entrepreneur & girl class editor, Alyssa
Girls often ask me if I was a Fashion or Business major in College, or if starting a jewelry brand was something I always knew I wanted to do - and the answer is it wasn’t.
I started my business in 2011 during my senior year at the University of Delaware where I majored in Psychology and Chinese. It began from a place of feeling lost - I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation and it struck me during my Junior year.. what I refer to as my “mid-college crisis”. I didn’t know who I was, or what I wanted.
My friends all had internships at that point and I had spent my time working in research labs. There was this feeling inside of me that knew I was craving something more and that the path I was on ultimately wasn’t for me. I decided to take action and get involved on campus doing things out of my comfort zone. I joined a group called Students for Haiti, spent a Spring break building a house with Habitat for Humanity, got more involved with my Sorority, and took up more hours at my part time job working at a boutique. I expanded my friend group and started to focus on experiences that felt soul fulfilling. I would spend hours on my bed with a notebook making lists - the things I liked, the things I didn’t like, people and places that inspired me - I wanted to write out who I was on paper..who was I? My lists would include everything big and small from I loved the color purple to I loved connecting with people. From these lists I created vision boards with images that represented who I was the goals I started to realize for myself. It suddenly struck me that creating my own business that would allow me creative freedom, inspire confidence and connectivity with other girls my age, while giving back would combine all the things I loved most.
Feeling lost ended up being the biggest blessing in disguise. Looking back on where I started, making jewelry on my bedroom floor in my college apartment to now exhibiting at trade shows around the country - everything has to start somewhere. It doesn’t happen overnight and its okay to not know the answers right away. Failure, growing, learning, highs, lows, and everything in between - every step of your journey is beautiful and makes you who you are. You don’t need to have it all figured out, its in taking a step back to listen to yourself and figure out who you really are that the answers will start to come.
I chose the name f.y.b for my brand to stand for “follow your bliss”, a quote that has been deeply meaningful to me my whole life. I wanted a name and mantra that would inspire other girls to follow theirs whatever that may be - its about trusting your gut, taking chances, doing the unexpected and following what excites you. I follow my bliss by surrounding myself with people who uplift and inspire me, by doing one thing each day that makes me happy (whether its pouring a good cup of coffee and listening to an inspiring podcast or getting dinner with girlfriends) and by always trusting my intuition. Your gut will never steer you wrong.
My advice to you girls is to start to take note - when something excites you, follow it. Try different things - you won’t know what you like or don’t like until you try a variety of things. Keep an open mind and an open heart. Confidence is something that builds, focus on doing things you are proud of. There is nothing in this world you can’t have or achieve once you believe you can have it. When you do things from a place of passion and love, the rest will fall into place, I promise.