About Laura: Co Founder of Fashionability
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, your line of work, what projects you are currently and have been involved in.
Most of my career has been spent as a speaker, author, and educator specializing in disability awareness, accessibility, advocacy, and assistive technology. My vision has always been to teach best practices for communication with people who have disabilities, while showing respect and preserving dignity. My articles have been published in both online and print media, and I am the author of the Accessible Insights Blog. Though I got my start in computer and software retail, I have always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. My first solo enterprise was a consulting business I called Executive Computer Literacy. I’ve been self-employed ever since. I have also developed curricula and provided continuing education instruction for in-home health care workers. Most recently, I created a line of Braille-embossed jewelry and accessories called Elegant Insights Braille Creations, which you can find at http://www.elegantinsightsjewelry.com. One might conclude I have many interests, and that would be correct!
2. What is your background in fashion and style? Tell us a little about how you become interested in this area?
My background is in music, theater, and art. I was a vocal performance major with a theater minor in college, and my intent was always to pursue a career in music. Obviously, that didn’t quite work out as planned, but I must say that speaking in front of an audience is the next best thing to singing in front of one, in my experience. I have always been a patron of the arts, and as a communicator and educator, finding a way to combine everything I love to do in a creative way seems so natural. As the designer for my jewelry line, I am inching ever-nearer to the fashion industry, although I have never thought of myself as a style setter. I do have a passion for fine jewelry, and three generations of women in my family have been avid collectors.
3. How did you come up with the concept of Elegant Insights Braille Creations?
Elegant Insights products were inspired by a gift I received while struggling through an agonizing time in my life, the loss of my beloved husband, Billy. Life is a journey consisting of many twists and turns, some of them painful and difficult to navigate. So, for a bit of inspiration, I was given a tiny little talisman to help me keep moving forward. It was a “worry stone,” with the word “survivor” engraved on one side, and to my surprise, the same word embossed in Braille on the other. Right then and there, the light bulb went on over my head, and the entire concept of the Elegant Insights collection came to me in a single flash of inspiration. It took a couple of years to go from concept to creation, and we now have a beautiful collection of jewelry and accessories that are all hand-crafted, made in the USA, and embossed in crisp, readable, Braille.
4. What would you describe your style as?
Understated elegance. I have never adopted trends or fads, preferring instead to keep my wardrobe simple and tailored. I like clean, classic lines. You would be hard-pressed to go through my wardrobe and find something you could point to as circa any particular year. The classics never go out of style. If I really like a trend, I might incorporate some bit of it into an accessory item, or allow just a suggestion in a single garment or piece of jewelry. Coco Chanel said: “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”
5. With your experience as a business women, what would you say are your top tips for begin successful in what you do?
It depends upon how you define success. that may be different for everyone. Generally, I would advise anyone who wants to start their own business to expect the unexpected, be flexible and pick your battles, trust your instincts, be open-minded to new ideas, try not to take everything personally, and be prepared to work your you-know-what off.
6. What do you hope to achieve with the launch of fashionability? What are your main hopes for the channel?
I’ve had a lifelong passion for serving others, and Fashionability seemed like one way I might do this, while augmenting my business, Elegant Insights. I believed there was something missing from the myriad existing sources of style information, primarily, information that was accessible to people with disabilities. I wanted to find a way to serve this community, but I also needed to learn more about what my target audience wanted. So, I created a survey on the accessibility of fashion, a survey from which I discovered that others found something was missing as well…which they proceeded to tell me about in great detail. After receiving the happy news that my number one choice for a partner in crime…I mean, a collaborator…Emily Davison, was excited about the idea and willing to join me, the project took off.
7. Why do you feel it is important to have a resource like Fashionability?
It seems to me that when most people think of fashion, or more broadly, style, they may think of it only in terms of a visual medium. Further, I think one can argue the point that the fashion industry in general focuses on an ideal of beauty or physical perfection that simply does not exist. Finally, the lack of accessible information suggests that people with disabilities are somehow less interested in looking and feeling their best. I hope that, with the help of Emily and our contributors, we can create a resource inclusive of all walks of life, all ages, all socio-economic strata, all abilities and body types. I want to provide sensible, approachable, fashion and style information that is within reach…of everyone.
And you can find out more about Laura’s jewellery company and foliow her social links via the links below.