Alyssa Kuchta, Founder of eff.Y.bee

Amazing Perspective in conversation with Alyssa on the power of vision and building a business from scratch

 

Alyssa Kuchta is the fiercely creative and independent 20-something woman behind eff.Y.bee, the boho chic lifestyle jewelry brand based in New York City. Alyssa founded eff.Y.bee back in 2011 during her senior year of college at the University of Delaware and has consistently grew the brand since.

 

Her only option after graduating college: to work for herself, building the eff.Y.bee brand. Since launching eff.Y.bee, she and her brand ambassador community have contributed portions of sales to nonprofit organizations. She and eff.Y.bee have been featured in and on numerous publications such as Huffington Post, I Am That Girl, Betches Love This, Seventeen and NYLON Magazines. She recently secured her first partnership with major retailer South Moon Under. She’s mentored countless college girls across the U.S. Her brand embodies mentoring, giving back, and encouraging young women and girls to discover who they are and harness the power of vision.

 

She sat down with storyology. to talk about her journey of self-discovery and finding her passion, letting go of insecurities and embracing herself, and becoming the confident woman she is today. She details how she built her company from her bedroom floor and the first thing you need to do if you want to build something you love.

 

Her story is moving and inspiring, placing life’s most important question directly in your face: Who am I?

 

 

 

AP: What is eff.Y.bee?

 

Alyssa: eff.Y.bee is a lifestyle jewelry brand based in New York City. Our mission is to empower and inspire young girls to find their passions. We do so through our brand ambassador program at universities across the country where our girls gain hands-on experience in leadership, marketing, sales, branding, and social media. They really have a chance to explore their passions and build their resumes in an authentic and creative way, while also building their confidence and building friendships.

 

AP: What does eff.Y.bee mean?

 

Alyssa: The name eff.Y.bee is a creative acronym. It stands for “follow your bliss.” It was me and my best friend’s favorite quote growing up and it was our advice for everything. It’s about your intuition, trusting what you feel is right, and listening to your gut, because you always know what’s right and what’s best for you. I think it’s a matter of listening to that voice and trusting yourself more often, and having the confidence to know that you know what is right for you.

 


“You always know what’s right and what’s best for you.
It’s a matter of listening to that voice and trusting yourself more often, and having the confidence to know that you know what is right for you.”

 

eff.Y.bee jewelry

 

AP: What has been the most exciting and most rewarding part of your journey so far?

 

Alyssa: Gosh, it’s been such an incredible journey so far. I would have to say, the people I’ve met. I’ve met some amazing women, both on my brand ambassador team, women I’ve collaborated with, customers… It’s just so rewarding and fulfilling to have that positive network.

 


“The core of who we are is the magic in our team, having this network of inspired, empowered girls.”

 

I have an amazing network of college women we’ve hired to grow the brand on college campuses, and the girls have really become the heart and soul of the brand. We are a lifestyle jewelry brand, but the real mission and the core of who we are is the magic in our team, having this network of inspired, empowered girls.

 

My whole vision for this is to have something where the girls can build their resumes in a really unique and hands-on creative way that would give them experience and mentorship they couldn’t get in a classroom.

 

I started this company on my bedroom floor and I had no idea it would turn into what it has. I was a psychology major and going into fashion and starting this business… I did it all from the ground up, and trying to figure it out on my own was really hard.

 

I think having a platform to provide the lessons and the knowledge I’ve learned, and one that allows women to explore their passions and leadership skills is the most rewarding thing … to be able to have this opportunity to pass on to other girls, and to inspire them.

 

And to hear the positive feedback – I’ve had girls tell me that working with eff.Y.bee really built their confidence, that they’ve learned so much about themselves, and they’ve figured out what they’re passionate about it. That to me, that is so special. It’s what keeps me going. When I hear them talk about how they love the brand and how much they’ve grown and learned from it, that’s really the magic in eff.Y.bee and it’s just really been incredibly rewarding.

