words by Kat Thompson
photography by Jovell Rennie
Bex Farleigh is an entrepreneur, photographer, influencer, and dreamer. The 22-year-old born-and-raised Alaskan is devoted to her craft—from her striking portraits she’s captured as a freelance photographer, to her ability to run a menswear shop, The Mercantile, in Anchorage. It’s obvious she has an eye for things that are beautiful and timeless, but paving her own way took a lot of courage, hard work, and a steadfast belief in herself. “I'm really empowered when I prove to myself that I can do something that seems impossible. From quitting my day job and proving to myself I can sustain an income with freelance photography, to opening The Mercantile despite a lot of doubt from others,” she tells Jennifer. The young and accomplished creative is only getting started. Meet Bex Farleigh.
What is your name, age, and title?
I'm Bex Farleigh, I'm 22 years old, and I'm the co-owner of a men's boutique, The Mercantile, in Anchorage, Alaska. I'm also a photographer, dog-mom, influencer, and whatever else I've decided to get myself into.
What about you surprises people the most? And why do you think that is?
Without a doubt, the most surprising (and probably most embarrassing) thing about me is that I'm really, really into professional wrestling. I don't wrestle, but I'm a huge WWE fan. Before I got into it, I had such a negative stigma in my mind about wrestling which has completely changed since actually watching and understanding it. I know it's embarrassing, but I don't care. I think everyone has a goofy interest and I love to figure out what nerdy junk people are into.
What is the most challenging or infuriating thing about working in your industry?
I'm a woman who decided to go into the men's fashion industry, so often people ask me, "Why did you open a men's store?". I don't think there would be such an emphasis on the target gender the shop focuses on in that question if it was a women's shop. I definitely get asked more than my co-owner, who's a guy, why I got into this world and that can be frustrating. I don't want anyone to think I don't belong here because of my gender, but thankfully most people don't mind. Truthfully, I just really love men's fashion and love the niche we've invested in at The Merc—[it] is SO cool to me.
What is your go-to cure for a bad day?
Nothing crazy—cuddling up in bed with my pup and watching some good ol' fashioned WWE RAW. Maybe a spoon full of peanut butter too.
What empowers you?
I'm really empowered when I prove to myself that I can do something that seems impossible. From quitting my day job and proving to myself I can sustain an income with freelance photography, to opening The Mercantile despite a lot of doubt from others. And prayer; can't forget that.
How do you want to make the world a better place?
I haven't figured this one out yet. Maybe just putting more love into this world than hate. I don't think there's a lot of that right now. Really just LOVING people is so incredibly important to me and it's at the core of my beliefs.
What is your deathrow meal?
Oooh man, definitely a really dope cheeseburger and a steak burrito, don't care if guac is extra.
What is the one perfect word to describe you?
I'm really bad at this. Probably dreamer, but in the way that I actually want to accomplish my dreams, not just have them.
What is the most important lesson you've learned in your lifetime?
Probably that I'm truly not in control of anything that happens to me or around me. It's a relief that it's left to someone that's way better at everything than me. Doesn't mean I don't try to control it sometimes though.
What is the accomplishment you're most proud of?
The Mercantile, for sure. I didn't think that I would be 22 and own a business besides my photo business. It's really cool, really scary, and really fun. I'm super stoked to be here but I don't want to stop here either.