Alexandria Teaches Us How To Throw Bomb Events, Create Better Friendships & Be Open to Love
From a timid, quietly audacious freshman in college to a woman who knows her worth and is no longer afraid to show it, Alexandria Traylor is the exact woman you want to have in your corner, especially if you’re in the Dallas area.
On any given weekend, you can find her connecting with other likeminded women, throwing events for millennials to gather together, or supporting another friend’s event, with of course a Boomerang from the event for “The Gram.”
When she’s not busy in the city, you can find her helping other women build their empires, strategically, through her website BaesNBombshells.com.
Her ability to curate soirées and engage with others, was one I’ve always been inspired by and I just had to know her secret.
How is she consistently able to connect with some many people – all the time? How does she throw these seamless events? How on earth did she go from being this fearful 18-year old – who I personally knew in college – to this unflinching confident woman?
She pulls back the curtain in this insightful interview and shares all that and more, including the fears she still struggles with as 20-something year old woman in today’s society.
Prior to Baes & Bombshells, you had another blog, The Southern Muse. What personal experiences lead you to say, “You know what, I need to change direction and create Baes & Bombshells?” and tell us a little bit more about what you hope to achieve through Baes & Bombshells.
With my first project, The Southern Muse, I wanted to showcase my styling abilities as well as feature some super dope bargains that I found along the way. This was primarily because I was into DIY-ing at the time and I always received compliments on my outfits or certain pieces of my wardrobe.
The Southern Muse evolved into a place for me to share my thoughts on life and day to day epiphanies with the world. It was created as a place to vent after a bad break up, a place where other women could come read my experiences and say "Oooh, girl me too!" It was a place where they would have the opportunity to read first-hand how I dealt with that issue and leave comments.
After attending multiple events in the Dallas Forth Worth area, I no longer wanted to classify myself as a "Fashion/Lifestyle Blogger.”After hearing numerous unique and inspiring stories of other girl bosses building their empires relentlessly, I was inspired to create Baes & Bombshells.
I wanted to build a platform where women could come learn how to build their empires more efficiently from life lessons that I encountered on my own journey towards growth, constructing the life God destined for me to have.
I knew I didn't want to do anything in the fashion industry, although I still enjoy fashion. I wanted to create a platform that was more focused and intentional than before. I wanted to hone in on what I really liked to do, which is create an open dialogue for women to be inspired to build and bloom, amidst their circumstances.
BAES and BOMBshells is actually an acronym that stands for Building an Empire Strategically while Beautifully Overcoming Mental Barriers. I want to inspire women through short life lessons and tactics that helped me evolve into the woman I am today.
You can build the life you desire, the life that God predestined for you to have – with the cards you have been dealt. The journey will not be easy. Despite difficult things that arise, you can achieve anything that you set your heart on.
What I have realized is that the challenge is not physical, the challenge resides with confronting head on and overcoming what burdens us mentally and emotionally. Once we claim full authority over our minds, our thoughts will be able to govern our actions. Our actions can then manifest into our lifestyles.
I truly believe that it all begins in the mind and with a decision! I’m always so impressed by your ability to create new events in Dallas for your audience. Plus, your events are not just regular events. They include guest speakers and sometimes even giveaways and unlimited food and drinks. What goes into event planning and how do you seem to put together these events so routinely and seamlessly?
Girl! I wish it was seamless! A lot of thought and planning definitely goes on behind the scenes of each and every particular event.
I wanted to host an event to celebrate the launch of Baes and Bombshells, back in November of 2016. At that event, I asked guests to drop topics they wanted more information on and topics they wanted to talk about in general with experts in that particular area.
From these suggestions, I carved out the topics that popped up the most. Some topics focused on side hustles or passion projects while having a full-time job, interview skills and resume building, smart money habits, and, of course, relationships.
I know that I am, by no means, an expert in these topics. From doing a year or so of networking amongst the millennial community in Dallas, I automatically had a few experts in mind. I noticed that Dallas was growing to become a mega-hub for brunches, social gatherings that were masked as networking events, and parties in general. My goal was to provide Dallas with events catered to transparency and actionable takeaways.
When crafting the events, I knew that I wanted to deliver three things.
I wanted to present a valuable experience. The guests would not only get bang for their buck but also access to a valuable network of new people at all stages of business and personal growth. I wanted my guests to tap into the network that was themselves.
I wanted to deliver information that they could use or duplicate on their own after the conclusion of the event. I made sure to have physical or virtual worksheets and an interactive segment between panelists and the guests. I wanted them to be able to maximize their time with panelists.
I wanted those that delivered the gems to be super relatable, growing while manufacturing their own empires. I wanted the majority of my panelists to be millennials, at best.
I give myself about two months to prepare for each event. The first month is solely focused on planning and the second month is focused on marketing and securing a unique and interactive curriculum for the event.
I wouldn't recommend marketing prior to securing the event location. This takes much patience and research, but thankfully has been fairly simple.
The type of venue I looked for depended on the vibe I wanted the audience to feel from the moment they walked in the room. I also created four to six objectives to accomplish based on the questions I received or questions that I possessed myself regarding that particular topic.
