We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Anya Gibson. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Anya below.
Alright, Anya thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Being a business owner can be really hard sometimes. It’s rewarding, but most business owners we’ve spoken sometimes think about what it would have been like to have had a regular job instead. Have you ever wondered that yourself? Maybe you can talk to us about a time when you felt this way?
I think about this question constantly. I thought about this question yesterday when I was editing my upcoming collection’s budget! When I’m working on designs at 4:00 AM, scrambling to check something off of my never-ending task list, or filing taxes every year (ouch, self-employment tax), I tend to pause and think about the stability of a 9-5. To walk into a building and not only know what’s expected of me and how it’s expected of me, but to feel the pleasure of a guaranteed clock out time? Sometimes, that sounds great. As someone who’s had multiple “regular jobs,” they can be exhausting and soul-sucking, but they’re generally pretty stable. Running a business? Anything but.
Despite these thoughts, I cannot describe the joy that I feel as a business owner. Seeing someone wearing one of my pieces genuinely makes my day. Receiving a message from someone who’s just discovered Three of Swords and finally feels represented in the goth/alt space inspires me and fuels me in a way that a “regular job” simply cannot. I am fortunate enough to have the privilege of pursuing my creative dreams, and I am loved in a way that means I am constantly surrounded by supportive family and friends. I recognize these advantages and try not to take them for granted.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Simply put, my name is Anya Gibson and I am the owner of Three of Swords, a goth/alternative clothing brand founded in Atlanta, GA. I’m a former educator who decided to pursue a forgotten career goal from childhood: fashion designer and clothing brand owner. Growing up as a biracial teen fascinated with anything dark and eccentric, I never saw myself represented among the models of my favorite brands. As an adult, I kept coming across the same issue, but now combined with a new one: a lack of everyday goth/alt apparel. I didn’t want to feel as if I had to wear a PVC skirt and leather bandeau top in order to look “goth,” and I definitely wasn’t going to wear an outfit like that to run errands or spend a casual afternoon with my girls. Thus, Three of Swords was born!
How did you build your audience on social media?
I’ve built my audience in two ways: the “typical” way and the “fun” way. The typical way includes posting on various social media platforms, reaching out to bloggers, hiring influencers, and the like. All in all, run-of-the-mill actions that all small brands take when starting out.
The fun way, and the way that I enjoy the most, equates to interacting with my audience as if we’re just a large group of friends hanging out. For example, on Three of Swords’ Instagram story, I often post what I’m listening to, what I’m sketching, my creative inspirations, and my takes on current topics. Last night, I created a poll asking my followers to submit their opinions regarding the gender/ethnicity changes in the new Sandman TV series. As a fan of both the show and the comic, I figured that it would not only be exciting to share my own thoughts, but to read, discuss, and share the thoughts of my audience. As we speak, I’ve received many responses that have led to some amusing, thought-provoking conversations! No one wants to feel like they’re supporting an apathetic, soulless business that lives for profit and profit alone. Bond with your people!
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?
For some absurd reason, I launched Three of Swords with the idea that I would be owning a brick and mortar now. Although most sites, books, and owners state that it takes, on average, 7-10 years for a business to become “successful,” I really thought that I was going to skip all those years. Call it ego or ignorance, but I remember writing my business plan with notes that focused on decorating commercial property! I was actually looking up buildings (including a gorgeous old church) and bookmarking locations when I hadn’t even been in business for two years! Pivoting into reality crushed my spirit for a hot minute, but I quickly got over it. Now, it’s hilarious to think about, and if I wasn’t too embarrassed, I would probably share some of that business plan here.
- Website: https://threeofswordsatl.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/threeofswordsatl/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/threeofswordsatl
- Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@threeofswordsatl https://www.pinterest.com/threeofswordsatl/
Photographers: Madeline Lenahan & Anya Gibson