Real Dreamers

Real Dreamers The theme for our Spring 2021 collection is “Between Dreams and Reality.” Throughout the season, we’re focusing on celebrating and highlighting the incredible journeys of women who have turned their dreams into a reality.  Meet the dreamers and read their answers to the question:  How have you turned your dream into reality? Cheri & Whitney The Southern Coterie  Athens & St. Simons, GA  Cheri  Turning dreams into reality start with believing in yourself and your concept! And my co-founder of The Southern Coterie, Whitney Long, and I both have a “can-do” spirit, strong work ethic and desire to serve others. So every day we strive to keep the momentum going with new goals and action steps. Ignore the naysayers and focus on your supporters and turning them into your ambassadors. So our hashtag #connectcollaboratecreate is how we turned our dream of building a community for entrepreneurs into a reality.  Whitney  I come from a family of small business owners - brick and mortar, product and customer-driven - so I know first hand what it's like to own your business. Lots of peaks and valleys, sometimes a rollercoaster, but even with that, having entrepreneurial blood in my veins, I knew that one day, I wanted to own my own business. I just never dreamed it would be helping other business owners and entrepreneurs bring their dreams to life or helping them grow their own businesses!  To see how I was able to take that entrepreneurial spirit and mix it with my creative side and successfully bring The Southern Coterie to life with our continuing education, events, membership and super supportive community is full circle and so rewarding! What's the saying "do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life " - that's sums it up and how thankful I am to feel this way! Click here to visit Cheri & Whitney 's website!Dorothy, Dorothy Shain, Greenville, SC When I was a junior in college, I had the incredible opportunity to sail completely around the world, for four months, on a program called Semester at Sea. During that time, I saw so many things and met so many people that would change my life for the better. I remember thinking - how do I return to a normal life after this? How do I sit ina cube for 8 hours a day after I graduate? I felt called to do something I loved, make an impact on my community, and spend the rest of my life learning. Several cities and cube jobs later, I was unhappy, pigeon-holed and daydreamingto itch the creative scratch in my soul. While it tookYEARS to get my business to gain momentum, and I hadto have side hustles to make it happen, I felt empowered that I was finally in charge of the amount of money I made,I oversaw the direction I wanted to head towards, and I could determine the rate I wanted to achieve my dreams. This is how my dreams have become a reality. I wake up excited for what the day brings. Click here to visit Dorothy 's website!Lindsey & Liz Weezie towels  Atlanta & Savanna, GA   Lindsey:  Prior to launching Weezie, I had plans to go intoVenture Capital. When Liz approached me with theidea for Weezie, I made a pivot and haven’t looked back.I can’t imagine it any other way! To me, regardless of what dream you’re chasing, it’s all about having the right mentality: working hard, not being afraid of failure,and maintaining resilience. For anyone looking to makea change, go for it! Challenge yourself, ask questions,and network, network, network.  Liz:  As my dad always told me growing up, the harder youwork, the luckier you get. Never has this been truer thanin running my own company! We spent a year and a half researching and developing the perfect towel before launching Weezie...and the hard work certainly didn’tend there! There are lots of early mornings, late nightsand weekends, but it is so worthwhile. Being an entrepreneur and Creative Director of Weezie hasbeen unbelievably fulfilling and rewarding — totallyworth the grind!Click here to visit Lindsey & Liz 's website!Madelaine Mavec Collections Chagrin Falls, OH  Ever since I was a little girl I always knew I wanted to do something that encompassed all my passions — painting, being creative, designing, retail and events. I didn’t always have a clear vision on how it would all come together or even what it would exactly be but that dream was always a part of me. I wanted to have my own business, work for myself and a space of my own full of all my colorful creations.  Fast forward to today, I bet on myself and because of that I am living my dream everyday. Looking back, my journey involved a lot of self doubt. It took me a while to trust myself, believe in my purpose and cut out all the noise. Now, I break all the rules — I’ve finally given up trying to fit the mold and have created my own way of doing it. My business has never done better and I’ve never felt better!  Walking into my studio, my happy place, always reminds me how far I’ve come. I look around and see all my paintings and the products I have created and I smile. When a customer comes in and buys from me I still get a rush. Every. Single. Time. They could shop anywhere and they chose to shop with me. I don’t take that lightly. Seeing the excitement on their face from something I made or designed brings me even more joy. I am so incredibly grateful to all my customers for supporting me and helping my company become what it is today. I can’t imagine doing anything else and I tell everyone I have the best job! I live by never giving up on your dreams especially when it's hard. Click here to visit Madelaine's website!AmandaSouthern Baked Pie CompanyGainesville, GA Starting a business gives you the opportunity to learn so many things about yourself that you may not have known beforehand. When I started Southern Baked Pie Company out of my home, I was young and hungry, which worked to my benefit. I wasn’t ashamed to start out peddling my pies in the pouring rain at a festival or pretend I knew how to ship pies all over the United States, when actually I had no experience or knowledge of how to do so. I naively told myself I could do it and I did. I quickly learned that I had more courage than I ever dreamed and that I wasn’t as scared of the unknown and failure as I thought I would be. I had no idea I would grow my pie making passion into a “real” company. Knowing