We scheduled an early interview after we both dropped our children off at school which meant around 9:30am worked best for us to meet. Myisha who is the designer behind the wonderful chunky jewelry designs sold at the“Brace Yourself Boutique.” She is the brand behind the jewelry, every bit of what I would think bohemian style would be. She has a confident yet calm demeanor with a friendly upbeat personality. Something like a girlfriend you have known for years would be like, just hanging out discussing life. As I drove to her home in Fontana, I myself have only been living in Southern California for 2 years, so even with the availablity of mapquest I felt more comfortable about having Myisha instruct me as I got closer to her exit. When she opened the door I was greeted with a friendly hug. I stepped into her beautifully decorated home with walls painted in a soothing blue color, that I will describe as a “Tiffany” blue with a hint of grey, I love the color. This was the prelude for the tone of our visit. She had told me she enjoyed coffee as do I and she lead the way to through the kitchen where the family room was located also and with coffee in hand we began having great conversation instead of just a interview. We ended up talking for hours about many aspects of business, then I finally remembered to ask the "interview" questions. And here is what she had to say:
Where did you first get the idea to start your business?
It was really organic the way my business began. I was a new Mom and looking for a way to earn extra income due to the increased expenses of having a child :-) I'd always loved accessorizing, and decided to start making my own pieces, and possibly making them for others. I started wearing my creations at work and co-workers began asking me to design jewelry for them. That was in 2000. I didn't officially put a name to my business, or obtain licensing for Brace Yourself Boutique until 2007 when I decided to become a small business owner.
On your website you said your goal was to create timeless and funky jewelry that transcends changing trends. How do you judge if you are meeting that goal?
I judge if I am meeting my goal by speaking with my clients. I don't always have time to talk on the phone, but I like to think that I'm very "email" accesible. I try very hard to follow up regularly, and make sure that my clients are satisfied with their purchases to ensure they are getting multiple usage out of their baubles. My goal is to create jewlery that people can wear anytime of the day or night. Whether it be on date night with their partner, shopping with the girls, or on a Sunday afternoon at the local grocery market. I love receiving feedback from my clients...good, or bad. My clients are who keep me in business, and if I don't know how they truly feel about my collections or products, then I'm not being true to my mission which is to create pieces that are timeless and always stylish for them.
You first created “Brace Yourself Boutique” in 2007. Why did you choose this name?
Honestly, Brace Yourself (I added the Boutique when I opened my online store) was chosen because my initial idea and focus was to create ONLY bracelets. Hence the name Brace Yourself. However, over the years I began receiving request for other items, so my business grew and evolved which I am truly happy about. So now since I have many other business ideas and ventures (Sip n' Shop, Farmer's Market 09') the name Brace Yourself has taken on a new meaning for me. It now represents my declaration to express myself, and my creativity in whatever outlet that may be for me. Skies the limited, so Brace Yourself!
November 2007 you created the event called “Sip n Shop” Girls Night Out. Why?
I created Sip n' Shop for several reasons. First, because I live in a developing community with a shortage of events for the community and I wanted to create something for working moms, single moms, and hardworking women to do that was an alternative to the club. Next, I saw it as an excellent opportunity to present women business owners to the my community where they could expose their wares and services to a target market. Last but certainly not least, it's an opportunity for me to donate a portion of the proceeds to organizations that benefit children.
WoW! A new collection every 2-3 months, where do you get your ideas and how do you keep creativity flowing?
I get my ideas from just about anywhere and everywhere. I love fashion, home decor, various music genres, travel, art...the list goes on and on, so I draw tons of inspiration from my loves and from other designers as well. I work hard to produce seasonal collections to give women the opportunity to change jewelry with their clothing every couple of months or so.
I noticed that for a fairly new indie designer you are making moves. You have you jewelry being sold in boutiques even in Texas how did you make that happen?
I am thrilled to have my wares in a few boutiques! Well I definitely don't take my business lightly, and if I see a great fit/opportunity for my jewelry to be in a certain boutique, I contact the owner or buyer ASAP and set up a meet. I've literally drove to various boutiques (door to door style) and asked owners if they would be interested in carrying my jewelry. That's how I sold to my first boutique in Claremont, Ca. The other two businesses contacted me. The boutique in Texas saw my wares on myspace, and the other was a referral from a client. It's all about working hard to make sure your product is where YOU want it to be. Networking is key (myspace, facebook, etsy, indie fabulous, sip n' shop, etc.), blogging to promote your business, believing in your product, and most importantly remaining timely and professional in all aspects of the business. I also recomment participating in local events, fairs, and trade shows. Many of my clients and newsletter subscribers are people I've met participating in fairs, and various shows throughout California.
Brace Yourself Boutique
Receive 15% off by using the code: THANKS08 at checkout.
Creating Wearable Art and gaining a following for her bohemian style. Go to her online Boutique, but be aware the pieces are very enticing you just may find something you can't live without.