Ariel Young, founder of Copper and Brass Paper Goods

I learned about Ariel Young on Threads. She is the Chief Paper Pusher for Copper and Brass Paper Goods. Ariel’s wisdom focuses her designs and provides a powerful perspective. She champions businesses, not just hers, with encouragement and motivation.

I spoke with Ariel about Copper and Brass Paper Goods including how she represents her audience and what she continues to learn about herself as a business owner. 

1) What is your definition of feminism? 

The definition of feminism that many think of, it is not the feminism that I prescribe to. Feminism in its truest form has always supported the needs of well-to-do white women and not black women. While I do think feminist thought has been impactful to women, in general, I don’t think Black Feminism is easily defined. Black Feminism can only be viewed through the experiences of Black Women. We must consider how race, sex/gender, and class have impacted our lives. It is very complicated. 

2) Your work shows a wealth of representation. How do you bring representation to your audience? 

At Copper and Brass Paper Goods, we believe in the power of authentic representation. We bring authentic representation to our audiences by celebrating the joy that fuels the Black community despite our many struggles. There is beauty in our culture and we take great pride in sharing the beautiful moments through our artwork. 

The STEMtastic bundle from Copper and Brass Paper Goods by Ariel Young

3) You are a Spelmanite. What does honoring Spelman College and more HBCUs mean to your work? 

HBCUs are so important to our culture and American culture. These institutions have afforded our marginalized community advanced educational opportunities. I owe a great deal of my success to Spelman and the other HBCUs. Despite having limited funding, these schools have managed to produce many successful alum, known and unknown, and we owe them a huge debt. Honoring them through my products is one of the smallest things I can do to give back to these institutions. 

4) What do you continue to learn about yourself as a business owner? 

Being a business owner has taught me the importance of perseverance. I’ve learned that when I persist I can find my way through any difficult circumstance and in the end I’m more likely to succeed in the long run. 

5) How do you exemplify the quote “lift as you climb”? 

I’m very intentional about pouring back into others. I’m selective with the people I deal with because I know that everyone isn’t ready to be lifted. I let people I work with know that I see them and what they are doing in their community. I recognize their hard work and it is my goal to help them get even better. I try to support them as best as I can using the knowledge I’ve gained to help move them forward. I’ve made many mistakes but let my mistakes be an example of what not to do for others. This is how I “lift as I climb”.

Thank you, Ariel, for speaking with us about Copper and Brass Paper Goods!

Ashley Paul is a traveler, runner, and baker. She is an Everlasting Bookworm and Culture Maven. She is passionate about supporting high school juniors and seniors to write compelling stories for their post-secondary careers. She loves stories with social commentary, atmospheric writing, and compelling characters.

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