The objectives shaped themselves into the panelist questions.
I secured at least four panelists during the planning month based on their field of expertise. I also contacted potential event sponsors during the planning month based on brands that evoked an emotional response within me. I wanted those in the audience to be able to catch a glimpse of the same euphoric feelings I had for the company.
You’re always networking and creating new friendships and relationships with people in your community and industry. You even mentioned how you spent about a year just networking and connecting with others in the DFW area. What advice do you have for people who have a hard time meeting new people and making long-lasting connections?
The simplest piece of advice that I can give is to authentically be yourself. In the beginning years of college, I often second guessed myself and the impact that I could have on another person. I wasn't clear on who or whose I was. I wasn't convinced of my own value to others—or to God for that matter.
I conformed my personality constantly in hopes of meshing well with the group that I was around at the time. By constantly changing who I was, I never truly got to know who I was. I learned that when you suppress your feelings and actions for the approval of others you relinquish to them your power. You begin to live for them subconsciously.
When you live for others you will never be able to fulfill the purpose that God created within you. You live for others instead of the Creator. Don't be like me! Be yourself and those meant to be in your life, the ones who will help augment your purpose, will attract to you naturally. You will become a magnet for all things destined for you.
When meeting new people, I try to find at least two to three things that we have in common, no matter who they are or what they do. I feel like we all have something in common with all types of people, ranging from Mark Zuckerberg to the homeless person at the shelter where I volunteer.
Find these things and capitalize on them. From this point, let these items catapult the conversation naturally into other aspects and areas of life.
A few statements I love to begin with are: “Are you from Dallas?” “You look super familiar. I definitely think I follow or have seen you on social media.” Complement the person on their appearance and relate it to an aspect of their personality. Whatever you say or do, just make sure to keep it genuine. With the rise of social media, you can behave one way for "the gram" and be a completely different person in real life. Baby girl, we can tell. It' s super disappointing to find out that someone isn't all they portray themseleves to be on social media.
Your personality should be consistent everywhere that you travel. It helps to build personal brand credibility and trust with your audience. I am more inclined to connect with someone after I’ve met them at an event if they have made a lasting impression. Remember, your reputation can be built or destroyed in the fifteen seconds that it takes to make a first impression. What will you do with your first fifteen?!
So, let’s switch gears and talk about a topic you mentioned your audience loves: love! What are your thoughts on love, especially as a 20 something year-old go getter like yourself? Do you believe love and success can coincide or do you believe one must come first before the other?
Wow! I don't think that I was ready for this question. I believe that in order to love wholly and unconditionally, the way love was created to be, you first need to have a strong sense of self.
No one can teach you how to love you like you can. No one can love you like you can. You cannot give or receive love in its unaltered way, unless you first come into a strong love of yourself.
This is not a cocky self-centered type love. I am speaking about an unashamed, confident, giving type love. You have to know who you are and why you are that way. You have to know where you are going and why you are heading in that direction.
Love can appear in many forms but you must be uncompromising with the manner in which you, in particular, love. You have to be relentless on what that will look like on an everyday basis in your own life.
For you, love may appear to be not believing what others say about you, receiving support from those who matter most, and taking full responsibility for your mental and physical health.
When people treat you unkind unexpectedly, you must still love them. Love is a choice. Love is a journey and not a destination. I believe that love is something that manifests organically so when it comes it will come, no need to seek for it or attempt to pimp it out. Love is something that I am still working on within myself. I haven't reached where I would like to be. I know I have more ways that I can give and receive love each and every day.
I do believe that love and success can meld together in synergy. The purpose of a relationship is to enhance each other's purpose for God's kingdom, whatever that purpose may be. The two individuals must be on the same path and must commit to a certain standard of understanding.
If I am up late working on my brand and unable to talk until the next day, I would expect my significant other to respect that. I would do the exact same for him. There's nothing wrong with being the cheerleader for your man and also owning your own football team (brand) as well! I would expect there to be an understanding of knowing the proper time to focus on life instead of work. The love would magnify when we both make sacrifices to spend quality time focused on each other, away from our spaces of hustle.
I also believe that success has its own definition for each individual person. My success may be defined as being financially stable while living and functioning to my fullest potential each and every day. Success can be having a stable mindset, with confidence and grace thriving in every single aspect of your life. While success for others may be executing on a certain level and securing a certain position in the workplace.
Once you reach that place of success you must ask yourself if love will be able to augment and continue that success or will love deter and distract you from your equilibrium. The choice is ultimately yours.
With so much pressure from society, relationships and Instagram to be perfect – to have the perfect career, perfect body, perfect love life, etc. – what insecurities have you had to overcome developing into the woman you are today?
I feel that as women, actually, as people for that matter, society teaches us that we will never be enough. You will never be slim enough. You will never be pretty enough. You will never own enough things. You will never have enough money. You will never have enough likes. You will never have enough followers.
One thing I had to ask myself was enough for whom!? Who am I trying to be enough for? The world has enough people who believe that they are not enough. I dare not join that team.