 


“I started this company on my bedroom floor and I had no idea it would turn into what it has … it’s just really been incredibly rewarding.”

 

Alyssa Kuchta eff.Y.bee

 

AP: What has been the most challenging part of your journey?

 

Alyssa: I think, not to get too overwhelmed. Because there’s so much that always has to get done, and so many things I didn’t know that I had to force myself to learn, whether it’s the numbers, or understanding the financials of the company.

 

I think having the confidence too. It’s really hard. There are days when you feel like you compare yourself to other companies or other brands, and you feel so far behind, and you feel you’re not good enough. For me it’s been a journey of finding myself and becoming more confident in who I am.

 

You have to believe in yourself in order for others to believe in you. It’s been really challenging at times to not compare, and to just be happy with where I am, and to celebrate the little milestones. It’s definitely been a learning experience – learning not to take rejection if things don’t work out. Picking up the pieces when something falls apart or I make a mistake. I think it’s learning from your mistakes and knowing how to keep going and stay motivated.

 


“You have to believe in yourself in order for others to believe in you.”

 

AP: Okay, so how do you keep going? How do you stay motivated? Do you have a ritual for obtaining the things you want in life?

 

Alyssa: Omigosh, yes (laughs)! My biggest ritual is my gratitude and my vision board. That to me, I can’t even explain. I first learned about the law of attraction in The Secret when I was in high school. My mom introduced me to it. Her friend told her about the documentary. I watched it, and for me, especially that point in time when, you know, high school is the roughest period for a girl with self-esteem issues, the low confidence, feeling overwhelmed, feeling like you don’t know what you want.

 

But learning about the secret and that we do have this power, the power to attract the life we want if we believe in ourselves. The first step is knowing what you want. Finding your passion I think is the most difficult part of the journey in life…knowing what you want to do. Even some of the people I know, my friends have said they don’t know what it is that they want. And it’s hard to work toward something when you’re lost.

 


“We have the power to attract the life we want if we believe in ourselves.”

 

So for me, my ritual – and I do this almost daily, weekly, anytime I get a chance to sit and meditate – I make a list of all the things I want and that I’m working toward, alongside the things I have and that I’m grateful for, whether it’s my friends, family, business milestones, things that I have financially, being in New York City. Sometimes you have to take a step back, and really look at the big picture, and just appreciate how far you’ve come and be your own cheerleader.

 

In a way that’s visual. In a way that evokes emotion. Because when you look at pictures of things you want, it’s much more powerful than just reading words. I make a Google PowerPoint and I put images together of things I’m working toward. I’ve just had amazing experiences where my vision board came into fruition, and that was proof to me: if I believe in myself, and I believe in these things, they will happen.

 


“Sometimes you have to take a step back, and really look at the big picture, and just appreciate how far you’ve come and be your own cheerleader.”

 

Alyssa Kuchta eff.Y.bee

 

AP: What advice do you give friends who come to you and say, “I don’t know what my vision is. I don’t know what I want to do.” What advice do you give them? How should they start?

 

Alyssa: So I always tell them to take a step back. I think a lot of times we’re so caught up in the day-to-day that we don’t give ourselves enough self-love or time to really nurture our minds.

 

You know we’re so caught up with work, go, go, go, and working out and being busy on weekends, especially in Manhattan where there’s so much to do. We’re always in the social scene and we’re pushing ourselves. I think it’s really important to take a step back and do some soul searching. It doesn’t have to be booking a trip to Thailand. It can be something as simple as sitting in quiet. Just piece and quiet, and thinking, “What is bothering me?”, “What are the areas that I want to fix?”, and “What do I like?”

 

When I first started out with my vision board exercises back in the day, I would make lists of everything I liked: I like the color purple, I like puppies, I like jewelry, I’m really passionate about women and girl power community. I would just list out everything, from the simple things to my favorite color, to big picture things, to I am an extrovert, I want to be talking to people, I don’t see myself in a cubicle.

