Aniyah Freeman is a wearer of many hats. The 20-year-old is a full-time student, artist, and designer. She is also the brains behind The Zen Studio NYC, an eco-conscious lifestyle boutique that offers organic, biodegradable, handmade, and natural products for the everyday consumer. One percent of every sale made goes toward fighting deforestation.
“I decided to start The Zen Studio NYC last summer during the time of the verdicts of the Black Lives Matter initiative. Finding out that one of the brands that I really looked up to and religiously shopped at didn’t hold the same beliefs that I did on the movement made me feel some type of way as a consumer. Learning that they used prison labor to get most of their profits devastated me,” Aniyah explained. “I was then on a hunt for brands that upheld my values and I couldn’t find that for myself.”
“I then realized that I had two choices: I keep giving brands who don’t appreciate me my money, or I step up and create the brand that I wanted to see, so that’s what I did.”
The Zen Studio NYC offers a plethora of quality products that are both ethically manufactured and sustainable. From health and beauty products to fashion accessories and home décor, shoppers can practically find it all.
They get their products from dropshipping companies. This is a streamlined form of retail business where a store accepts orders from customers but does not keep the goods sold in stock.
“I learned about the drop shipping method through Kylie Jenner,” Aniyah said. “I then talked to my professors about it, and found manufacturers that had the best products available.”
Despite the many products The Zen Studio NYC offers, Aniyah still has her favorites.
“I am most passionate about the reusable tote we sell,” she said. “Even before states commissioned their anti-plastic bans, I was shopping with reusable totes. I have so many different ones. I also love the idea of bringing my own straws with me to restaurants, especially now during COVID-19. These are items that I used even before launching the shop. I love products that make everyday life more sustainable.”
The Zen Studio NYC’s ideal customer is somebody who is looking to shop at a conscious company.
“If you’re equally as concerned about what the product is made of and what it looks like, then you would love The Zen Studio NYC,” Aniyah said.
Aniyah’s shop is changing the world for the better by offering sustainable goods to the everyday consumer.
“I really educated myself about issues like what plastic does to the ocean and how the meat industry is so polluted,” Aniyah explained. “When I learned about it, it was like an alarm went off in my head saying, ‘No, you have to do something!’ I also learned about environmental racism, which prompted me to start this business. I also recently took a course on sustainability and fashion and that taught me that you can also be more sustainable as a business, not just as a person.”
“A lot of people think that they cannot afford sustainable brands, so we offer quality items at affordable prices to bring sustainability into the lives of everyone. Everyone deserves to afford sustainability and have it as a choice,” Aniyah said.
“Everyone deserves to afford sustainability and have it as a choice.”
Even though launching any type of business can be challenging, Aniyah believes that it can be done.
“My advice to other women who’d like to launch a business is to have perseverance. I’ll be honest, it gets hard at times. People will tell you things that you can’t do but having your own goals and not letting anybody tell you no are both so critical. Be prepared for the hard work. What helps me in accomplishing my goals is having a goal list and goal tracker that I look at every day. Noticing all of your accomplishments pushes you to keep going.”
Outside of work, Aniyah enjoys making art.
“I love to create. Painting, designing, sketching. If it has color, I’m all in,” she said.
Aniyah and The Zen Studio NYC are true testaments to the power of women and how we can change the world for the better.
“If I could say one thing, it’s that women are so powerful. We can do anything that we set our mind to.”
For more information, visit The Zen Studio NYC today.
What are your thoughts on sustainability? How has learning about Aniyah’s story and commitment to The Zen Studio empowered you? Let us know in the comments!
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