Next month is Provoke Feeling‘s one year anniversary. The Florida-based women’s clothing and accessory online retailer was founded by artist-designer Jalixa Ramirez, and its self-explanatory mission is achieved by her original and stimulating creations. For example, the logo is a stark black, red, and white image of two women’s mouths – painted lips juxtaposed, as one tongue reaches toward the other.
What’s immediately apparent about Provoke Feeling – aside from the bold fashion and fierce message the brand conveys – is the commitment to branding, and use of social media demonstrated. Ramirez maintains an active Tumblr, Twitter, and blog in order to connect and engage her interested and passionate followers with Provoke Feeling’s core concept: the expression of impression.
And while she takes pride in – and enjoys – her work, like any artist Jalixa’s faith in what she does is constantly questioned. But just like any other artist who’s taken an idea or feeling from conception to manifestation, Ramirez allows her passion to guide her.
After graduating the Art Institute in 2006, Ramirez worked for a variety of companies and freelanced as a graphic designer before she realized that ultimately she needed more “to fill the void in her soul.” She needed to express herself creatively “without any boundaries,” and she had to share this part of herself with the world.
This compulsion to create, express, and share is the energy behind Provoke Feeling.
RN: What was the push, when was the moment you decided to take your art from paper/screen and put it onto clothing?
JR: I was working for a elevator company as their graphic designer and one of my co-workers asked me to design a logo for their softball team jersey’s. At that moment I thought how amazing it would be to transfer some of my own designs on tank tops. I think that was one of the pivotal moments in my life where I felt an overwhelming desire to create something bigger than me.
RN: It seems like there are a lot of people into fashion these days. What do you think sets you apart?
JR: I think my art combined with thought provoking words sets me apart.Yes, There are many painters/artists in this world, there are many fashion designers. I would like to think that all artists start their journey because they want their voice to be heard and then they develop and grow into something they never thought they would be. I think that’s where I am headed… I am becoming the artist I was meant to be. But instead of only using canvas as my medium I use clothes.
RN: What’s the most fun part of being in fashion? Of running Provoke Feeling?
JR: This whole journey on starting a business from scratch and knowing there is so much more I have to learn has been very NEW to me and I think that’s what makes it so exciting.
RN: What’s the most challenging part?
JR: Juggling a full time job while still trying to maintain a healthy mindset and creating the time to continue to build Provoke Feeling has to be the most challenging part but also the most rewarding.
RN: How do you keep yourself motivated?
JR: I laugh[ed] after reading this question… it really comes down to knowing that maybe one day when I am no longer here, my art will be. Yeah, there are many days where I want to give up because life gets in the way, and people leave, and the daily struggle of trying to make ends meet never ends but, who the hell would I be if I did just that? If you want to leave a mark on this world, no matter how small that mark may be, you have to work for it. Of course positive affirmations always help as well. One of them being Napoleon Hill: Think And Grown Rich… I guess it’s the combination of ingredients that can either break you or make you. In the end the choice is always yours and who wants to be a loser in their own eyes?
RN: You’re coming up on one year. Congratulations! How was the first year?
JR: I just let out a big sigh… I had goals I didn’t meet… but I also gained a hell of a lot of experience within the first year. I hear it all the time: “Hows business.. are you selling a lot of merchandise… Is it worth it” All of these questions test my faith on what I am doing but, I am not looking to make a profit within the first three years of my business. I think the first three years of owning a business is the most crucial because every bit of you is tested in some way and that’s where I am at right now. Some people spend their money on partying while others spend their money on vacations… I choose to spend mine on my passion and I know if I keep on running straight for my goals, I will be rewarded at the end. I have big plans for Provoke Feeling and this next year will be bigger and better because I made it this far.