 


“‘Who am I?’ Can you answer that? How do you define yourself?”

 

I think we’re too focused sometimes on the big things: like what’s my grandiose passion versus who am I as a person and what do I like. And I think that’s the first place to start, to really map out “who am I?” Can you answer that? How do you define yourself? That’s a really good starting point in figuring out what you do want, and also knowing what you don’t want is a good way to at least figure out halfway what you do want.

 


“I think we’re too focused sometimes on the big things: like what’s my grandiose passion versus who am I as a person and what do I like.”

 

eff.Y.bee jewelry

 

AP: What’s the biggest lesson your mother taught you?

 

Alyssa: Oh my gosh. My mom is a 5 foot 2 fireball. I mean she is such an inspiration to me. My mom was actually an immigrant from China. She came to this country when she was 35. She didn’t know a word of English, and she just started from scratch with her career. She was a doctor in China and when she came to the United States, her degree meant nothing.

 

So she really had to go from the bottom of the barrel and all the way up. She couldn’t afford to go to American medical school, so she kind of really had to start from the bottom, going through night school. She was working as a part-time nurse and taking care of me. It was really hard, my childhood. But she really served as an example of working hard and saving every dollar.

 

We had a very modest childhood growing up and she really worked her way up and saved every penny to provide a better life for me. When my parents got divorced, my mom really became this role model, this independent, single mother, role model, showing me that coming from nothing and slowly working your way is possible… Saving and being able to put me through college on her own is such an inspiration. She’s very fierce and very independent.

 


“Before you can be in a relationship with someone else. Before you can have friends, you need to be a complete person.”

 

She always taught me to be financially stable on my own, to love myself, and to be a whole person on your own. Before you can be in a relationship with someone else. Before you can have friends, you need to be a complete person. And really just never give up. No matter how hard things get. I think that was the biggest lesson.

 

There was even a point in time where we were so poor that she would buy vegetables that were slightly brown from the grocery store. She always tells me that. She’s like “I had a small budget, but I had to feed our entire family for the week, and I would go to this grocery store, and I would try to buy the slightly old vegetables, because it was like half the price.”

 

And we used to go to yard sales at times to buy toys. I have memories of carrying this toy chest with my mom. I think I was five years old, and I was like, “Mom, I really want this!” And I didn’t know any better at the time. But we carried this toy chest together, down the street and into our house. We lived in an apartment at the time.

 

But to go from that and seeing how my mom has financially been able to save and create this amazing life. I mean, she put me through college on her own, paid for everything, bought me my first car, been supportive in helping me move to Manhattan, and now we go on trips.

 

Our lifestyle has definitely changed dramatically in the past few years. But it was all because my mom worked hard and never gave up. You know, there were times when it was really hard: juggling night school, working, and taking care of a little baby. My father had his own issues and wasn’t as supportive, so she really had to do it on her own. There were nights when she wanted to give up and she would cry, and she would look at me and say, “No, I need to do this to create a better life for my daughter.” And I think having that strong role model has been so amazing in my life (tears), because she has always believed in me and I attribute all of my best qualities to her.

 

AP: We all have these defining moments in our lives. What would you say is a defining moment in your life? The thing that’s shaped you?

 

Alyssa: I think everything really came together when I took that time to soul search in college. I took a step back. I was feeling really overwhelmed. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was a psych major on the path to grad school, and then I realized it wasn’t really my passion. That’s when I got involved with a few things on campus. I got involved with Students for Haiti, which is a nonprofit that was just starting out on campus.

 

I went to an interest meeting, and was like, “This sounds amazing. I really want to do something that’s very soul-fulfilling”, and I got involved. That was one of the first breakthroughs I had in finding something I was passionate about that was bigger than myself, being around these positive, amazing people.

