Shaquoya Jackson-Ishman is the owner of ShaLaJá Swimwear located in the Atlanta area. The Shalaja Swimwear Brand is designed to accommodate women of all shapes, styles and sizes from the curvy/full figure woman to the petite and tom boy. A Communications major she is radio personality on the The Live City Show with Hot Noize Radio.
Tell readers about the radio show you’re on and how long have you been one of the hosts?
I’ve been on The Live City Show with Hot Noize Radio going on two months now. I went to school for communications in TV/Radio and am finally getting the opportunity to work in my field as well as be a swimwear designer. Hot Noize Radio station is relatively new. Only been around a few months now and has already grown so big with the amount of shows we have (over 30 shows), different avenues of things we have to offer to everyone (magazine, Roku station, app, live tapings in addition to live remotes and all social media outlets, etc). The Live City Show is all about informing people on the latest hip hop and world news, entertainment, relationship talk etc. It’s really an all-around platform. We go from serious topics with Motivational Monday, to entertainment news and funny jokes, to Fashion Fridays and everything in between.
What’s your favorite thing about being on the radio?
My favorite thing about being on the radio is being able to express myself to the public and have a platform to be heard on that I normally would not have. Especially on Motivational Monday’s. I’m not a blogger or influencer or anything purposely, but it’s cool to essentially become that by being watched daily. Having people see that in me and want to hear what I have to say about things going on in the world.
When did you open your ShaLaJa Swimwear and what inspired you to start your own business?
I started working on the idea of ShaLaJá Swimwear in 2011. I started making my first samples towards the end of that year. I started out as a model and end up being a designer. I showcased in a lot of fashion shows when my samples were first produced then got a website at the end of 2013. I was inspired to run my own business after graduating from college and working a lot of jobs that I felt I could do something bigger than (beauty jobs and restaurant jobs). I felt “this is not what I went to college for” so I was inspired to run my own business of some sort. I prayed a lot about it for months for the Lord to show me what I was really put here on earth to do! I’ve always known how to sketch, and one day I was designing a logo for a friend. I got bored and ended up with two full pages of swimsuits. I thought they were pretty dope, something different. So I decided to run with it. I googled how to start a business and found a manufacturer to mass produce my pieces and the rest is history!
What current items are your best sellers?
My high waist pieces are my best sellers I think. A lot of women love to be naked, but also a lot of women want to cover up the stomach area. So no particular high waist piece, but just the high waist in general.
What do you feel separates your swimsuits from others?
My swimsuits are all about being sexy and sophisticated. They are not the typical bikini nor are they really revealing styles, but more so actual clothing styles. Most pieces can easily be worn as bodysuits. My designs are inspired by art and fashion, so they are more abstract and detailed with a lot of sophistication.
How often do you model and what advice would you give for inspiring models?
I model for myself more than anything so I’ll step in place sometimes when I have promo campaigns. I more so hire other models to work though because I like giving people opportunities to do things and expand in their career. My advice to aspiring models would be to follow your dreams no matter what. Every designer or photographer may not like your look, but there is always someone out there willing to work with you and help you build your portfolio as a model. Don’t be afraid to step out on faith and try to reach out to big people to do big things. You may get a million no’s, but all it takes is one yes. Continually work on your craft and build your portfolio with different looks to show your versatility. Keep it classy and consistent and eventually you will get noticed.
Where would you like to see yourself at in the next five years?
In the next five years I’d love to see myself owning a nice store and possibly even have opened up in other locations.
Is there anything you would like people to know about you?
I love traveling and meeting new people. I am fun, carefree and easy to work with. I am happily expecting my first child in a few months and may come out with a children’s line soon.
If you could only choose one job to do out of radio, running a business and being a model which would you choose and why.
If I could choose only one job out of radio, running a business or being a model, I would choose running a business because I like the creative side in my business and being my own boss.
Please let everyone know how you can be reached (twitter, IG, FB, websites, etc)?
You can reach my swimwear brand on all social media handles at: @shalajaswear
Follow my personal business page at: @shaquoya_jackson_ishman