Dewberries founder Jacquelyn Kennedy strives to uplift and celebrate with her line of clothing and wellness products. Additionally, she’s an intuitive healer and tarot reader who runs a non-profit organization, Sky Earth Fire, with Ifalade TaShia Asanti.
From comedy shows to poetry events and her new Goddess Rising Gathering, she touches the lives of hundreds of women who are interested in living their dreams.
What do you do and why?
I am the President and CEO of Dewberries, Inc., an award-winning, nationally celebrated line of urban clothing, beauty and wellness products, cultural and spiritual products. I am also the co-founder of Sky Earth Fire Organization, a non-profit organization that produces wellness events and gatherings for women in an effort to promote healthy living.
What did you do before you started your company?
Worked as a director of admissions for an academic institution and launched my first company, Black Butterfly Creations, a line of chic, urban jewelry.
How did you come up with the idea for your company?
Dewberries are sweet, juicy, edible berries that require one to be extremely thoughtful in removing them from the vine. In the process of picking them, you will come across thorns, spiders, mosquitoes and bees. The idea is that to enjoy dewberries, you have to be fully present and be the best you. When you do fill your basket, you find out that dewberries are among the sweetest, most delectable berries ever.
Why did you name your fashion line Dewberries?
The nature of dewberries relates to how women can either uplift or break each other down. If you can harvest the beauty of sisterhood and girl power, you are a true Dewberry. Dewberries are about uplifting, motivating and inspires each person to be the best and to get beyond our surface exterior to the beautiful spirit inside of each one of us.
And finally, I wanted to design clothes and jewelry that made women feel good about themselves—clothes that encourage them to love their bodies, celebrate their curves and increase their confidence. I added an urban flair that highlights America’s rich, diverse history. The results were a huge hit. I’ve dressed stars and everyday people—all of whom love my designs—over the 11 years since I launched my line.
What’s the single most important piece of advice you received when first starting your company? What would you tell a young entrepreneur in turn?
First and foremost, master self-care. Know that you will always come first, staying healthy mentally and physically is imperative. Customer service is key. Knowing your market and creating a want or need for your merchandise. Spend time mastering your craft and do all the necessary research on how to run a successful business. Strive for excellence and think outside the box. And never, ever give up!
What aspect of business ownership came as the biggest surprise to you?
Taxes are very high for independent business owners. It’s really important to understand how tax laws work so that you don’t get stuck with a big tax bill.
What do you find most rewarding about owning a business?
The freedom to create and manage my own schedule. Also, I love the opportunities to mentor and inspire people. The opportunities for financial freedom and growth are endless.
Where do you see yourself / your company in five years?
I see my company and my designs among the great designers of my era, in leading stores and upscale boutiques. My hope to is make the Dewberries brand a household name and to break the glass ceiling as a fashion designer.
What resources would you recommend to someone who is contemplating starting her own business?
Join a Chamber of Commerce, attend executive networking forums, talk to others who’ve done what you’re trying to do.
What would you say is the single most important key to sustaining a business long term?
Networking, relationships with people that see and believe in your vision.
What obstacles did you face in establishing your company and how did you overcome them?
Like most businesses, I had to raise the capital to launch my business. I was very fortunate to have doors open that allowed me to gather the resources I needed to get my business started.
To support loyal readers of Lesbian.com, Kennedy is offering a buy one item, get the second at half off on her new Kama Sutra Goddess line at luvthatdewberries.com. Use promo code GODDESS at check out.