Collective Conversations... Talking to the owner of Elvie's Studios, Ella Rowe

At Collective Closets, we believe in individuality, authenticity, and celebrating the power of a woman. As businesswomen, we share the story of our influences and upbringing through our designs and the beautiful textiles we grew up with. We created Collective Conversations to spotlight the amazing women in our community and find out how they share their own stories. This series spotlights members of our tribe, gaining insight into their values, passions, and the drive behind what they do.

Ella wears the Sanamu V-neck top in size S ($200).

This month, we're talking to Ella Rowe, multi-disciplinary artist and owner of Naarm-based salon Elvies Studios.

Leading the way in the natural hair movement, Ella's salon was built, founded and is run by people of colour. Taking a holistic approach to beauty, Elvies Studios (named after Ella's mother) is not only about hair – it's about decolonisation, inclusivity and disrupting the typical status quo.

For this edition of Collective Conversations, we stepped into Ella's beautiful salon space to chat style, authenticity and self-acceptance.

Follow Ella here and visit her salon here.

Ella wears the Rafiki Shirt in XS ($190) and the Mimi Skirt in size 8 (coming soon).

Describe yourself in 3 words?
Happy, compassionate, positive.

How do you stay aligned with your most authentic self?
I remember where I was born, who my family is and [what] my unique identity is.

Ella wears the Kucheza Dress in size S ($250).

Is what you're doing now always what you wanted to do in life?

I think I was always headed here. Each decision I made along the course of my life led me to this role. It is a culmination of all the things I wanted to be.

What are some things that you are leaving behind, letting go of, or unlearning in order to move forward? These could be beliefs, attitudes, emotional blockages, habits, even relationships. 

I have left behind my lack of integrity. I've never truly lived my purpose and practiced discipline and self awareness; I've never been truly honest with myself and others until now. I've left behind self-harming behaviours, people and cycles of self destruction. I have reduced my circle and I see less people in my personal time.

What’s something you can’t go a day without doing?

I can’t go a day without speaking to my Mum. Whether on the phone or in person. And [I can't go a day without] coffee and sugar. My two addictions apart from my daughter – I can’t go a day without coffee and something sweet. I am working on it.

How would you describe your future self? What does she look like?

My future self is colourful, comfortable, proud, relaxed and painting in my home when I'm not in the studio. [She's] teaching and caring for my clients,  surrounded by plants, family and community. 

What life lesson did you learn the hard way?

My trauma does not define me.

Ella wears the Akoamka Wrap Top in size S ($190) and the Utambulisho High Waisted Skirt.

What three accomplishments are you the proudest of?

Growing and birthing my daughter Kemiannah. Bringing my family back together through Elvie's Studios. Completing a university degree – not because of the degree or the paper – but for the achievement of finishing something that was arduous for me. 

What's an assumption others make about you?

That I'm always happy. 

What would your best friend say is your best quality?

I’m honest and fun.

What does it mean to honour yourself?

I love myself first and I forgive myself. I appreciate my own efforts and accept my abilities and my capacity to learn and make small changes as I go, each day. I know I am a work in progress while still believing that I was born with everything that I need inside my heart and mind already… self-compassion.