Happy First Friday of 2015! I've had the pleasure of knowing this week's "Millennial on a Mission" for a few years, and I've been blown away by her creativity since the day we met. She's not only a talented self-taught graphic and web designer, but has recently launched her own jewelry company, ERIN/ANDERSON. that looks to provide young women professionals with quality, stylish products at an affordable price.
I'd like for you to meet Avonda Turner.
A southern girl with a love for the city, Avonda is a graduate for Old Dominion University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications & Public Relations. "While interning as public relations associate at two the nations top brand agencies BCF and The Martin Agency," Avconda says, "I decided that my passion was in the design of identities and campaigns and decided to purchase the Adobe Create Suite and teach myself graphic design." With 5+ years of freelance and corporate graphic /web design experience under her belt, she stepped out an faith to follow her passion and founded ERIN/ANDERSON, the online destination for #desktodinner fashion jewelry.
CC: Who/what inspired you to start ERIN/ANDERSON? Have you always been drawn to express yourself when it comes to jewelry design? What have been some challenges in launching your own business, and what have you learned from them?
AV: It seemed simple enough. As a shopper I couldn’t help but feel as though retailers treated jewelry as an after-thought, a fact that was apparent by the shopping experiences of myself and many of my peers. Either jewelry was way “out-of-the-budget” or extremely cheap in quality. So I set out to fix this. Honing my brand architectural experience I founded ERIN/ANDERSON, the online retail destination that curates distinctive, versatile, quality jewelry and delivers them directly to woman’s wardrobes with the simple click of a button – at a guilt-free price point. Founding ERIN/ANDERSON has been a dream as well as the most intense learning lesson I’ve ever experienced. As a graphic/web designer, that’s exactly what I did – graphic/web design. Now, as CEO of E/A, I am also merchandiser, e-commerce expert, publicist, accountant, customer service rep, the list goes on. Although some days I feel admittedly overwhelmed, I would not trade it for the world. With every challenge comes a learned lesson. And with every learned lesson, you’re one step closer to success. And for every other challenge, there’s a Starbucks Frapp, Latte, or Macchiato for that. ;-)
CC: Who is the ideal E/A woman? What are her dreams and aspirations? How do you hope to inspire other millennial women with your entrepreneurial venture?
AV: Created for the fashion-forward, stylish professional, ERIN/ANDERSON is for the on-the move millennial woman that makes a statement in all that she does. From the office to date-night or Pilates to brunch, the E/A woman enjoys comfort and style as she wills to take on her next challenge. Growing up, I was always taught that dreams and aspirations were synonymous to ones goals. “If you can dream it, you can achieve it”, as my parents would say. This still rings true to me today. We were created to be extraordinary individuals with divine purpose. Find your purpose. Align it with your aspirations. Go #MakeAStatement!
CC: How intricate was the process for you to decide how you would ultimately turn your dream into a living and breathing brand? Who are some of you entrepreneurial inspirations space, and what's next for "E/A"?
AV: “Start before you’re ready” - it's simple, but so profound. Nicole Melton of Melton Digital gifted me with this jewel of advice one autumn morning and ERIN/ANDERSON has been growing ever since. Oftentimes when following our dreams it requires taking risks – risk that can fill us with fear, doubt and 10,000 never-ending ‘things to do’ before one can successfully launch. Research, make a plan, say a prayer and go for your dreams. There is no better time like the present.
Next up for E/A ... The E/A Pop-Up tour. ERIN/ANDERSON has been widely successful as an online retailer but we look forward to making it possible for woman to #AccessorizeEA in-person. The E/A Pop-Up Shopping Tour is set to launch May 2015.
To Avonda, being a "Millennial on a Mission" means to be a passionate, purposeful, and out to make a statement. "For me, the thing that keeps me on track with my daily goals is my Joyce Meyer daily devotional and my planner," Avonda says. Her advice to young entrepreneurs? Just go for it. "Growing up we’re taught it’s a clear path to success, and that is false," she says. "Turning your dreams into a living is an adventure filled with ups and downs, challenges and lessons, great days and tough days but through it all, you will be okay. Network, study your craft, listen, learn and go for it."
To learn more about ERIN/ANDERSON and make a purchase, visit their website, www.erinandersonco.com.