“I want to tell you a love story. A story about a woman, her imagination, and her perseverance. The woman in this story is me, Seun Erinle.” (via LinkedIn)
Seun Erinle is an innovator in the tech education and design space. As Founder and Lead Instructor at A.I.R. Labs, she helps the youth in our community cultivate their understanding and appreciation of the technology that they interact with everyday. A.I.R. Labs offers graphic design, web development, and 3D-modeling courses through private tutoring, workshops, camps, and more to come.
Seun is also the owner of Grid Principles, a creative agency that wholeheartedly believes that design connects people. They are more than just a graphic design and web design & development shop. They build memories. They design experiences.
How has failure impacted your career and gotten you to the point where you are today?
Everything is a lesson. If I think of mishaps, misfortunes, and mistakes as failures, it would cripple me. And it has at times when I had a different state of mind of how I used the word failure in my life and career. The things that happen in our life and in business that don’t go our way is a pathway to learn and grow. It makes us stronger. Even the things that go our way have lessons in how we took steps to get to that “win”.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you always have an entrepreneurial spirit?
When I was really really young I wanted to be an astronaut or firefighter. When I got older it was a Pediatrician. And then in college after a stint as a double major of Computer Engineering and pre-Med, I decided design was going to my way of making a living and having fun.
The entrepreneurial bug hit me after I graduated from design school which was after finishing my Computer Science degree. I finished in 2009 amidst the economic downfall and there were no jobs anywhere so I started freelancing. That has turned into Grid Principles, my design and development business, which has been an amazing journey.
Describe one of the most memorable projects you have worked on thus far.
I designed a bunch of graphics for Charles Booker’s campaign just as a member of this community and a supporter of him and his platform of how he wanted to represent Kentuckians in the U.S. Senate. After work, late at night, I would open up my computer and start the digital drawings that would eventually be seen by Booker around the whole state. He saw folks with t-shirts ands stickers and online sharing of the graphics that I posted. It was crazy to see the support of so many people from graphics that I put so much energy into.
What resources have been the most beneficial to you in your entrepreneurial journey?
Google, Youtube, asking friends and family to connect me with folks that are fantastic at what they do, and books. My dad always taught me not to be afraid to buy a book or ask a question and that has helped me tremendously over the years.
What are your pronouns? Why are they important?
My pronouns are she/her. These days I’m not so sure that what I’ve said are my preferred pronouns are as important as who I am as a person at the core of my being. At the end of the day I want someone to know me as Seun…not what “she” did or how “her” qualities make her a specific type of person. When I really think about the ones I love and also about the people that have made an impact on my life, I don’t think of them as she, he, or they. It’s all about feelings and experiences. So I say all of that to say that I want folx to get to know me and use that as their definition of me.
What would you say to any person struggling to come into their own identity?
Take your time. There’s no rush. Be who you are and allow yourself to be okay with continual growth. Life is growth and transition. We’re never going to get to that perfect “there”. We need to enjoy the journey, learn from it, and use what we learn to become a step closer to the version of the self that we want to be.