I struggled, and still to this day struggle, with my value as it relates to my purpose. My greatest fear in life is not heights, not that I will be cheated on, nor is it death. My greatest fear is that I will not be valuable, or deemed useful, in the scope of my purpose.
Not to get value confused with worth. In my heart, I know that God says that I am worthy enough to be a member of His kingdom. I am worthy because I am His. But, value is a separate concept. Value relates to usefulness, purposefulness. How can I perfectly be useful, perfectly serve, and, since we are being transparent, perfectly please others that I am destined to impact? I want to leave a legacy behind, something greater than myself, not a mere footprint.
I got over the "am I pretty enough or sexy enough phase" in college. I know that there is someone out there that will love my face to death. Now, I want to be deemed as valuable.
What is coupled with this insecurity is the fear of someone out working me or being smarter or more innovative than I am. What holds me together is knowing that I am unique and different from everyone else.
There is a power in our uniqueness. If we know how to harness this power for our benefit, we will be able to see value in the roles that we currently play every day. When we are faithful and work diligently in the place that we are currently in, what is meant for us will naturally find its way into our lives.
You talk about how you got over the "Am I pretty enough or sexy enough phase?" in college. Thinking back to who you were at 18, if you could go back and tell your younger self 3 things, what would you say?
Don’t Write Others Off
First, I would tell my 18-year-old self to take advantage of each and every opportunity presented to me. I would encourage myself to make the most out of every experience.
In college, I attended Texas Christian University, a private, predominantly white university. I attended the school because their nursing program was super bomb and extremely progressive. I didn't look like many of the people in my program or on my campus for that matter. The campus wasn't as diverse as I would like, boasting only about five percent of African American students in its undergraduate programs.
I was extremely judgmental and unjustly critical of others around me. Out of naivety, I would mentally write off certain people and situations sent my way. I didn't befriend or converse much with people that didn't look like me unless it was necessary for class, group work, or a project.
Looking back, I would encourage myself to press beyond my comfort zone. Find something, anything in common, with people who don't initially seem like the type I could befriend. I would strive to build a true channel for communication. You never know what you can learn from someone, no matter what they look like. You never know why you may have crossed paths. I am sure it is meant for a larger purpose than I could ever conceive.
Don’t Focus on Temporary Things
Secondly, I would tell myself to focus more on what is long lasting. Focus on the long-term goals instead of temporary trends or feelings. I was an extremely distracted 18-year-old. I was focused more on living true to college experience instead of burying my head in my books.
I gave in to drama, boys, and booze almost every week. What would be long-term were the friendships that I fostered, the connections that I cultivated, and the education that I endured.
A lot of my time and energy was spent elsewhere. I should've told myself, "Girl, you have the entire rest of your life for this frivolousness." Focus on what will matter in five to ten years, not on the happenings of today. I would tell myself to foster my personal and spiritual growth on a deeper level. I should have realigned my priorities so that I could fully dive into myself and gain a better understanding of what I am passionate about as well as what motivates me. I feel like the self discovery phase of life could've started much earlier if I was focused on creating a legacy for myself earlier on. Be great boo! No one is stopping you but yourself!
Live in the Present
Lastly, I would tell myself to embrace the moment. I believe we often miss out on cherishing certain instances because we can be too quick to want to look for the next big thing going on.
When living in the present, you come to recognize the power that each moment has. There’s power in knowing that you will never get the second in time back, that you can never relive that moment. Whether the moment is taking a second to smile at a stranger as you pass by or being the first to ask your new coworker to join you for lunch, each little moment matters.
Each small moment can combine into something greater. It is in those split-second moments that the character of a person is built. I would tell myself to put the phone down and pick up a friend's hand for prayer. I would tell myself to lend a listening ear when needed. I would encourage myself to be more emotionally available for others in their moments. I would tell myself to live in the moment because I will never be able to get that moment back.
What is one thing you want people to know about Alexandria today that they may not already know?
I would love for people to know that I am a work in progress. It is okay to not have it all together. It is okay to feel like a pile of poop one day and Beyonce's reflection the next day.
There are times that I am inconsistent. There are times that I find myself in a rut and don't know how to crawl out. There are moments when I should pray but all I find myself doing is complaining.
There is advice that I give that I have trouble following myself. As long as you are faithful to the path that you were assigned, your purpose won't rest until it finds its way to you. I can't say that I fully understand my purpose but I do believe that I was meant to accomplish something great, beyond what I can see at this time. We all are!
My favorite scripture for this season of my life is Habakkuk 1:5 which states, “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told."
I wholeheartedly believe this. No matter what life presents to me on the outside, I can cherish peace on the inside because something great is coming my way! Nothing can get in the way of that.
I have a true place in my heart for ambitious women like myself. We go through things on the inside and cover our scars with foundation because culture has taught us as black women that we have to be strong and fearless.
The truth is that life is hard and feelings suck. Sis, our power is in feeling the emotions and owning them, not running away from them. Issues left unresolved will haunt you. We must use our circumstances, all of them, as a spring board to launch our destiny. We must find strength in telling our story, no matter how small it may seem, no matter how painful it is. My hope is to open the channels for this conversation on Baes and Bombshells. My only request is that you give yourself permission to come build an empire with me!