Lights, camera, action… Our featured Shop of the Month is Call Me Queen. The Shop Owner, Cyrene, offers delightful insights about the world of creativity.
Cyrene, the original queen of Call Me Queen, breaks down her brand and personal journey as a multi-tasker on a mission. From modeling to writing to selling merch, there’s truly something for everyone in our latest Shop of the Month interview.
We would love to learn more about the multi-faceted nature of your brand, from modeling to writing, how have you cultivated your creative ambitions and turned them into a career?
The queen brand goes beyond my outward aesthetic. It is who I am as a person and part of my character. I do my best to avoid limiting myself in business and in life. I can organize, unite, and compartmentalize as need be. It allows me to evolve and grow as an artist and entrepreneur. I have been modeling for nearly eight years. In addition to runway and editorial modeling, I am also a creative director for photo shoots, production manager for fashion shows and events, runway coach for aspiring and professional models. I love working in front of the camera as well as behind the camera. Those skills are not centralized for one thing. Having this experience allows me to market and create materials for my own store, merchandise, and books.
How would you describe your personal brand? How is this reflected in your creative work and your Spreadshop?
As it stands, my fashion world and my literature world do not have many opportunities to coexist. The store is a chance to bridge the gap between them and create a cohesive universe. With my love for fashion and books they are brought together by t-shirts, sweatshirts, or mugs. With the Spreadshop platform, I now have a way to spread the reach and make that universe tangible. Not only for me, but for supporters, and store shoppers.
Can you tell us a bit about your books and experiences as an author? Who inspires your work?
My first book, “Call Me Queen” is a novel that was published January 2017. Since then, I have also written “A Goddess Dreams” which is also a novel. I have added three poetry books “Indigo,” “Blush” and “Onyx.” I have been a lover of books and word for years. I feel we all have a story to tell. It is up to us to choose what medium we need to utilize to express it. Being a creative has allowed me to expound on those stories and create not only books, but also plays and lyrical poetry shows.
I’ve been having a wonderful experience being an author. I love hearing from my readers and meeting them at book signings and other events. They send me feedback, photos with the books and merchandise. The response has been increasingly positive, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share.
As for inspiration, life inspires my work. These novels are contemporary women’s fiction. I tell stories that we have heard and experienced. I also write about what is not fully expressed and sometimes hidden. I write stories about situations from point of views from woman of all ages which makes them relatable. Even though the main characters are women, I have many male readers as well who enjoy and relate to the books on their own level. When it comes to the poetry books, it is all my truth. Each book represents a different part of me. “Indigo” is my depth. It is filled with eclectic and diverse topics that creates my core. “Blush” is my heart. It is the black, white, and gray sections that make up spirit. “Onyx” is the darkness that finds my light in book form. All poetry books are titled as either gems or colors. It helps me strategize and organize my thoughts based on those feelings.
How did “Call Me Queen” come to be?
“Call Me Queen” came to be with my first book. However, it goes beyond it. The meaning of Cyrene my name, is Queen. “Call Me Queen” is essentially me. From the book, I wrote and produced a one-woman stage play which I directed and played the woman in the show, “Call Me Queen” the stage play. From there I made the store. It felt natural to me to name the store “Call Me Queen” since it is the representation of me not just in brand but as the person.
What was your process when designing merch for your Spreadshop? Why did you choose Spreadshop as a platform to sell your official merch?
The designs for the merchandise came directly from the books themselves and the royalty persona. Each design is created by me and reflect the books individually and the brand. From the colors, fonts, interior and cover art, I can reflect those specific characteristics transferring them from word to merchandise and apparel. I sell both men and women’s products in various sizes and custom options which makes for a unique experience.
I chose Spreadshop for several reasons. It was easy navigating the website to create my own store. It is important for me to make sure the functionality of my store works well for me as well as for the shoppers. The real-time updates make for smooth flow of business as I see fit. It is simple to upload the one of a kind designs to the system. There are plenty of quality merchandise options to choose from which is important when catering to a large customer base. The integrated worldwide shipping is always a plus as well as gift options. Lastly, the scheduled payouts make sense. With each purchase from the store and email notification is sent to the owner. There is also a way to track sales on the website.
Do you find there is an intersection between creativity and activism? How do you use your platform to affect positive social change?
Creativity and activism intertwine as the creator sees fit. We have seen for centuries the use of art to gain awareness for social consciousness. Whether it is in paintings, books, music or poetry. In “A Goddess Dreams” I chose to have the main character, Constance, diagnosed with endometriosis. It is a disease the effects over 176 million people worldwide. It is also a disease that I live with. It was important for me to shed light and share awareness to educate my readers. On average, it takes upwards of eight years for diagnosis. That is eight years too long with lack of treatment and proper education. With this admission, women and transgender men have an introduction to a story and can compare with their own health experience.
With the use of social media, brands have a direct tool to assist with activism and awareness globally on issues they feel are important to them. With this initiative, voices have been lent to everyone who has access to the internet. Brands can stand in solidarity with the communities that are affected with various causes and show support. I feel as a creative that we should do so. What concerns the people must concern us all collectively. There is no us vs them mentality.
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Do you have any tips for people who want to establish or grow their own brand?
To start your own brand, you must first have an idea. Even if that brand is yourself. Ask yourself questions about the service or product you are offering as well as what is the motivation behind it. You should have a purpose. The idea of how you want to present yourself, your product, your service to the public should be mapped out. Understand that those ideas should evolve over time and grow with the expected expansion. Be as creative as you want to be and need to be. Learn the field and industry you are entering. Research those areas extensively and understand what you can bring to the market with your creativeness and expertise. Work more toward your goals and speak less. Some people may not be as supportive on your journey. The dream was given to you, not anyone else. Focus on your own destination and know that some days will be harder than others. Keep going, it is all worth it.
We’re so glad to have thoughtful Shop Owners like you as a part of our community. Thanks, Cyrene!