Day 12 of the ENTREPRENEURIAL SERIES!!  PLEASE make sure you READ, COMMENT, TAKE NOTES, and SHOW SOME LOVE to the fabulous folks doing awesome things! ~ 
Be Inspired!!!~

Chari Twitty-Hawkins – Houston, TX. – ChariTs Inspirational Creations  
Tell the readers a little bit about yourself
I am a first and foremost a blessed woman of God.  I am blessed to be a stay at home mom of twins with a passion for inspiring others!  I love learning, the arts, rocking my natural hair, being green, being a wife and so much more!
Explain what type of business you operate?  I create handmade inspirational jewelry! Religious jewelry, natural hair earrings, cause awareness, going green, motherhood, the arts, sorority jewelry…anything that promotes positivity, I can make it for you! You can find my inspirational creations at www.cicinspireme.com.
How long have you been in business? Almost 2 years right after I had my babies.
How did you get the name for your business? I was raised volunteering and helping others in my younger years and have a heart for charity. I took the word charity and spelled it with my nickname (Chari) and added my then last initial (T) to the end. Then I added Inspirational Creations to become ChariT’s Inspirational Creations because my jewelry is made to inspire! (Regina: VERY Creative!)
What motivated you to start this type of business?
After the birth of my twins, I was laid off which some would consider a bad thing. I consider it a blessing in disguise. During those first CRAZY months of taking care of my twins I said God I need to do something for me. I asked Him Lord what do you want me to do? Then one day I was on Etsy looking at all of the unique handmade things and thought hmm I could make my own jewelry. But what kind? Then it came to me, I love to inspire people so why not make jewelry with an inspirational theme? And the idea was born!
What are your top 5 must have business tools/aids? A great support system! I have learned the importance of this as a business owner. I am currently a member of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs and ibloom. Also a great marketing strategy, determination, a willingness to learn ALWAYS, and great customer service! (Regina: ALL Awesome tools, You can do nothing without support, determination, and good customer service!!)
Where do you see your business in 5 years? I see my business branching out into motivational speaking and performing. I am a lover of poetry, dance, theatre, and music and plan to get back into those areas of my life to inspire others!
Okay, so speaking of inspiration, what inspires you?
God inspires me, living my purpose, and seeing others live their passion and purpose in life thus giving others permission to do the same!
Who is your business icon or who’s business ethic do you admire?
My business icon is Oprah Winfrey. She has a superb team, helps others, and has her hands in so many business ventures. I love it!
If you were standing in front of a room full of hopeful, promising, entrepreneurs what would you say to them?
I would tell them to live their passion and purpose! To never give up, always be willing to learn, have a great support system personally and professionally and a great mentor too! God is behind them so there is nothing they can’t do!
FABULOUS!! I am definitely a fan of your work! You are indeed very inspiring!


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AfriqueLaChic & Afua Kumasi -The Interview!

If you checked out my blog post HERE or HERE than you know what today’s post is all about! For those of you who have been too … uh, BUSY to check out my posts, I will clue you in.

I recently ran across a website that sells African inspired, hand crafted, jewelry. Not only did the artist, creator, entrepreneur send me some beautiful purchases but she graciously agreed to an interview! So below you have it. Words from the woman herself! Ms. Afua Kumasi! Enjoy! (This post features models wearing some of her fashions)

How long have you been making and selling jewelry?

I have been making jewelry since I was 5 years old and I am thirty eight right now so that is about 33 years. My mother was a jewelry artist and allowed me to make jewelry with her as soon as I was able to hold and use the tools.

I started selling my jewelry at craft fairs, festivals, and African marketplaces about ten years ago and move onto the internet about two years ago because I knew it would open up a larger market for me.

How did you get started with your business?

It all started with the African marketplaces and customers asking how they could by my items on a regular basis so I decided to start doing business on a regular basis via the internet. That is when I opened my AfriqueLaChic on etsy.com and acquired the proper licenses to do business.

What is the inspiration behind your designs?

I love African culture from food to art and wanted my jewelry to reflect what I love. I try to use traditional African styles, and materials to create an authentic looking piece of African jewelry. I also wanted to create jewelry that complimented the traditional beauty of African women so I use styles and colors that our ancestors would have worn.

Do you personally make all your products or do you have assistants?

I personally create all my own pieces but I also sell vintage African pieces that are hard to find. In the future I plan to open my own website and also feature creations by other African artist from all over the world.

How did you come up with the name AfriqueLaChic?

AfriqueLaChic is French and I chose the name because I was dealing with a lot of African customers in France and trying to learn French to better communicate and that name just popped into my head. I now get a lot of French customer because of the name.

Do you have a store or do you sell primarily online?

Right now I am solely online except for a few craft fairs and festivals I attend. I am not currently looking from a store front because I enjoy being able to reach customers all over the world online. Selling online also allows me to offer great prices to my customers without incorporating the cost of running a store front into my prices.

Where do you see your business ten years from now?

I would love to open several boutiques online with specific niches such as mens jewelry, natural hair jewelry, tribal jewelry etc. I would also like to be wholesaling my products to other vendors around the world. Hopefully the name AfriqueLaChic will grow amongst the African communities around the world.

Where is the strangest place you got an order from? And where is the farthest?

My strangest order came from Helsinki Finland and was for dread lock jewelry. The farthest order came from Sydney Australia for a pair of silver ankh earrings. It is really nice trading with people all over the world and having them enjoy my art.

Do you have anything you want to share with other would be entrepreneurs?

Yes. I would love to tell new and seasoned entrepreneurs something that my mom told me years ago and that is you have to spend money to make money. Opening a monthly budget for paid advertising will be a big part of your success. If you are not getting the word out about your business then it will have trouble growing. If it is possible try advertising with large companies such as google and yahoo. Advertising can be costly but it can greatly expand your customer base.

What do you think is one of the secrets to your success?

I think all of my success stems from my love of the craft. Making jewelry is not a job but a much love hobby that I enjoy doing every day. I am always enthusiastic about creating new pieces, marketing my jewelry, and finding creative ways to make a sale. I truly love what I am doing.

What do you want people to know about AfriqueLaChic that we haven’t covered?

I want to share that many of the beads I incorporate into my pieces come from all over the world. I love using natural elements such as stone, wood, sea shells, coconut shells etc. I use a lot of African trade beads hand made in Africa along with vintage brass African mask pendants. I create a broad range of styles from modern to ancient African inspired styles to compliment our beauty.

Any last comments?

Yes please check out my store and tell me what you think http://www.afriquelachic.etsy.com

Please go buy and check out Afua Kumasi and her website. With Mother’s Day around the corner I am sure you will find this website very helpful!

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You Won’t Believe This

Wordless Wednesday # 45 AfriqueLaChic!

Take a look at a few of the beautiful custom made fashionable pieces of jewelry by Afua Kamasi!
Come by tomorrow to read the interview with this Fascinating and Creative Entrepreneur!
Jewelery sold at AfriqueLaChic!

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