Antoinette and her brand are positively impacting the world by supporting other women with inspirational and empowering fashion while ending child hunger doing so!
What is The Word Changes?
The Word Changes is a fashion brand with the goal of motivating people to live their best life. My tag lines are: “The Fashion Brand That Motivates™” and “oneWORD at a time.” I sell t-shirts, greeting cards, mugs, handbags and Jewelry. Each of my products have oneWORD on them. I aim to change lives by the power of oneWORD. In addition to our fashion products I also released the premier issue of the word changes magazine and a music single which was written and produced by Kafeeno (IG: @Kafeeno).
What is your mission?
Our mission is to impact humanity through words, fashion and giving. Two-thirds of our profits go towards fighting child hunger and encouraging HIGHER education.
What inspired you to start The Word Changes?
I was inspired to start the word change after experiencing some very serious health, family and work troubles. It was a time in my life that I just wanted to give up. In fact, there was one occasion where I had been admitted (again) to the hospital in very serious condition due to a rare autoimmune condition I suffered from. I was at what I considered the end of my rope. I was ready to check out of life. BUT, it was the encouraging words, prayers and support that I received from my family, church and friends that got me through that tough period of my life. After getting through what I thought I never could, I wanted to share with others what I received. I wanted to use words to encourage and motivate people to create a change in their life. I also believe that we are here on this earth to make the lives of others better economically whenever we can so I wanted to use my platform to give. So, two-thirds of our profits go to charity.
Where did you get your inspiration from?
Initially I was inspired to start the word changes with the sale of t-shirts. I came to that decision after having a vision of a t-shirt with the word GOD on it. It was a purple t-shirt with silver writing on it. I thought to myself that for some people that word carries so much power and for others it means nothing. That’s when I decided that t-shirts would be one of my first products. Soon after I decided to also offer greeting cards and mugs. Since the initial launch of the word changes I have also introduced a pocketbook and necklace. I love fashion, so my inspiration comes from the fashion world.
I also get inspiration from, my surroundings. I pay attention to what is happening around me in regards to conversations, patterns, discouraging things, and encouraging things. I am a firm believer in, if I am thinking about it or being discouraged or encouraged by it, there is someone else out there experiencing the same thing. So I write about it, create a product about it and spread a motivating and inspiring message about it. My goal is to touch at least one person. If a post or product or song I put out there has an impact on just one person I have done something that will be impactful. Because when that person is changed for the better they will have an impact on someone elses life. There will be a domino effect with each new person having an impact on someone else. It only takes one word to change someone’s destiny. If they catch and take hold of that word they have also changed the destiny of future generations. So having an impact on one person is like having an impact on a nation.
How did you come up with the name?
I knew I wanted the name of to have the word “word” or “words” in it and I wanted it to reflect what this movement was all about which was using words to change peoples lives. So I wrote down a couple names that came to mind that had the word “word” in it and some names that reflected “change” and “transformation.” Finally, I settled on “the word changes” which I considered to be the perfect fit.
We saw that your profits go to a charity, what charity do you help?
Yes, two-thirds of my profits go towards fighting child hunger and encouraging higher education. I have donated to organizations such as Save the Children, Feeding America, Greater Boston Food Bank, UMass Student fundraising drive. I have also donated backpacks with school supplies to 100 second graders and offered free educational webinars. Although child hunger and higher education have been my main focus there will also be times when I am lead to support other causes. For instance, right now I am focused on a campaign called “We All Have A Voice.” My goal for this campaign is to highlight the lives of the deaf and hearing impaired. Their achievements and challenges. I am also currently looking for an organization that champions the rights of the deaf and hearing impaired community with the intent to partner with that organization.
What is the hardest part about running The Word Changes?
Lack of time! J Presently I am working a full time job and when I am off from my 9 to 5 I then work on the word changes. I have ideas that I want to bring to fruition but don’t have the time to do it yet! I am in the process of hiring a virtual assistant so that should help with off loading some things and allow me to focus more on the creative side of the word changes.
How do you spread the word about your company?
I am actually still learning how to increase brand awareness. Currently, social media is the main avenue that I use to create brand awareness. I have also partnered with some brand influencers who have been awesome. Facebook ads are also great. I also attend vending events locally and I travel as well. My goal is to spread the word changes message all over the world. Thanks to social media this has become a lot easier.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying?
Yes, shortly after pregnancy loss (twins at 5 months) I was in church. It was the first Sunday of the month and it was a practice for everyone to receive a promise card. A promise card was a card about the size of a business card that had a bible verse on it. A basket would go around with the promise cards and everyone who wanted one would take one. I picked mine and when I read it I was in shock because it was in line with EXACTLY what I was dealing with in my life at that time and still to this day. The card said: Exodus 23:25-26.
When I looked up the verse I read:
“Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.”
This was so on point for me because in September of 2012 I had given birth to twins (boy and a girl) at 5 months of pregnancy due to medical complications. Shortly after giving birth they passed away. I had also been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that year. There is no cure for this disease and the treatment was not encouraging. I was trying different things with my diet in order to see if that would help me manage the disease but nothing looked promising. So I was worried about whether I would live a long life, that is until I pulled that card that day. That promise card breathed life into me, it gave me a new prospective on what a personal relationship with God looked like. I had been praying and asking Him for help and picking that card out of the basket that day let me know that everything I had been worried about would be ok. New life had been breathed into me. I was encouraged. That day, I changed my perspective which in turn changed my destiny. I was not going to coast through life. I was going to LIVE! Literally and figuratively. The word changes was birthed a little over a year after receiving this card. So this is a quote I literally LIVE by. It is a promise that I keep written on my heart everyday!!
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs?
My advice for young entrepreneurs is that it is great to get advice or comments from people that you admire or trust but at the end of the day it’s your vision and it’s that feeling you have that says you are on the right track that matters. Since it is not your friend or cousin or mentor’s vision they won’t understand or see things the way you do. There are certain things about your vision that you will see and feel but you will not be able to articulate. You will just know it when you see it. So, that means that you have to have the confidence to follow your gut even when other people are telling you otherwise. Why? Because you are the visionary. The vision begins with you and trickles down. You have to be firm in what your vision is so that you can lead others in relaying your vision to the masses.