EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:

WHO IS IMANI BAYLOR?

POSTED JULY 29TH, 2017 | BY MICHAELA P. SHELTON

Imani Baylor, 25, is a young entrepreneur and fashionista from Southern California. Since graduating from Cal State Eastbay in 2015, Imani has shown no signs of slowing down. Through her two businesses Eccentric Vibes and The I.M.A.N.I. Project, Imani has been working hard and making her dreams come true. Despite her busy schedule, Imani made time for an exclusive interview with CSUITEMUSIC:

TELL US ABOUT THE I.M.A.N.I PROJECT.

 

The I.M.A.N.I. Project stands for inspiring, mentoring and nurturing individuals, thanks to my mom for coming up with the name. It's pretty much an extension of the work I've done in after school programs: teaching enrichment, homework, health and fitness. For the I.M.A.N.I. project I added culture, community and intervention which a lot of schools don’t provide. Most programs will be straight up academic and I feel like we need a little fun so I took bits and pieces from schools I've  worked at and decided to attack the situation. I just started the program last year and I was able to get three projects even though I was only trying to get one ayyy. 

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH ECCENTRIC VIBES?

Eccentric vibes got started because I wanted to have items that I can sell expressing the way I look. I created this line, because people constantly ask me where'd you get that and how did you put that together. I've always tried to dress a little different. In high school I got teased for the way I dressed, but when I moved to the Bay Area I was accepted. I like to teach through my clothing and educate by putting symbols from African history on my pieces to pay homage to Black History, which is American history which people seem to forget. I use all the proceeds for the I.M.A.N.I Project. 

 

WHAT PROJECTS/ EVENTS DO YOU HAVE COMING UP?

I love that you asked that! Tonight I have my first vending opportunity, which is tabling at a 90's party in Oakland. Tomorrow I will be a vendor at the So Oakland 2nd anniversary party in West Oakland. It's going to be a big ass party so I'm excited to reach a different audience. Next weekend I'm going to be a vendor at 1st Friday and I am excited, because I told myself 2 years ago I'd be a vendor there one day and now I am. 

 

WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL CAREER GOALS? OR DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW YOU'D BE DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING?

 

So my initial career goal was to be a psychologist. People always opened up to me and I'm non judgmental, so I felt like that’s a career I should go into. My dad has been a probation officer for 30 years so his stories made me interested in helping youth.

 

For fashion I just always tried different things. I got a lot of style from my mom who's sassy and petite. The world is so into big butts and small waists so I tried to embody dressing cute and being sexy petite. Plus the prices and stuff in the stores are so expensive, so I do my own shit, make my own shit and swag out while I do it.

 

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY FOR IMANI?

A typical day involves waking up early for some job... I'm either at a school, summer camp or doing different contacts. I could be at a high school, middle school or elementary school all in one day. When I get home, I just like to chill, watch TV and get lost in somebody's life, because dealing with kids you get a whole lot of different personalities. 

HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED?

 

My family is 8 hrs away, but they keep me motivated and help me stay grounded. I am doing all this for my mom. I want her to work for me do my books, my money and be my creative director since she basically is that already. My mom, my sister and my nephew inspire me but also my dad who is my roll dog. I am in this work because of him so he helps motivates me. 

WHAT'S THE BEST THING THAT'S HAPPENED TO YOU IN 2017?

 

I would say the job I have at the Juvenile Justice Center at Camp Sweeney. I am the youngest servant leader intern making stuff happen. For me not to know the boys or camp for that long they love me.  I have a way with boys and they respect me. Getting my foot in the justice system which is the same thing my dad does, was the best thing. Meeting all these people, making all these connections, woah I'm getting up in there.

 

WHERE DO YOU HOPE TO BE IN THE NEXT 5 YEARS?

 

In five years I need a house, that's my focus. I live in an apt. and it's terrible, I live on top of a bar so that's #1. #2 I see myself being a sub or credential teacher. I see the I.M.A.N.I. project going further and establishing a re-entry program. Yeah just seeing my fam flourish, traveling more, spending more time with them and getting benefits because I need them.

 

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR MILLENIALS TRYING TO MAKE IT?

 

Think outside the box whatever your passion is. When you see people doing stuff add your spin to it. I think that’s what makes dope businesses. Oh and sleep dude!  People think all work no play, you need to sleep, rest is so important and down time in general. Shit take two mins out your day and slowly breathe and your day will be so much better.

To learn more about Imani Baylor, buy some of her products or utilize her services, check out her websites:

Eccentric Vibes Blog

Eccentric Vibes Fashion

I.M.A.N.I. Project 

Michaela P. Shelton is Managing Editor of CSUITEMUSIC.com

Read more from Michaela at Darealmichaela1.com

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