what I know today, 8 years and a lot of wrinkles later, I would do it all over again. There were definitely challenges, but the joy of owning my own food company and making a delicious product that brings people comfort and joy has been completely worth it.Click here to visit Amanda's website!Marianne Marianne Angeli Rodriguez Gallery Covington, LA As a first-generation immigrant to the US and self-taught artist, I've dedicated my work to growing a business that supports my family and positively impacts my community. It's a dream come true to operate my gallery and bring joy to people with color and creativity.Click here to visit Marianne's website!Kelly Kelly Wynne  Austin, TX  For me, the dream and passion to do good in the world started at home. It was my parents who always encouraged me to dream big and then stood by me, cheering me on. They were and are my balcony people. My mom taught me about leading a “balcony life,” devoted to bringing out the best in others and myself. In 2013, I created the first Kelly Wynne handbag sitting at my parent's kitchen counter, surrounded by love and support. That first bag led me to being called to run a business dedicated to helping women look and feel fabulous, but designing beautiful products is only part of my journey. As a wife, mom, daughter, entrepreneur, and female business owner, I am dedicated to being a balcony person to others, lifting them up to have the confidence to follow their dreams, just as my mom has taught me. At Kelly Wynne, we celebrate all the little and big accomplishments for ourselves and for each other. We do it because it’s easy to forget how far we’ve come, how strong we are, and how much good we can do. We want every woman to feel confident in pursuing her dreams, so when you need us, we’ll be here, in your balcony (handbag in tow!) rooting for your wins! Click here to visit Kelly's website!Catherine Little Thief Florals  Atlanta, GA  I’ve always known I need to make things—to get inthere with my hands and get a little messy—but for the majority of my life I thought that meant fine art. Skipahead past years of training, college classes, and blind determination to my quarter life crisis. I get my first real corporate job with a paycheck and everything, but before my desk is even decorated, pandemic. I was furloughedright off the bat, and felt like I might be failing all overagain, when suddenly I saw there the perfect opportunityto ride out the weirdness by doing something elseI loved: arranging flowers.  Every arrangement I make feels like a painting, butone that is custom both to the client and the season; notwo are alike! I get to curate and create something brand new everyday. A crummy situation ended up becomingmy dream job, and I get to make it look however I like.Click here to check out Catherine’s website!Gregg Gregg Irby Gallery Atlanta, GA By following my passion for art and entrepreneurship & encouraging ourartists to do the same.Click here to check out Gregg’s website!Evelyn Evelyn Henson Charlotte, NC Led by the mantra "painting is a celebration of life," I seekto create stylish art that colorfully celebrates the everyday.I look at places and things, but most of my paintings begin when I think about others and what I can paint to brighten their day. I started first by selling prints on Etsy and have since grown the brand to include calendars, stationery,and other gift items. Whether I'm painting a 40 ft wall ora greeting card, I'm always thinking about how I cancreate art that fills others with sunshine.Click here to check out Evelyn’s website!EmilyEmily PizzaNew York, NYA confluence of hard work, good luck, and building the skills of resiliency in the face of unexpected challenge after challenge. Meeting dreams is not always some magical journey, and I think it’s important to be honest about how success emerges. Mine has come as a result of being swallowed head first into the abyss of opening a mom and pop small restaurant, which became a catalyst for absolute sea change in my life. It destroyed my marriage, overwhelmed my capacity to handle day to day circumstances, and led me to lose my sense of self in the process. Thankfully, “the wound is the place the light enters” (Rumi) and it was from this moment of total vulnerability where growth happened. I had no choice but to pivot and start doing the work of one breath at a time. I was able to land my feet on the ground, reconnect to my creative outlets like poetry and yin yoga as nourishment, and reinvent my role as the restaurant continued to take shape and evolve. Now, I’m content, finding better balance, and trying my best to live from a place of gratitude.Click here to check out Emily’s website!Caroline Sweet Caroline Designs Shreveport, LA  I knew I always wanted to do something creative,whether it was own a store or a design business or something in the design world. I have always been artsyand got a BA in Art from the University of Mississippi.I focused on Graphic Design and quickly started Sweet Caroline Designs right out of college so it's been about11 years. The business has evolved so much through the years, from having a small gift and stationery shop to wholesale to now running a blog and online stationeryshop and the most important job, being a mom toMignonne and Margot. I truly love what I do and reallylove where the business is at. Never in a million yearsdid I think I would get to do what I love and also be amom to my girls. I hope they are proud of me one dayand everything I do is for them. I've always been a big dreamer but also if you have a good idea why notgo for it! Can't wait to see what the future holds :)Click here to check out Caroline's website!Meg Meg Indy  Atlanta, GA  The journey to becoming an artist was more than a single leap of faith—it was a daily practice of only saying "YES!" to the things that ignite my spirit. These decisions, both big and small, inform my work and allow me to show up to the studio as my truest self.Click here to check out Meg's website!Carrie Callie's Hot Little Biscuit Charleston, SC I had a dream of creating a specialty food business that allowed me to also be a present, stay-at-home Mom while our daughters grow up... That is exactly what I have done!  