Building a brand on your own terms is an uphill battle for anybody, but especially so for young creatives of color. They must fight against industry-wide stigmas and stereotypes, while carving out profitable opportunities in their fields.
"It can be very lonely," Uzumaki Cepeda told PAPER. "If you don't see yourself in the majority of marketing or branding, then you feel like there's no clear path to pushing your work."
Spencer Davis, an entrepreneur and business coach for creatives of color, agrees. "They're not having enough conversations with people who look like them, especially online," he explained. "When you lack that, you get a lot of isolation."
This is why platforms like Squarespace are so important. Not only do they provide creatives with the tools to build professional-grade websites and online stores, but they also create a space where these young entrepreneurs can come together and share their stories.
"Making Space," a new series from Squarespace and PAPER, celebrates the work of early-career creatives of color who are pushing boundaries in their respective fields. From photographers and videographers to stylists and designers, these individuals are building brands that reflect their unique perspectives and experiences.
"You don't have to take a traditional job — you don't have to be a doctor, lawyer, or anything of that nature in order to succeed," photographer and videographer Scrill Davis told PAPER. "I'm living proof."
With the help of Squarespace, Davis has been able to produce work for everyone from Flo Milli to Lauryn Hill and Cardi B. Last year, he even shot and directed the music video for "Bodak Yellow."Jezz Chung, a stylist and creative consultant, has also found success with the help of Squarespace. Her work has been featured in magazines like Vogue, W, and Harper's Bazaar, and she's currently the head of styling at KISS Army, a multimedia platform where creatives promote and sell their own original products.