it - and it may change depending on how I’m feeling that day.
Crystal: I’d describe my workwear style as professional chic! I worked at MAC prior to my current role which was much more relaxed, but black from Monday through Thursday so I had to get creative. Now, I work in a much more corporate environment so I love brands like Zara, Banana Republic, BCBGMaxAzria, AQAQ, Rue107, JLuxlabel, etc! If I have an important meeting, you can typically catch me in something a little more formal or a jumpsuit- I LOVE a good jumpsuit! I always commute in comfy shoes- flip flops in the summer because I’m a Cali girl, but I won’t allow these NYC streets to kill my heels. My goal is to convey chic professional and put together, but with a slight edge.
Do you have a favorite workwear item that you can't live without?
Chanel: My chunky knit sweater, it is super cozy and keeps me warm in the winter and warm in the summer AC when the office is an ice box. Also my classic black pump, in a drawer in my desk ready for whenever an important meeting pops on the calendar.
Alexis: Being from the south I’m big on accessories and heels. The higher the heel the closer to God (said in the most southern accent ever!). But I’d have to say my favorite workwear or any wear accessory are my collective of bangles. The mix and match of them makes up a holistic look that is signature Alexis and they go with whatever I’m wearing.
Crystal: My leather mules that I keep under my desk that I can throw on at any point to make my look more professional.
You're about to give a big presentation/have a big meeting, what are you wearing:
Chanel: Blouse (usually with a bit of fufu), a pencil dress or skirt and sleek pumps.
Alexis: A dress. Classic, simple, functional. I have enough to prep for without stressing about multiple pieces!
Crystal: A Jumpsuits- I love a good jumpsuit!
How do you prepare for said big presentation or meeting?
Chanel: For a big presentation I start preparing as soon as I find out about it. I practice pretty obsessively until I feel like I know the content in and out (I need to feel good about my delivery). I usually prepare myself for questions and answers and typically practice in the mirror.
Alexis: Preparation is key. While there isn’t a power pose or a favorite hype song I like to make sure all presentations are backed in analytics so decisions are backed logically and not viewed emotionally.
Crystal: Definitely prepping, and going over it and over it until I know the content well enough to speak casually to it. I’m most comfortable when I know what I’m talking about!
What constitutes a good day at work?
Chanel: Productivity, I usually make a list of to-dos in the morning and if I can mark all the to-dos off and clear out my inbox that is a good day. Being able to turn in a big deliverable that I’ve have put blood, sweat and grind tears into is a really good day (and I am very appreciative of positive feedback / good responses). I don’t have work life balance but I do have boundaries. Once I leave the office I typically move my focus into whatever my post work to-do’s or activities are and I don’t revisit work until early the next morning unless I know it’s something really important. Because I have a very active life outside of work including TRIBE, social life, networking, ME TIME, there have to be boundaries on all of them or I will burn out / stress out.
Alexis: Definitely checking off to-dos and just getting things done. I feel accomplished when not only is my To Do list complete but I’ve exceeded expectations for the day. My work/life balance, I feel, is achieved more outside of the office.
Crystal: Being able to check things off my list and be productive despite hundreds of emails and tons of meetings. Not letting the stress of a fast paced environment impact me getting ish done!
How do you unwind and turn work off?
Chanel: I love a good TV show and enjoy Netflix a little too much. I usually unwind by going home, making myself a good pasta dish and pouring a healthy glass of wine while catching up on the shows I missed during the week. I also love creating content, that is also a way for me to unwind whether it be food / cooking content, beauty content, etc. I don’t have designated self care time but I have been practicing giving myself a day a month, usually a Saturday, to just not do anything except focus on what makes me happy. Self care is so critical and my spiritual relationships really help with keeping my thoughts collected and my mind on positive mode set towards finding and residing in a peaceful state. I constantly remind myself there is so much to be thankful for and honestly the blessings have been abundant (God is good y'all)! And yes I love trying new restaurants, like LOVE (if you’re a wino - Park Ave Summer/Winter/Spring/Fall has an amazing wine dinner and is a great spot to go with girlfriends or a boo thang)!
Alexis: Every morning before work Crystal has helped me implement what we call “Dad time” taking the time to speak with God and thank him for what he has done, guide us to where he wants us to be and grant us peace and serenity. After that I have made extreme efforts to go to the gym (but again not a morning person). Sunday’s are definitely set aside for self care. It can range from a facial mask, a glass of wine, brunch with my girls etc. But Sundays I always end the day by saying this is what I did for me today. Lastly, on Tuesdays when there are good movies out I really enjoy going to the $5 movies at any AMC theater. As long as you are an AMC member anytime, any movie on a Tuesday its $5! Sign up is free. Don’t say I never did anything for you, Sis!
Crystal: I love a good dance workout class! Vixen workout, Brukwine, Killer Moves, any class that gives me the opportunity to let go, let loose and twerk it out with other badass women. It's empowering! I also have a standing meeting in my phone for weekdays at 6am called “Coffee with Dad”- a time reserved for prayer, praise & worship, or simply talking it out and clearing my mind with God. I find that a lot of times, there’s a significant difference in how I approach my day when I actually wake up for it! Lastly, I go to Renaissance Church in Harlem on Sundays, literally one of my favorite places to be. As far as new restaurants, a girl can always eat lol! Gathering over great good with amazing girlfriends is one of my favorite things to do!
Regardless of whether your work is your passion or your path to the weekend, what is your favorite thing to allocate time to outside of “the office?”
Chanel: Spending time with the people that give me LIFE (my man, my girlfriends, and everything TRIBE). Connection for me is imperative, without it I feel lost and without purpose. My support system and the women that I have come to know and love, wouldn’t be where I am without them. It’s so important to have the right people around you, people who want to see you thrive, who ground you, who want to see you happy and who make you better and vice versa bc it should always be reciprocal. My favorite ways to connect are over happy hour deals and champagne brunches, but I am trying to substitute some of these with workout classes so they serve a dual purpose #getitrightgetittight
Alexis: I am all about experiences in particular with the people I love. Rather it's my Thursday night Sister circle sessions, catching up with my grad school gang, plotting to take over the world with my TRIBE collective, or just about any reason to attend a bottomless brunch. I enjoy the positive people around me that speak life into me, look out for my wellbeing, and push me to be my best self.
Crystal: Community- getting together and catching up with the people I love. I’ve been really blessed with most INCREDIBLE Tribe of women and support system in NYC- to my little sister, to my besties, to TRIBE, to my ride or dies, to my incredible mentors that are selfless with their time! There’s nothing better than great conversation over boozie brunches or endless glasses of wine where we can connect, share, exchange, empower and encourage one another!
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