 

We went to Haiti together on a relief trip during my senior spring break, and it was such a rewarding and life-changing trip. We had just gone down a year after the earthquake happened. And just to be able to give back. That’s what really what kind of struck a fire in me, to want to do something that would be bigger than myself. Getting involved with Students for Haiti was really the initial inspiration for starting my whole brand. Because initially, I wanted to start a bracelet line that would give back, and it all started with that one concept of a fundraiser, and developed from there.

 

But I would say my first breakthrough moment in figuring out who I was, was joining Students for Haiti, and finding something I was so passionate about that it made me realize what matters most in life. These petty things that we care about don’t matter when there are people out there who are struggling for healthcare and just access to water. It really grounds you and brings you back to earth, and makes you realize, “You know, what I’m upset about is so petty in the bigger picture.”

 


“I would say my first breakthrough moment in figuring out who I was, was joining Students for Haiti, and finding something I was so passionate about that it made me realize what matters most in life.”

 

Then when I started my company, another breakthrough I had was my first trunk show. My very first trunk show the founder of TOMS Shoes had just released his first book and he was giving a campus tour. My friend was the TOMS Shoes ambassador at Delaware and was organizing an event for them, and she was like, “If you want to have a table, you can come and do a trunk show here, I’d love to support you.”

 

So I was like, “Sure, why not.” My very first trunk show ever on campus…I didn’t even have a table cloth on the table. I look back at those photos, I had a little tiny silk scarf that I laid down. I put chocolate out. I had a cork board with thumb tacks, and I had my jewelry hanging from there. I look back and I’m like God bless everyone who bought something because those first pieces were very questionable (laughs).

 

But my first trunk show ever, I made almost $800, and as a college student that was a lot of money. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “Oh my gosh.” And just that feeling… I’ll never forget the customers I had, my friends crowding the table, girls trying on pieces and complimenting each other: “Oh, that looks so pretty on you. I love it!” Just the positivity, it was like a force field. It was like butterflies I had never felt before. Like way more extreme than falling in love. It was like a different kind of happiness. That was the moment I really felt like this could be something. This is not just a hobby.

 

That was my second breakthrough that really built my confidence into realizing, this is who I am. I think this is what I’m meant to do. I was fortunate to figure that out early on in life, but it built my confidence and made me a better person.

 

Alyssa Kuchta eff.Y.bee

 

AP: Would you say that’s the shift that happened for you? Because you said you had anxiety in high school.

 

Alyssa: Yes, so I think for a lot of young girls, middle school and high school is such a hard time. I’m biracial – I’m half Chinese and half Polish. My middle school wasn’t very diverse and I dealt with some bullying. I was very thin, and I didn’t develop until later in life. So I always felt self-conscious. I was a cheerleader. I had really skinny legs and people would make fun of me.

 

So I dealt with some self-esteem issues that kind of carried on into high school. I think a big part of that was not really knowing who I was, or being confident, or having a passion that made me realize those little things are just so petty. This is another reason why I’m so passionate about my brand ambassador program, having the mentorship because I didn’t have a sister figure. I had my mom, and of course your mom is always going to tell you, “You’re so beautiful. You’re perfect.”

 

But, if I had, had a big sister role model to be there for me and guide me through high school, I feel like I would have been a different person. I think it’s such a pivotal point in time when we’re our most vulnerable. When you’re a young girl you’re going through puberty, your skin’s changing, you’re breaking out. Maybe you’re developed or you’re not developed.

 

For me it resulted in a lot of anxiety, not being happy with who I was or what I looked like. It wasn’t until college when I realized, “Okay I’m happy with who I am. I am beautiful.” I learned to love myself in college. But high school and middle school were a hard period of time, and bullying didn’t make it easier, just feeling like an outcast because I was mixed. There weren’t any other girls who were mixed, and not feeling like I fit in on either side was hard.

