Florida Creative with Modern Southern Style

With London roots, this transplant Black Southern Belle has embraced true southern living. A lover of all things event and design, this lifestyle expert is one to watch. If you are planning an event or building a brand, Akili Phillips is definitely the future of the lifestyle industry in the South. Learn more about this modern southern woman today!


Your Name:

Akili Phillips

Business Name:

Sassy Photobooth & Sassy a la mode

Alma Mater:

American Intercontinental University-London (after two years at Howard University)


Palm Bay, Florida

Current location:

Palm Bay, Florida

Website Link:


What services do you provide?

Photo booth rentals, backdrop design, graphic design/branding, wedding coordination and styling.

Why did you decide to start a business?

I wanted to create a business that allowed me to work in the events industry and touched on all my passions: fashion, event decor, and design.

Before you owned a business, what did you do?

I worked in retail for years! I was a visual manager at a department store and a marketing assistant for an ecommerce fashion brand.

What is your favorite client story?

One of the first weddings I coordinated was for the photographer that took the photos for my website. She got married at a venue that was a five-minute drive away from my house. I didn’t even know it existed when she told me her wedding location! Who would have thought finding a photographer via a facebook post would lead to me coordinating her wedding, learning about a venue right down the road, and creating a vendor relationship that has lasted for years?!

What is the most interesting client request you have had?

Mm drawing a blank here! Most the requests I get are pretty normal!

What is the most important thing you have done to build your business?

Networking! Getting to know other vendors and creating authentic connections has been the best thing I’ve done for my business.

Who are some of your business idols?

Lauren Conrad, Tamuel Cowart, and issa Rae

Do you have any mentors?

I have women in my life who I admire and seek out for advice and inspiration. They may not know they’re my mentors! Lol

What is your favorite thing about being southern?

Though I’m technically not southern (I was born in London to Jamaican and Trinidadian parents) growing up in the south has given me a great appreciation for sweet tea, biscuits and perfect weather in spring.

What is your favorite southern entrees or sides?

Macaroni and cheese for sure! It’s perfect comfort food and it works as a side or a main course.

What is your favorite item or piece of clothing to wear/use while doing business?

Right now I’m obsessed with jumpsuits for work, preferably with pockets. The right jumpsuit is fashionable and functional..

Images by Harmony Lynn Photography

Michiel Perry

Michiel is a Black Southern Belle living a lowcountry life. I love all things fashion, home decor and southern! When I am not running around doing fun stuff for Black Southern Belle, I live in antique stores and have a minor obsession with historic homes 🙂

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