You’ve probably been told at some point, “Follow your passion and don’t give up.” It may not sound like revolutionary advice, but it’s truly some of the most important advice I’ve been given. It was my mom who first said these words to me, and if I hadn’t taken them to heart, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
At sixteen years old, I was passionate about upcycling tops, skirts, dresses, and even custom-embellished headbands. My intention wasn’t originally to start my own company; designing was a creative outlet for me. But my friends and acquaintances showed so much interest in owning one of my unique creations that starting my own business seemed to be the next logical step. Dainty Jewell’s was born, a company rooted in pursuing my passions that, after years of hard work, a few setbacks, and many successes, has become a provider of more than 80,000 pieces of clothing. It’s so exciting to watch my dream come to life! If you have a dream you’re passionate about, here is my advice to you:
Turn your passion into profit. In attempt to make extra money, I began designing headbands, shoe clips, and small accessories. Because my father was a traveling minister, I was able to sell my pieces all across the country. It wasn’t until people began encouraging me and complimenting my work, however, that I toyed with the idea of launching a full-fledged business. I was frequently asked about doing retail, so I finally decided to introduce a new clothing line on Facebook. I started my business with ten pieces, and it grew from there. Whenever you’re passionate about something or you just want to make a little extra money, try combining your passion with business savvy. It’s scientifically proven that following your passion brings deep satisfaction.
What matters to you now many times won’t matter years from now. As I was starting my business at the age of sixteen, most people my age were totally engrossed in school activities, sports, dating, college applications, popularity, and adolescent drama. These things are huge when you’re a teenager, but they’re only a blip on the radar when you look at life on a large scale. While my peers were obsessed with matters of short-term significance, I was bootstrapping a business and learning how to manage my finances. I made sacrifices, such as choosing work over hanging out with friends, and I often chose to focus on my business when other things were calling for my attention. In the end, all the sacrifices were worth it. It’s the best feeling in the world waking up each day knowing I’m exactly where God wants me to be, doing what makes me happy.
Go against the grain. Dainty Jewell’s offers fashionably modest clothing for women and girls. The pieces have a classic elegance and vintage look (think Jackie Kennedy) with sleeves to the elbow and skirts to the knee. In a culture where dressing modestly isn’t celebrated, Dainty Jewell’s has still managed to be wildly successful. My pieces have been featured in USA Today, People StyleWatch, and BuzzFeed, and they’ve been worn by dozens of well-known fashion bloggers. I chose from the beginning to emphasize modesty, not so that Dainty Jewell’s would stand out or be unique—although those things became positive consequences of my decision—but so that I could be true to my belief that women and girls can and should be able to dress modestly and still look fabulous. Going against the grain and what society deems as normal has served my business and me well.
Rely heavily on your support system. I can’t preach this last piece of advice enough! Surround yourself with positive, influential people who encourage, support, and love you. Your support system will be there when times are good and when times get tough: you need them for both. I would be nowhere without the encouragement and support of my parents, close family, and friends; without moral guidance from my pastor; and without the love and business advice of my husband. I’ve relied heavily on these people throughout the years. They’ve given wise counsel, lent an ear when I needed it, encouraged me, celebrated with me, and even rolled up their sleeves and helped me at times. My support system has been instrumental in the growth of my business and an asset to me personally.
Do you have a dream? A passion? A burning sense of purpose that sometimes keeps you up at night and energizes you in the day? Embrace that passion. Use it for good. Follow your passion, and never, ever give up.
About Charity Walter & Dainty Jewell’s: Charity Walter, a modern southern belle who grew up in North Carolina, began designing at the age of sixteen with the intent of upcycling and creating unique pieces featuring custom embellishments, dainty details, and decorative confections. After inspiring friends and acquaintances with her unique creations, the idea of creating her own company was born. Dainty Jewell’s remains dedicated to providing affordable and fashionably modest clothing to women of all ages because Charity believes dressing with ladylike class is a privilege all women should have access to. Combined with her intuitive business sense, Charity’s ability and passion to design clothing for every body type and age group is a gift that has enabled Dainty Jewell’s to soar in excellence for quality, customer service, and integrity. For more information, go to daintyjewells.com.