In 2011, I was in my senior year of high school, applying to colleges as I geared up for graduation. I started planning out the next 3-5 years of my life. There were so many things I wanted and looking back there are so many things I would change. However, my uniqueness has always gotten me where I need to go and for that reason I stand out. One of the colleges I applied to was Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), which had a lengthy application along with scholarship paperwork. I completed my application with a portfolio of wearable artwork, hand designed and crafted by me. Following that, I received an acceptance letter. I was so thrilled… then I looked at the costs and made my decision to go elsewhere. Part of me still looks back on those moments. I really felt like I was doing something groundbreaking. I had made recyclable, customized practically avant garde jewelry pieces.
When I started college, I continued making collections of the signature earrings. I even joined an organization my freshman year called Designers For A Purpose (DFAP). They kept me inspired with fresh ideas, shared the latest trends, and gave me a place to be creative and have fun. As the school year went on I created my first website using a template for my jewelry design in an attempt to sell my jewelry. I ordered my first ever business cards and began promoting my jewelry design. Not only for the recyclable, signature pieces but for beaded jewelry, metal design, everything. I did it all since the time I was 12 years old and my mom bought me my first beaded jewelry set for Valentine’s Day. I was so ready!
At the end of the spring semester, DFAP recruited models, designed clothes, and put on a full fashion show with food and designer vendors afterwards (myself included – image of my table below). It was amazing! I didn’t know I could do something like that until my awesome team/organization showed me the ropes and helped me along the way.
People around campus knew me as the “floppy disk earrings girl”. I was gaining so much hype that I even did an interview with C.O.R.E. Reader magazine. I loved being known for that. It was something I created. Something I had fun with. And one day, something I would want to make a business. Just like I joined DFAP, I was a designer for a purpose. I started creating a variety of collections to be sold with the intention of giving 100% of the proceeds to charity. I had the Wear Yellow line for cancer research, the Signature line for various wildlife/environmentalist nonprofits, and my biggest line to date for Autism Speaks.
The Autism Speaks line was created in inspiration of a sorority on my campus, Alpha Xi Delta (AZD), whose sole philanthropy was Autism Speaks. I created the earring because I was interested in joining their sorority and wanted to fit in. Even though, they loved my earrings, I didn’t get recruited by them. I ended up joining Gamma Phi Beta, but remained friends with the AZD’s nonetheless. When their sorority sister, Daphne, passed away I created 25 pairs of earrings, one for each active member of their sorority on our campus. It became one of the most popular earrings out of my collections.
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