 

AP: But what did you do in college? Is there something that happened for you to say: “You know what…I do love myself”, or was it JUST eff.Y.bee that sparked that confidence in yourself?

 

Alyssa: I think a couple of things: joining a sorority was really helpful because it introduced me to all these amazing girls. Some of my best friends are girls I met in my sorority, and that’s inspired me wanting to have this girl power community – of girls that are supportive and nice to each other, and who really care about each other.

 

I don’t want to generalize … everyone’s different and every group is different, but I was fortunate to really meet some amazing girls through my sorority and I think that was step one in finding my friend group, feeling more confident in who I was, and also, seeing more diversity in my college. I wasn’t the only half Asian girl; there were a few half Asian girls. And just being able to relate to girls, and not feel like an outsider. It helped me find myself and find my confidence.

 

I think also getting involved with Students for Haiti, starting my business, and having all the positive feedback. People telling me they believed in me, supporting customers, people I hadn’t even talked to that were so supportive. It was just amazing how it brought out this positivity in people who’d come in contact with eff.Y.bee. That built my confidence in a lot of ways, and I think it helped me find myself.

 

I used to be (I still am) kind of shy. I’m an introverted extrovert (laughs), but I think the business has definitely made me come out of my shell, learn who I am, and really conquer a lot of my demons in terms of my fear of talking to people or feeling less than confident. I think it’s brought me out and helped me blossom in a lot of ways, and become a better person.

 

AP: What are 3 beliefs you live by?

 

Alyssa: My first one is gratitude. I just really believe in the power of gratitude and being grateful for who you are and what you have because you cannot introduce abundance into your life if you’re not appreciative of how much you already have. So I start every day with things that I’m grateful for – I think that is such a powerful mantra to live by.

 

Second, focus on myself in terms of independence. My mom always taught me to be independent financially, and to have something of my own that I care about. So I live my life focused on how I can be a better person, because if you focus on yourself you can be a better friend, a better girlfriend, a better daughter, a better sister to others if you’re happy. It’s really hard to be that if you’re unhappy with yourself. So I try to focus on self-love, my passions, and things that would make me a better person.

 

And my third belief, cultivating kindness. Being a good person. A compliment goes a long way and treating others how you want to be treated is so important. One of my favorite quotes is: “Confidence is silent. Insecurity is loud.” I love that quote, because I think the people who are vicious and mean are jealous and have the most issues to work through.

 

Learning to just be nice to others and surrounding yourself with good people is important, especially as you get older. You realize it’s quality over quantity. I’d rather have genuine good people in my life than have a ton of people who are superficial or fake. I also think learning to be my most genuine self with others, because what you put out there, you attract back.

 


“…if you focus on yourself you can be a better friend, a better girlfriend, a better daughter, a better sister to others if you’re happy. It’s really hard to be that if you’re unhappy with yourself. So I try to focus on self-love, my passions, and things that would make me a better person.”

 

AP: How important is perspective in our lives?

 

Alyssa: Perspective is everything. “Happiness is a choice” – I’ve always loved that quote. I think it’s the way you perceive something. It could be a life lesson to be learned, like if something awful happens. You could look at it as “poor me” and let it crumble you. Or, you can take it and use it to help you rise and make you stronger.

 


“Perspective is everything.”

 

I believe everything happens for a reason. It’s the way you look at things. You can look at it as: this is the end, or you can say, “You know what this ended for a reason. Something better is coming along.” Learning to shift your perspective and seeing the glass as half full makes your life so much better, and makes you a happier person when you choose to see things from a better way.

 


“I think everything happens for a reason – I really believe that. It’s the way you look at things. You can look at it as: this is the end, or you can say, ‘You know what this ended for a reason. Something better is coming along.’ Learning to shift your perspective and seeing the glass as half full makes your life so much better, and makes you a happier person when you choose to see things from a better way.”

 

 

 

AP: What advice would you give your younger self?

