AphroChic, was founded in 2007 by Brooklyn-based husband and wife team Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason. What started as a simple blog, quickly morphed into a design and lifestyle brand specializing in interior, product and fashion design, along with content creation, and – with the recent launch of the AphroChic Magazine – publishing.

AphroChic seeks to celebrate culture, creativity, art, design, science and technology in the black community with a particular eye toward “the intersection of modern design and global culture across diverse populations.”

Hays and Mason took an unconventional path into the design world. Prior to launching AphroChic, Hays was an attorney working to improve public policy around the juvenile justice system, while Mason was pursuing a Masters in Theology.

Hays would spend her evenings constructing mood boards for imagined spaces, experimenting with color palettes and design. Mason, who at the time had little interest or experience in design, encouraged Hays to start a blog to connect with others in the design space.

Hays began working on the blog in her free time, and was quickly struck by the glaring lack of diversity in the design blogosphere. She knew there were a lot of people of color into art and design, who had crafted beautiful spaces for themselves, who were not receiving representation. So she set it as her mission to start telling those stories.

AphroChic’s first six months were humble, with just friends and family as their reader base. Then, The Washington Post did a write up on the blog, encouraging their readers to check them out. AphroChic shot from just twenty readers to hundreds of thousands over a short period of time.

As AphroChic’s popularity grew, Hays and Mason started their own design practice to address the gap they were seeing in the market – particularly around design that reflected their heritage. As Hays puts it, “Every piece of furniture or accessory always has a cultural weight to it, and that’s what we go back to – honoring the cultural weight and the need that people have.”

Over the years AphroChic’s product line has expanded to include pillows, wallpaper, rugs and light fixtures. The brand has worked with companies such as Lowe’s, Home Depot and IKEA, and has been featured in a number of publications such as, The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, and New York Magazine.

In 2013 Hays and Mason authored Remix: Decorating with Culture, Objects, and Soul. The book explores interior design through a cultural lens, instructing readers on how to utilize color, patterns, art, and furnishing to express cultural experiences in their own personal spaces.

In 2017, they were approached by HGTV to produce Sneak Peek with AphroChic. The home tour series, hosted by Hays herself, exploring the unique interior design of a diverse set of homes from around the country.

AphroChic’s work with crafting culturally resonant design, identifying and spotlighting designers of color, and generating engaging content lead in the Fall of 2019 to the launch of AphroChic Magazine. The publication “celebrates the presence, innovation and accomplishments of creatives of color from all corners of the African Diaspora.”

To learn more about AphroChic, their design products and all their content offerings, visit AphroChic.com.

 

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