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Daily Inspiration: Meet Elise & James

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elise & James.

Elise, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
We (Elise & James) met in 2015, since then we have started many entrepreneurial endeavors together. The main two being: a cycling resource for St. Louis, and YING YING YING our street-wear fashion clothing brand. We had both been through some things, breakups, changing careers, etc… leading us to the perfect transitional phase where we both wanted to pursue our lifelong dreams of being both artists and entrepreneurs. James having a background in sculpture, art, and retail sales and Elise having a background in science, education, and graphic design, our strange concoction of talents really compliment each other. As athletes, we adore enhancing the Cycling Community in St. Louis with, we are always exploring new ways to expand and bring the community closer together. With YING YING YING, we are truly learning as we go. We both love art and the process of creating, which we get to do with new collection twice a year. We are excited to show our new collections at new runway shows and pop-up events around the midwest.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Neither endeavor has been a totally smooth road, we have had many challenges and obstacles along the way, thankfully each challenge leads us to having a broader knowledge base. Mistakes are only such when there is no lesson learned. We try to improve with each move in both businesses. With YING YING YING, we are constantly battling the output vs. the input, meaning we only want to produce and put in resources (time, money and effort) that we can get back with sales or exposure. With STL Biking, it is a full-time job that we balance with a couple of other full-time jobs, haha! We are always trying to improve, find new collaborations in the city, and build a better resource for the community.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
As artists and creatives, we both paint and design. James specializes in concept creating and 3-D modeling, and Elise specializes in color, texture and digital design.

James is most proud of his growth in the artistic world, from being a sculpture major where contemplating concepts for entire semesters was common to now being able to create from idea to fruition in a much more timely and tangible way. Fashion has really expanded my breadth of knowledge with art and I’ve learned to stop overthinking every detail.”

Elise is known for her large abstract and colorful portrait paintings. She is most proud of her new ability to apply design and color to YING YING YING. “When we started YING YING YING, we just kind of were winging it, but since then (the beginning) we have sort of created a template for our collections, where we create an image together and base the entire collection off of that image. We have both pushed our artistic capabilities with our clothing brand, as fashion moves SO fast. As soon as you complete one collection, you have to immediately begin to consider the next one. Which is really fun from a creative standpoint but also very challenging.

Our work ethic and dedication probably set us apart the most from others. We met the perfect time in our lives, and both had a laser focus on creating and being involved in the community. Ying Ying Ying and are not hobbies to us, they are IT. The beauty of your passions and your goals being the same is it makes all the work you do not feel like work at all.

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
Thus far, luck has not played much of a role. We have worked ruthlessly to get where we are with our businesses and projects. We are pretty smart about the way we run our businesses, but there are always ups and downs, good seasons and not so good seasons, but regardless we push on! I think every entrepreneur secretly wishes some good luck or a wealthy investor that truly gets them and their passions would appear like a genie in a bottle, but so far that has not been the case! Ha! Plus, we love the quote, “Nothing worth having comes easy”.

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