Akilah Jackson’s growing business, Sunsum® Intentional Living, is focused on making and supplying top quality and ethically sourced handmade goods – from candles and home décor to handbags and body care products. It grew out of her creative consulting and coaching agency and was manifested by her own experience to dogma in the health and wellness industry. Akilah believes that we are connected to all things, and when we pay more attention to relationships with ourselves and others, we create a more meaningful life.
What motivated or inspired you to start your own business?
I am a recovering over-thinker and failure survivor that uses creativity and flow to build resilience for well-designed actions. I wear many hats professionally and personally and want to create an agency that could package my experience and skills into projects with social impact.
What gives you joy?
I love to see shifts in people when you challenge their perspectives and lead them to positive actions for change. That moment when eyes drift away and up while making conscious and unconscious cognitive connections is when I know that I have succeeded as an agent of change.
Have you had to overcome any significant barriers in business or in life, and how did you manage to conquer them?
I am too familiar with the impact of structural violence and the barriers to accessing a well-lived life…I grew up on the east coast, where life is fast, hard and gritty. My wit and grit was groomed in the highly competitive Washington DC-Baltimore metropolitan area. In my own pursuit for excellence, I had to find humility in personal and professional spaces, where I wasn’t even afforded dignity because of my identity: a young, talented and gifted, ambitious black woman.
My hustle and drive to put to the ultimate test, in 2013, when I survived a horrific, high-speed motorcycle accident. While in recovery, I learned that I survived the amount of blunt-force trauma that would have killed most people. I wasn’t expected to walk ever again. But this wasn’t the first time my will power was tested. I turn pain into power. Is it black girl magic? Or is it passion, resilience, grit, and perseverance? As I laid in pieces broken on the hospital bed in shock trauma, something was happening. I had become so hardened that I had to physically break in order to move forward with my life’s purpose. I staggered out of recovery and into a life as a creative entrepreneur – manifested through my own aesthetic vision, critical thinking skills and timing. I have had to learn to live with regret and sacrifice, but I also had to shift to a growth mindset through self-mastery to fully access my creative potential.
What are your hopes for the future?
I want to continue to provide a framework for cultural competence and mindfulness practices with the candle brand by developing more resources and products to intentionally create a connection to a culture and promote inter-connectedness.
What is one piece of advice you have for our readers?
Find beauty and humility in life or else you won't have a choice in the matter.