IN PARTNERSHIP WITH TARGET

How This Former Engineer Turned Her Love Of Fashion Into A New Career

"Legacy" is often defined as something we leave behind, but what if we thought of it as a gift — with contributions from our family, friends, and ancestors — for future generations to inherit? To explore this theme, we've partnered with Target to bring you Beat Of My Own Drum, a photo series that amplifies the narratives of HBCU alumnae who are building their own legacies while expressing their uniqueness through style, entrepreneurship, and self-acceptance.
After a particularly rough day at work, who hasn't considered making a major career change? Few of us ever pass the ideation phase — and even fewer find success in their new fields — but Tiffany Battle is proof that bold moves can lead to big rewards.
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After graduating from Howard University with a degree in chemical engineering, Battle landed a position as a process engineer at a large semiconductor corporation. It was a stable path with good benefits, but the role made Battle feel like “a square peg in a round hole.” Six years into the gig, Battle launched a style blog called The Werk! Place after noticing there weren't many women like her — Black, educated, and unapologetic fans of color — represented in fashion blogging. The site was Battle’s side hustle for three years before she decided to take a leap of faith, move to New York, and focus on building her brand full-time. The journey wasn’t easy.
“I went through two years of struggle and hustling because I wasn't making enough money to pay my bills yet," Battle says. "I risked a lot to get to where I am, but there was something beautiful on the other side. I get invited to some of the coolest things, and I'm working with some of the coolest brands. That blows my own mind on a regular basis."
Now that her dreams are becoming a reality, Battle is looking to the future. "I don't have my legacy figured out yet, but I want people to be their most authentic selves," she says. "My message is to find your talent, and don't let life happen to you. Take control and live your best life."
Ahead, she talks surrendering to the universe, self-expression, and a shopping strategy you'll want to memorize by heart. 
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My HBCU pride runs deep: ​​”Attending Howard was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. There's a sense of community there and that camaraderie extends beyond our time on campus. I met lifelong friends. Not only do we have this amazing collegiate experience and amazing homecomings, we also produce people that do great things in this world. Look at the receipts. It's a great legacy to be a part of.”
Why I started The Werk! Place: “​​I wanted to see people who looked like me: Black college grads who travel, love colors, and aren’t afraid of patterns. Basically, I wanted to see my friends and I reflected in the [fashion] space.”
When I need a confidence boost... “I check myself and take a moment to reflect on the things I've done. That steadies me when I'm feeling uncertain. And sometimes you just have to submit to the universe. Sometimes things don't work out for a reason — it's allowing room for something else. Accept things as they happen.”
How I would describe my style: “Clothing gives somebody a clue about you before you speak. My style is a fresh breath of fun. I don't take it seriously. I try whatever I want, and I don't pay too much attention to the rules. I say just find your own path, explore, and let your clothes be a representation of yourself.”
How I switched up my style: “With the pandemic, I had to figure out how to do loungewear, but still give a really solid look. Now I'm ready for it to shift back. I got all the sweats, I'm done with that. I want to wear some fly pieces again. I want to get dressed up. I miss that.”
My go-to beauty look: “I have aspirations to experiment with fun eye looks, but for now, I wear the same face for every single thing. It's just clean skin and a little bronzer because I want the clothes to speak. ​​Maybe I'll change my lipstick depending on the outfit I have on.”

My top #TiffTip: “Know where to spend money versus where to save. You don’t need expensive basics. I love investing in shoes and handbags, things that aren’t affected by [your size]. I also like investing in good outerwear that'll last a long time. [A coat] is what people see first.”
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