Do you sometimes wish you could just stand up from your desk and walk away? Have you always dreamed of doing something and never actually started? This article is about a friend of mine, Qwynne Winslow, who asked herself these questions and came up with one simple answer: “You never know if you don’t try”.
This answer led her to creating Q’s Clothiers. Currently offering a selection of handmade silk and blended fabric scarfs, Qwynne intends to eventually expand her company to deliver beautiful and well-made clothes to her customers. She has a surprising twist to her business plan though. 10% of everything Q’s Clothiers sells will be donated to non-profits and eventually even the clothing will be made by refugees and women rescued from sex trafficking. As Qwynne told me, “I want to give back to the global community and help marginalized women provide for themselves.”
But how did she get started and how can you do the same?
Have a vision
Qwynne’s dream of combining her passions for fashion and non-profit work actually sprang from on offhand comment someone made to her. “Someone asked me what brand of clothes I liked to wear and a friend answered – she wants to have her own line of clothing.” After realizing the truth in that statement Qwynne got to work, she “sat down in a coffee shop, wrote down ideas, and started researching and talking to others in the field.” She even moved to a different city to be closer to a hub of the fashion industry. After making some connections in the fashion community Qwynne contacted people she knew who were part of non-profit organizations to help women. The goal had always been to combine her passions and this vision gave her the drive she needed to take the next steps.
Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks
She saved what she could from her day job and eventually made the jump, quit her job and moved to Florida. “It’s a risk, but I don’t think I am made for a typical desk job and I had this idea I wanted to pursue and was at a point when I could, so I just thought I’d try.” After making a “vision” plan and registering her LLC she began to research fabric, the best kind of scarfs, packaging, branding, and marketing. She encourages anyone who wants to start their own business to do as much research as possible and, “not be overwhelmed by everything and take small steps, take one task at a time.”
Have a plan
After several months work she has sold her first products (yes I own one!), hired her first employees and will have her debut event – to show case her collection – in a few weeks. “My debut event is a house party, but I didn’t want it to be a party where I was just pushing my product on people. Q’s Clothiers is supposed to be about more than that. So for a more value added experience I am having an inspirational speaker come, as well as, a photographer for mini photo-shoots. That way everyone can have fun trying on the accessories and getting their photographs taken.” Qwynne will also be launching her website soon. The site will likely provide the bulk of her sales, though she will also be partnering with local boutiques.
I know for many of us this appears to be an impossible dream. Student loans, family duties, and lack of experience seem insurmountable odds, but when I asked Qwynne what surprised her about starting her own business she admitted that, “everything I have done has been so brand new it’s all been a surprise.” But that she was also surprised by “how supportive and helpful and encouraging everyone has been. That’s really been a blessing.” Qwynne’s idea of combining luxury and charity is just one reason I wanted to feature her on Pearls Before Bling, because really – how much classier can you get? But I also wanted to encourage you to be inventive and see what you can do by combining your own passions. You might just surprise yourself.