How Venus Williams keeps balance while owning a business

How Venus Williams maintains balance and boundaries while owning a business

Last season of New York Fashion Week, a certain tennis icon took her heat to the court in the Big Apple. IMG and Spring Studios partnered with Chase Sapphire on September 10th to launch a customer activation called Grand Slama fashion-tennis hybrid experience with Venus Williams’ fashion forward activewear brand Eleven by Venus Williams.

During two of New York City’s most monumental calendar moments — the US Open and New York Fashion Week — Grand Slam aims to celebrate the intersectionality of tennis and fashion through tennis match screenings, fashion panels, culinary offerings and DJ sets. In the spirit of the series opener, Grand Slam worked with Williams and trainer Kira Stokes for a 15-minute Sweat Session workout followed by a Q&A with Venus. Guests also had the opportunity to watch a live broadcast of the US Open Men’s Finals on the rooftop of Spring Studios in Tribeca.

How Venus Williams maintains balance and boundaries while owning a business
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 11: Kira Stokes and Venus Williams lead a group practice onstage at GLAM SLAM Presented by NYFW: The Shows and Chase Sapphire Session 5: #COACHVENUS Q&A with Venus Williams during NYFW: The Shows 2022 at the Spring Studios on September 11, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMG Fashion)

“Oh my god, my life is never balanced. It’s unbalanced. I accepted it and I’m fine. When you’re trying to achieve things in life, when you start thinking that you’re going to be balanced, then think again, that’s life. That’s how it is,” Williams admitted to ESSENCE during New York Fashion Week when asked how she was juggling her commitments.

“Then all you have to do is find your little moments of balance throughout the day to prepare for the next day. I agree. When you’re doing something you like and love, it becomes that little bit easier and you have a great team around you. If you don’t have a great team around you, definitely not so much.” Just a few weeks earlier, she played in US doubles against her sister and newly retired tennis player Serena Williams. Did we forget to mention that she runs a fully operational business?

It’s no wonder why Williams had to go from entrepreneur and the face of the EleVen brand to fashion week-goer fast, fast and in a hurry. “I know my schedule and I know what I have to do next, so I’m prepared for that. When I know what I have to do, I am determined to do it. It’s like I made the decision to get involved, so let’s get involved. That’s it,” Williams said.

How Venus Williams maintains balance and boundaries while owning a business
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 11: Venus Williams and Kira Stokes speak onstage at GLAM SLAM Presented By NYFW: The Shows and Chase Sapphire Session 5: #COACHVENUS Q&A with Venus Williams during NYFW: The Shows 2022 at Spring Studios on September 11, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMG Fashion)

While the former World No. 1 and seven-time Grand Slam singles champion remains booked and busy, she remains humbledly proud of the success of the fashion-forward activewear brand. Since its inception, EleVen has created capsule collections around the premiere of Batman starring Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz, has teamed up with LOOK OPTIC to launch a limited edition collection by unisex metal frames and in partnership with Credo Beauty for a mineral sunscreen. Let’s not forget – she still plays tennis.

Williams is confident that the first EleVen collection was well received by the crowd, especially considering she poured a piece of her own history into the collection. “It’s all about my roots and the roots of the people I admired and influenced growing up in California. It was something of a return to our roots and a return to who I am and what I stand for and what EleVen stands for, which is striving for your best self,” Williams explained.

“To achieve your best self, you have to know who you are. That’s really the story this is telling, and our first drop was really just about my California roots and actually Billie Jean King. She was from Long Beach. I lived in Long Beach for the first three years of my life, so it was kind of like that parallel with tennis players [and] California.”

How Venus Williams maintains balance and boundaries while owning a business
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 11: Venus Williams presents her “Eleven” collection at GLAM SLAM Presented by NYFW: The Shows and Chase Sapphire Session 5: #COACHVENUS Q&A with Venus Williams during NYFW: The Shows 2022 at Spring Studios on am September 11, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMG Fashion)

When asked by ESSENCE about her favorite black designers that made her list, she praised Sergio Hudson. In fact, she said she was “completely obsessed.”

“We wore some of his stuff on the Harper’s Bazaar cover we did recently and I just wanted to keep it on. I could not. I think those were samples that we had to return,” she laughed. “I also tried on so many of his clothes for awards season and didn’t get a chance to wear them all, but I drooled. It’s so wonderful to see how creativity is expressed and how clear the voice is. It’s what we need for American design right now and I can’t wait to see what he does next.”

As for the next steps for Williams and the EleVen brand, she revealed to ESSENCE that she will be preparing for her second and third drops. “Our main goal is to help people feel good. There are so many definitions of being healthy — mentally healthy, emotionally, physically good, well, all those different things,” she said.

“You need that part of wellness and to live your best life, to pursue your best self, you need to be healthy and happy. If you’re not, it becomes difficult to do your best. That’s what we want for people and that’s really what’s coming up next all the time.”

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