 

Alyssa: Just be confident. But there are so many things. I have a 9-year-old sister who is the love of my life. I look at her, and I’m like, “Oh Hannah, there’s so much I want to teach you. I want to just take my brain and teach you everything I know…” because if I can go back in time…gosh there are so many things I wish someone had told me.

 


“You are beautiful. You are enough. Really, you are enough. Have confidence. Love yourself.”

 

Like, you are beautiful. You are enough. Really, you are enough. Have confidence. Love yourself. Knowing that alone – the self-love portion – would have been so powerful if I would have felt that way when I was younger and looked in the mirror and loved what I saw. That was a huge thing for me.

 

And also, don’t give up so easily. I would try things and if I didn’t like them or they didn’t work, I would quit. I would tell my younger self to stick with it. Don’t be intimidated. There’s something to be said for sticking through something, working through the challenges, and not giving up so easily.

 


“Don’t give up so easily … There’s something to be said for sticking through something, working through the challenges, and not giving up so easily.”

 

AP: Your mother sounds like an amazing woman and you’re such an amazing woman! Outside of the bullying, I find it so hard to believe you had a hard time loving who you are because you’re such a beautiful person. Sitting here with you is such a breath of fresh air. It reminds me of the day we met – you have a beautiful spirit. It’s so hard to believe you didn’t love who you were or that you weren’t confident in who you were. Was bullying the only thing that made you feel that way?

 

Alyssa: Well there were a few things. My parents got divorced when I was 10. My dad wasn’t around as much, and I think that definitely affected me – not having a strong male figure. I mean, I have a wonderful stepfather who’s been my dad since then, but when I look back I think it did affect me in a lot of ways. To this day it’s still a hard topic. Father’s Day is coming up and for me Father’s Day is a really hard holiday.

 

I avoid social media on Father’s Day – just because it kind of upsets me. My father has Bipolar disorder and I learned this later, because he wasn’t diagnosed until much later. But I had known about his disorder early on, it may have been easier to understand why he wasn’t around.

 

But I think that was a big part of it, because I was a daddy’s girl and then he just kind of went MIA. That was really hard. So it was a mixture of that, along with not the being accepted. I look back and I’m like, “What the heck?!” Kids can just be really mean, and I don’t know…I think it’s learned from their parents. It starts from parenting.

 

I hate to say it, but I feel like it’s something that no one’s born with, their perspectives. I think it’s their parents, what they hear and what they repeat, comes from their parents. I didn’t accept being who I was – I didn’t accept being mixed. I feel I got made fun of for being Asian, and being skinny, and not having developed. It’s crazy what kids say.

 

I think those other girls were probably insecure with themselves, but it really affected me and made me see myself in a way where I never felt like I was enough. Self-love and becoming confident is a journey. It’s not something you’re necessarily born with, it’s learned and I think it comes with experience. It comes with being surrounded by people who are positive and uplifting.

 

That’s why I believe in mentorship so much. Our whole mission with the eff.Y.bee brand ambassador program is to be that big sister figure, community, and positivity for young girls – telling them, “This is what I wish I knew…”

 

Even in college. I’m not that much older, but I’ve learned a lot. I tell them be confident, stand up for yourself, and don’t settle. For instance, if a relationship isn’t working out, don’t settle, know your worth. It’s about building their self-esteem and confidence.

 

For my photo shoots I always use our girls as our models. Our whole Instagram feed is our brand ambassadors. I love being able to make them feel beautiful because it’s so important, and they are. For someone else to see that beauty within them is so vital on the journey of loving yourself. Building their confidence and making them feel beautiful is such a big part of eff.Y.bee and our mission.

 

Alyssa Kuchta eff.Y.bee

 

AP: What’s next for you?

 

Alyssa: What’s next for me. Hmm, I would say, my dream is to grow eff.Y.bee to more universities. I would love to work with more brand ambassadors and have an impact on more girls. Build the campus teams and grow to more retail stores.

