Today we’d like to introduce you to Kendra Y. Hill.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and upon graduating high school, I moved to Washington, DC to pursue a political science degree at Howard University. My dream was to get an education, gain some hands-on experience in politics and go back home to run for city council. I always knew that I wanted to change my community and help the people in my own backyard. Between undergrad and grad school (ages 18-24), I worked for a handful of amazing organizations: The U.S. House of Representatives, the UNCF (United Negro College Fund), Google and the San Antonio Spurs & Entertainment. Even with all of these experiences, I still felt unfulfilled and I knew it was time for me to work towards my goal of developing my city.
The day that I decided to fill out the paperwork to run for city council, I felt led to start IASA Consulting Group – a brand architecture firm with a focus on getting minority business owners online. Our tag line, “We build better brands” was literally my heart’s desire. I knew that I could directly make an impact in my community by helping people of color tell their stories online via websites and social media.
Three national offices (San Antonio, DC and Sacramento), twenty-three employees, six years, and countless clients later, I was still unfulfilled. Though I had made a difference in the lives of so many people across the nation, it still wasn’t enough to make me happy. I prayed and spent some time trying to decipher my next steps. On a whim, I sold my business to the Chief Operating Officer and started The Modern Disciple which is the umbrella for my freelance creative direction and styling work.
In November 2016, I was having a conversation with two of my friends about my transition. I was already in the legal process of selling IASA and I knew that The Modern Disciple was next but I was afraid. Getting into the fashion industry is a meticulous and tedious journey; people don’t want to help you and opportunities don’t come knocking until you have spent time putting in the work. While on the phone with my friends, one of them said, “I don’t know why, but I keep feeling like January 25th means something for you.” I had no idea what she was talking about. Maybe five minutes later, my other friend said, “You’re going to sign a contract on that date. It’s going to propel you in the fashion industry.”
I didn’t think much about the conversation thereafter, but on January 25, 2017, I inked a contract with JustFab as a stylist and officially launched The Modern Disciple. A year and a half later, I have been afforded all types of opportunities from being published in magazines to styling celebrities for red carpet to building a brand that generates 5-figures every month.
Being in this space has not only fulfilled me, but has given me the opportunity to work on other projects that I am passionate about. I am currently running an international ministry (Kendra Y. Hill Ministries), executive producing a short film, working as the editor-in-chief of Garbed in Modesty Magazine (the first faith-based, fashion-inspired magazine in the world), conducting urban development and planning for the HBCU Museum Hotel Resort, and operating as a management consultant for Spechouse Creative Agency (a full-service creative agency and boutique record label).
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Ha ha. Smooth road? Not at all.
I have had to fall on my face, lose money and friends, experience my share of heartaches and more! Some of the pointed struggles I endured during this journey:
– being diagnosed with stage 2 melanoma and having two surgeries to have it removed
– a failed marital engagement
– losing a ton of people in my circle
– betrayal by two spiritual children that could have ruined my reputation
– having property stolen and damaged
– finding out the truth about my biological father (my assumed father for 30 years was not my actual father – so I discovered)
– and a faith journey like no other!
The hardest struggle in all of this was myself – I struggled so much with doubt and belittling my own self-worth and value. I learned that it doesn’t matter how well other people esteem you; if you can’t esteem and believe in yourself, you won’t make progress.
As far as advice for those starting the journey:
1. Get a prayer life.
2. You WILL fail. It’s okay. Learn from the failures and move into your destiny using that lesson as a tool.
3. Impatience is dangerous; trust God’s timing.
4. Comparison kills so stay in your line.
5. Timing is everything for everything.
6. Get a mentor and glean, glean, glean!
7. Collaborate; don’t compete. There is plenty out here for everybody to eat.
8. Don’t be afraid to change, adapt and start over. Sometimes, your biggest blessings are at the beginning of something new.
9. Self-care. Self-care. Self-care.
10. Give and pour out every opportunity that you have. Allow your cup to run over so you can live off the cup and share from the excess.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Modern Disciple – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I will break this down by going in-depth into two organizations in particular:
[The Modern Disciple – Creative Director + Stylist]
Everything that I am at The Modern Disciple plays a part in how I function in every facet of my work life including the work at Garbed in Modesty Mag. I work as a CD + Stylist in all lanes of styling including fashion, wardrobe, personal and celebrity. Designing layouts, creating editorials, and steering collaborations are at the nucleus of my daily functions.
I am known for sharing pearls of wisdom to anyone who will listen whether it’s via social media, on location at a photoshoot or one-on-one in my Business of Styling School. I’m not afraid to share my wealth of knowledge concerning the fashion industry with those who are just starting or looking to expand. If you were asking a friend or client, they would probably say I most known for my personality and professionalism on set. Models and photographers who work with me literally create projects for me to work on with them just so we can collaborate again. I work hard to create an atmosphere that is fun, fabulous, and fierce.
I am most proud of the way I have been able to kick down doors and create opportunities when there weren’t any available. I’ve been fearless when it comes to this business.
[Spechouse Creative Agency – Management Consultant] (teamspechouse.com)
We are committed to providing artists, management firms and media companies with the highest
quality musical and mixed media products. With a focus on positive and faith-based music, Spechouse strives to discover and develop artists in their entirety – from musical style and sound to branding and exposure.
We are known for our post-production work for artists as well as our consultancy division. As consultants, whether it be for one song, an album rollout or an entire artist campaign, artists and managers alike work with us to expand a brand and execute a vision. We strategize and develop plans that include branding, timelines, graphics, music, media blitzes, ad campaigns, image makeovers and more. We literally take artists to the next level.
As far as personal achievements, I came into the organization in March 2017 and changed the name from Spechouse Media to Spechouse Creative Agency; I rebranded the company acknowledging that they were more than just a record label. The organization has since seen tremendous success including a television show deal in the works, securing of partnerships and new clients, all of which has increased the agency’s image and bottom line.
Who have you been inspired by?
My grandmother, Jeraldine Hill. She died when I was 8 years old but she was the consummate homemaker. My gammy had the ability to make everyone comfortable and to offer words of encouragement seasoned with grace.
Whaazam Supa aka Raynell Steward, the founder of The Crayon Case is a huge business inspiration. She has literally transformed before our eyes. We have had the opportunity to publicly watch her fall and rise all while maintaining a positive disposition, creating opportunities for others, and spreading knowledge with anyone who will watch and listen.
My closest girlfriends, Jonetta M. Davis and Pam Faulkenberry. They are both career women and boy moms who have sacrificed everything personal for the sake and well-being of their sons. I have watched them struggle and succeed in raising black boys who are becoming black men in our current society. There is a courage, strength, and tenacity that is to be admired.
- Website: moderndisciplestyle.com; teamspechouse.com
- Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/iamkendrayhill
- Facebook: facebook.com/kendra.y.hill
- Twitter: twitter.com/iamkendrayhill
Kendra Conley, Kali Rhe