The Marie Hunter brand is built upon one philosophy, “Confidence Speaks Volumes”. Confidence by definition is a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities. The Marie Hunter Modern Muse is a woman who is a guiding spirit and source of artistic inspiration in life and business.
Today we’re featuring Amber Williams, Founder of PunkyFlair. PunkyFlair is a brand story shop that serves beauty, fashion, and lifestyle startups. I had the opportunity to ask Amber 5 questions and here is what they had to say.
Q+A with MH Modern Muse Amber Williams
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: It’s interesting. This is always the hardest question for me to answer, mostly because it changes with every life stage. Also, I try not to summarize who I am solely through my professional endeavors.
I’ll sum it up like this:
I am a dreamer.
My parents raised me to have a high degree of irresponsible ambition, to dream beyond reality’s limitations, and to have the audacity to pursue anything.
I’ve chased every dream from becoming a famous fashion writer in NYC at the peak of the economic recession in 2008 to training to be a top-notch cyclist in 2012. The first dream, I significant progress on, landing a position after undergrad at one of the most prestigious fashion houses in the world - Armani. The second - well - I didn’t make it past two cycle classes before realizing those skinny seats weren’t for me.
Now at 33, I’ve channeled that habit of dream-chasing to build a few things. The first is a family of four. I married my college sweetheart, Errol, in my mid-20s shortly after finishing graduate school at Northwestern. Then, we had two kids who seemed to have come back to back: Carter, my 4-year-old who goes by “Black Panther” these days; and Cayden, my 2-year-old diva who has completely stolen my heart.
Over the past 5 years, I’ve also built Punkyflair, a brand storytelling shop that thrives on the sole philosophy that people do not buy products or services; they buy stories.
As a CEO and startup mentor, I have the great fortune of helping other entrepreneurs uncover the stories that make their brands special so they can harness the power within those narratives to connect better with their audiences.
I truly love what I do and am beyond grateful for the family I have alongside me that continues to inspire and motivate my growth.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself to wake up from the dream of being a wife, mom, and branding beauty, fashion and lifestyle businesses for a living.
Q: What is inspiring you right now?
A: I’m reading “Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis right now and it’s totally inspired me to be even bolder in my entrepreneurial journey. It’s an inexplainable hustle to balance babies and business and I’m always super inspired by female CEOs who seem to be doing it with grace and sheer unapologetic-ness. What I’ve come to learn is that there is no such time as work/life balance when you’re managing the needs of your house, husband, children, and your business. There is only the art of shifting between what requires your attention the most in any given moment. For me with Punkyflair, writing compelling narratives for my clients and having up-to-date brand-building advice to offer is vital to my success. So instead of sharpening those skills while my kids are home with me, I carve out time at 5am every day before anyone in my family wakes up to read, research, write, and take in inspiration so that I can show up for the entrepreneurs in my community the way they need me to.
Likewise, when I pick my kids up from school or when I’m hanging with them on the weekends, my laptop is shut, my phone is down, business books are put up, and “fun mommy” is 100% on for the rest of the evening! I carve out time to be fully present with them during these precious toddler moments when kids actually want to be with their parents.
Q: What was the defining moment that made you want to launch PunkyFlair?
A: Three months after giving birth to my son, Carter, I knew that I didn’t want to return to my corporate job. I had previously excelled far beyond my counterparts, but was cheated out of an anticipated promotion right around the time I found out I was expecting.
During my annual review, I sat down with my manager who pulled my file that was full of glowing recommendations from my peers, directors and VPs across 4 different offices within our company. To say that I exceeded expectations in just one year would be an understatement. I had done so well in my brand marketing and reputation management role that I was to the point of ghostwriting communication for the CEO.
But for some reason, I was offered a promotional raise without the title, office, or the view. And for me, that translated to a complete a total lack of respect. It felt like “hush money.” I later learned that upper management believed that promoting me above my male peers after just 12 months, although I had earned it, would have caused friction.
Walking out of that room was a defining moment for me. From that point forward, I knew that my days were numbered at the company. I mentally checked out and began plotting my exit.
I vowed to never again allow any person or any company to dictate what I deserved or would be “allotted.”
After soaking up every ounce of my maternity leave, I resigned with a sting two days before my scheduled return. Whoa - it felt so good!
So since 2015, I’ve officially called myself “CEO & Master Brand Storyteller.” After consulting for, advising, coaching, and teaching over 500 startups in five years, I can confidently say that I’ve earned that title.
Q: What advice would you have for a female entrepreneur ready to take the leap into entrepreneurship?
A: Many women make the crucial first mistake of attempting to follow in someone else’s footsteps when starting a company. We see this all the time with short-lived copycat brands that launch on the basis of popularity or trends. If you want to leap into entrepreneurship and build a brand that means something to people and will withstand the test of time, the first thing you must do is ask yourself WHY?
Why does the world need what you have to offer?
Why should people care about your brand?
Why do you care?
Why is the problem that you solve for happening?
As an entrepreneur, knowing your WHY? keeps you grounded and focused on the greater mission of your business. It’s what will shape your decision-making, your innovation, your team building, and the story you’ll ultimately tell to get your ideal customers to buy from you.
Before taking the leap, figure out your WHY? Then, write it down somewhere where you’ll be reminded of it every single day.
Q: What do you love most about Marie Hunter Beauty?
A: I love the modern-day chicness of Marie Hunter Beauty! When I first came across the brand, I immediately got Chanel vibes. All black is my jam, so to have my makeup bag filled with tiny little black tubes of purples, pinks, nudes and reds is a total reflection of my own aesthetic.
But, I think what I love most about MHB is the ideals behind the brand story. Being bolder is a sentiment I constantly try to affirm within myself as an entrepreneur. And what better way to do that on a daily basis than through a Boss Lady super pigmented red lipstick that says “I’m in the room. Pay attention.”?
Remember a few months back when I first reveal our new brand story? Amber was the mastermind behind helping me to develop our new story! When Amber first reached to me about her services I was a little skeptical, but after listening to her free resources I was SOLD and needed to know more so I joined her 6 week mentorship program and it was worth every penny!
Amber became a Marie Hunter customer after discovering our line at our retail partner BLK+GRN so the fact that she saw my brand had so much potential meant a lot to me. Juggling motherhood and entrepreneurship isn’t easy, neither is being a woman in a male dominated industry as she described in her defining moment. Amber’s passion to help small woman owned businesses grow their brands through storytelling is inspirational and for that she is an MH Modern Muse.
Interested in learning more about storytelling and how it can help your business? Amber just recently launched her new podcast The Share which is now live on Stitcher and Spotify as “The Share: Storycraft for Startups” so be sure to subscribe and leave a review!
You can follow Amber on the following platforms:
Spotify: The Share Podcast