Carrie’s recipe for success is hardwork (a pinch of motivation), listening (a dash of understanding) and striving to be better (better like butter) everyday.Click here to check out Carrie's website!Kelley & Berkeley House of Nomad Charlotte, NC We are big believers of if you can envision it you can build it... it takes staying true to who you are and following your gut. A little risk taking goes a long way too!Click here to check out Kelley & Berkeley’s websiteMollie & Taylor CROSBY by Mollie Burch Atlanta, GA  Mollie:  My dream has always been to design clothing that encourages women to celebrate who they are through what they’re wearing. I always knew I wanted to create a print driven brand that was playful, bright, and could dress women of all ages and sizes. It was also important that Ifind a way to use my designs to aid in the fight against human trafficking, another deep passion of mine. Taylor and I were roommates at the time we decided to start CROSBY. She had the business savvy that I was lacking and also had the itch for entrepreneurship. The timing and partnership was right, so together we founded CROSBY!  Taylor: I saw Mollie's passion for the world of fashion and our focus on a social impact mission made this a clear decision for me to jump on board!  Together:  It's been 5 years of grit, tenacity, perseverance and ultimate gratification. We could not have made this dream a reality without our incredible customers and support system. We love making women feel confident and beautiful, and making getting dressed FUN!  Allison Allison James Co  Perry, GA  Since I was little I always dreamed of being an artist. But I've always had such a calling to help others, too. I'm an old soul. After a long journey to reach this career as a professional artist + creative guide, I get to help other artists find confidence within their own careers while I make work to show around the country and sell from my studio. The dichotomy of my job(s) allows me to wake up every morning full of gratitude to be able to do what I do. This career isn't for the faint of heart but it is absolutely possible. My dream is making others realize their dreams as creatives are possible, too. Click here to check out Allison's websiteMolly Red Clay Hot Sauce  Charleston, SC  The first step is seeing that the dream is the journey itself—not any one destination. Building a business is a long road, and it’s important to truly love what you’re doing in the present moment and to believe in the impact your business is making for others. That is the fulfilling part, the part that fills your heart—not any outward form of acknowledgment or success.  Also, few things ever go the way you expect all the time, and that’s fine. There’s no one right-or-wrong move. The key to success in entrepreneurship is perseverance—being willing to pivot, flex, change course when an obstacle appears or the market changes.  Also, I know I need reminders to take quality time away from work. Even when you love what you're doing, running your own business can be all-encompassing. You need to make sure you make time for play and joy outside of work—with family, with girlfriends or alone creatively. Time to pause and bring back a fresh perspective can do wonders for your own wellbeing and your business' long-term health by preventing burn-out and reigniting inspiration.Click here to check out Molly's websiteMargaret & Jamey J. Lowery Birmingham, AL & Memphis, TN  Margaret:  For me it took getting out of my own way. I am my own biggest hurdle and I needed a little nudge from a friend (aka Jamey) :) It takes a lot of courage to “take the leap” and I am thankful I had someone to jump with me. The first step is always the hardest and getting off the ground can be defeating at times, but if you work hard and stick with it you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.  Jamey:  From a very young age I wanted to be a "businesswoman" just like my Mom. As I continued through college and graduated I truly thought a life as an entrepreneur was out of reach. My dream became a reality when my best friend and business partner, Margaret, asked me to take a chance and start our own business. We work every day to make our dream a reality and what we have learned thus far is you to never stop working at it. It's harder than we could have ever imagined but truly our dream, and our family's dream, is coming true each day we keep going. Click here to check out Jamey & Margaret's website Kelsey Kelsey Butcher Photo  Atlanta, GA  A lot of years of putting in the hours, gaining experience, networking and building friendships, really pushing myself creatively, and desiring to make people feel loved have all turned my dream into a reality in equal measure. But more than anything, because of God from whom all my provision and purpose flows, my support system that constantly encourages me, the clients who continually believe in this dream, and just staying true to who I am, my business has flourished and thrived. I've been able to freely be me as I create and to put my heart into building this business, and that's been more than I could have ever dreamed up for myself. Click here to check out Kelsey's website Leigh L. Williams Closet Edit  Atlanta, GA  Lot’s of hard work, staying authentic to who I am and allowing myself to make mistakes! I wake up every single day and am inspired to keep sharing and finding ways to help women define their style through affordable and attainable looks. Very thankful to have tapped into a part of myself that can not only create happiness in other people, but fulfill me in ways I never knew was possible! Click here to check out Leigh's website Sarah 3 Parks Wine Shop Atlanta, GA 8 years later I still pinch myself each and every day to make sure I'm not dreaming. I truly have my dream job. But this is just the beginning! I have barely scraped the surface of all the things to come! I love what I do and I'm not afraid to work really hard at it. I'm always optimistic and I keep positive energy flowing all around me, that includes people. And the best part of loving life and being a dreamer at heart, the ideas and wishes always become a reality.Click here to check out Sarah's website Lydia Author & Auctioneer  New York, NY  If I see something I want I keep trying until it happens — no matter how many times I hear theword no I keep going after it. Click here to check out Lydia’s website!