 

We’ve started focusing on getting into more stores across the country. Right now we’re focused on the east coast, but I see us expanding, getting the brand out there, making a difference and working with more nonprofit partners. We’ve partnered with Susan G. Komen and the Sandy Rollman Foundation, and the best part about it is, I have our girls pick the organizations.

 

I always tell the girls to pick a cause they care about, and ask how I can help them get involved and provide a platform that allows them to raise awareness and donate. So the girls all choose causes they care about, and I think the more girls we work with, the more organizations we can support and impact.

 

At the end of the day it’s about having a positive network. Eventually I plan to host conferences where the girls can meet each other, because now everyone’s working remotely. We have girls everywhere form Kansas, to Delaware to Massachusetts. But if there’s a way to connect everyone, even having one or two annual events, would be amazing. But overall: grow and inspire more girls.

 

AP: Where can we find your jewelry?

 

Alyssa: You can shop our collection on our website at effybee.com. You can shop us at retailers across the country. We actually just signed a partnership with South Moon Under, so we’re in 10* of their locations. That for me was a major milestone because I’ve loved that store for so long. So to see our bracelets and our necklaces in the store … my friends send me pictures telling me they spotted our jewelry. It’s just so rewarding and incredible. We also do trunk shows at different college campuses.

 

Alyssa Kuchta eff.Y.bee

 

AP: Was South Moon Under on your vision board?

 

Alyssa: Yes, it was. This is a funny story! South Moon Under was on my vision board for a really long time – it was one of my goal stores. I just think their aesthetic, their branding, and the products they have are just so in line with us that it was kind of like #GOALS … one day! I always looked at it as an aspiration.

 

I did a trade show last January, and one of the buyers walks in. Well the buyer was a girl in my sorority from Delaware. She walked in, and I was like oh my gosh! For me it felt like serendipity and the world’s aligning. I thought, what a small world that someone I was close with – that I knew – was a buyer on my vision board for one of my goal retail stores. For me, that was another example of how a vision board can come to life. And she has been such an amazing woman to work with, and it’s been such an amazing experience so far. I’m really looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

 

AP: What goes into making a vision board? Not to judge, but people include silly things that aren’t really aligned to what they think they want.

 

Alyssa: I actually have a few stories. One of my favorite stories with the vision board was my apartment. For the longest time I had a picture of a brownstone building on a beautiful, tree-lined street. I do love high-rises, but I always envisioned myself living in this walk-in, Sex and the City kind of apartment.

 

My budget was very small. I would tell me friends, and I even talked to brokers. They would laugh in my face and tell me, “Oh with that budget you’re going to be in Harlem or the Upper West or Upper East, somewhere very far. Never downtown, maybe Midtown if you’re lucky.”

 

But I was like, “No, I really believe I’m going to get something” – of course me being this big thinker and having this very positive outlook. So I met with a broker, found a listing, and he could not get a viewing. He was like, “I’m sorry, I can’t get a viewing. They’re not answering my calls.”

 

So I was just like you know what I’m just going to walk down the street. I just want to see this apartment in real life. I knew the address, and I wanted to walk down the street and see if I vibe with it, if it felt like home – I’m all about vibes.

 

As I’m walking down the street, and approaching this apartment, the guy that was moving out is walking down the steps. I’m standing there like a lost puppy and the guy’s like, “Can I help you?” as I stare at his building looking lost. I was just like, “Oh there’s an apartment that’s for rent in this building and I wanted to come see it.” He says, “Oh that’s my apartment. I’m moving out.”

 

He gave me the direct number of the management group. I called the next day and literally within the next three days I looked at the apartment, and on the spot said yes. And I kid you not, my apartment looks very much like my vision board, on a tree-lined street. It’s a brownstone style building and was the exact budget I set in my mind. It was on the market for one day. For me that could not have been more meant to be.

