One part of running Mommy Mailbox that we didn’t really anticipate was all amazing women entrepreneurs we’d get to meet. Many of them start their businesses with little except passion for what they’re doing and we love hearing their bootstrapping stories.
Dana from Dia’s Jewels, the shop behind this month’s stunning statement necklace, chatted with us today about the path that led her to fashion and the amazing her shop supports. See the full August box here.
Tell us a little about you and your background.
My inspiration for fashion stemmed from my mother who was a fashionista herself. She would make beautiful intricate jewelry that would literally stop a crowd. Everywhere we would go, people would stop and ask where she got her jewelry. Even Nordstrom noticed and started buying her accessories!
My passion for fashion grew stronger as the years went by. I was always known as the girl that was best dressed and even won the most accessorized in junior high. Girls would come to me for fashion advice, and that would make me feel good because it came so naturally. Fashion is definitely in my blood!
My first job was in retail, no surprise there. I worked as a sales associate at Nordstrom and I thought to myself "this is where I belong! And can this get any better?" I was definitely in my element helping women find the perfect outfit for a night out or that special occasion. I loved seeing their joy when that dress fit them just right or an accessory that pulled a certain outfit together. I realized this is my niche, this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, fashion. Shortly after high school I enrolled in FIDM of San Francisco, and earned a degree in Merchandise Marketing. Fast forward to today, I run my own company, Dia's Jewels.
Tell us why you started Dia's Jewels and the cause behind it.
I set out on the journey to create Dia’s Jewels in 2013. I wanted to find a way to combine my love for fashion while giving back to my community. Today Dia's Jewels brings beautiful and affordable statement jewelry to women of all ages while raising awareness for human trafficking. A portion of every purchase supports victims of human trafficking.
You shared some astounding statistics with me about trafficking in our country. Could you share those with us?
Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, making it a 32 billion dollar industry worldwide. The UN estimates that there are between 800,000 to 4 million men, women and children that are deceived, recruited and sold in slavery around the world each year; 80% of them being sold in to sex slavery.
Why is human trafficking still so relatively unknown in the US?
According to the Department of Justice, human trafficking is a largely hidden crime that has recently gained the attention of law enforcement. Although there are millions of people being trafficked today, many of them are silent. Their traffickers teach them to distrust others outsiders, especially law enforcement. They think that if they do come forward, they will be deported. While many of these victims are women and children who have been beaten or raped, their current situation may still be better than where they came from.
What can we do as citizens to be aware and to help stop it?
The first thing that we can do to be aware of Human Trafficking is to educate ourselves. By educating ourselves we are able to learn how to identify a victims involved in human trafficking. A couple red flags include signs of physical abuse, submissive or fearful, living with an employer and the inability to speak to individuals alone.
Since Human Trafficking is so foreign to most people in the United States, creating awareness is key. Tell your family, friends and community about Human Trafficking and its impact. The third thing to do would be to take action. There are a number of Non-Profit organizations fighting to end Human Trafficking; get involved today!
What is your goal with your shop?
Our goal is simple. We want to bring fashion accessories to women of all ages and continue the fight against human trafficking. Dia's Jewels has the ability to transform the casual outfit, make a women feel fashionable and beautiful, and best of all each sale brings us one step closer to eliminating human trafficking.