 


“I think the trick to making your vision board is to make it realistic. It has to be aspirational. You have to really believe you deserve and you’re gonna have, and that these things are possible.”

 

The main reason I moved to New York was to have an office space, to have an eff.Y.bee studio, where I could live and work and really grow the brand in New York. I think it was all kind of aligning, in the order that it was meant to happen. I look back, and I’m like oh my gosh. I still have the vision board that has that original brownstone photo. I look at my apartment, and I’m like this is it.

 

I’ve had so many experiences where things have happened that I’ve really believed in. I think the trick to making your vision board is to make it realistic. It has to be aspirational. You have to really believe you deserve and you’re gonna have, and that these things are possible.

 

It’s not like I put a picture of a private jet right away. To me that’s not realistic. It’s okay if it’s realistic to someone else, but it has to be within your own belief system. So I think: dream big, and as you accomplish those goals, those goals can get bigger and bigger. But as you’re starting out, it’s not like you’re sitting on the couch praying with a genie in a bottle.

 

That’s the big myth about the vision board people are skeptical about. They sometimes say it’s bologna. They don’t get it. They put up pictures and nothing happens. But it’s more about an exercise for yourself: to know what exactly you’re working toward, to make it really clear. It’s like going to the grocery store without a grocery list. You don’t just go food shopping without an exact list of what you need. You end up coming home with a bunch of Twinkies and Ben & Jerry’s and apple pies, and nothing for dinner.

 


“It’s more about an exercise for yourself: to know what exactly you’re working toward, to make it really clear. It’s like going to the grocery store without a grocery list. You don’t just go food shopping without an exact list of what you need. You end up coming home with a bunch of Twinkies and Ben & Jerry’s and apple pies, and nothing for dinner.”

 

It’s like a grocery list for your life. It says this is what I want, how do I get there, and it insights emotion within you that gets you excited. And when times get rough, it brings you back to earth so you say to yourself: “No, I can’t give up because I want these things.” That’s the magic. I’ve just had so many experiences where it’s unbelievable and the things on my vision board have really happened.

 

AP: It’s also because you’re comfortable with who you are … you’re not trying to be this and that. You know what you want. Some people don’t know what they want, and they go through life blind.

 

Alyssa: That’s the hardest part. For me … following your bliss, going back to what eff.Y.bee means, is not just about happiness. That’s a misconception, like “Oh just follow your bliss, this is so blissful.” It’s deeper than that. Following you bliss, again, is your intuition.

 

Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit. We all kind of know when we get that feeling. You know what you need. It’s having the confidence and the courage to jump and take that leap. It’s not easy for everyone. Everyone has their own path. I know it’s easy for me to say this when things have happened for me, but I also believe it’s a mix of really working hard and being focused.

 


“You know what you need. It’s having the confidence and the courage to jump and take that leap.”

 

Because I think, I do believe, anyone can accomplish anything if they have enough charisma. If you don’t have the connections, you make the connections. I believe in being a go-getter, especially being in this country. There are so many opportunities and chances to network. And with social media it’s so much easier to connect with people. Just reach out. What do you have to lose? A lot of it just comes down to confidence and focus.

 


“…It’s so important to take a step back and really analyze, and be able to answer the question: ‘Who am I?’”

 

If you don’t know what you want, then of course you feel lost and don’t know where to begin. That’s why it’s so important to take a step back and really analyze, and be able to answer the question: “Who am I?” And whether again, my favorite color is purple or my favorite flower is a peony, or I am passionate about women’s education, I think it can be as simple or as big as you want to make it. But taking that time to really get clear on those things is the very first step into figuring out your purpose.

 

Keep up with Alyssa and shop the eff.Y.bee collection:

w: www.effybee.com
i: @eff.y.bee
f: @eff.y.bee – follow your bliss

 

*Since the initial interview, Alyssa’s partnership with South Moon Under has expanded – eff.y.bee jewelry is now sold in all of South Moon Under’s 30 locations.

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