What’s not to love about a company that believes in “sparklegiving” – two of our favorite words rolled into one! Brooke Reynolds, Founder and “Chief Giving Officer” of Socialite Pink (www.socialitepink.com, @socialitepink)
is literally changing the world one sparkle at a time. Read on to learn how you can “sparkle you, sparkle her” and brighten the life of a woman in need with every purchase you make. Perfect for completing your holiday shopping and making a difference at the same time!
Tell us about Socialite Pink. How does it work?
Socialite Pink is a jewelry company with a heart for giving. I believe passionately in sparklegiving: giving what you have to brighten someone’s day. I’m on a mission to create new and beautiful ways for women to experience the power of giving and to make it a part of daily life. Socialite Pink puts the power to give directly into our customers’ hands with our “sparkle you, sparkle her” donation program. When you purchase a piece of our jewelry, we’ll donate a piece to a girl or woman who’s overcoming incredible challenges. From women in battered women’s shelters to first time young single moms, it’s my delight to partner with our customers to encourage women with a bit of sparkle. There’s so much connection in women coming alongside another woman to say, “Hey, I know the road has been tough. But keep going! You’re amazing and you’re not alone. WE ARE WITH YOU AND FOR YOU.” With each purchase, our Giving Tribe (our incredible customers) are encouraging and celebrating some pretty amazing sheros as they continue on their life-changing journeys. It’s also important to me to give our customers more in our collections: more natural materials, more bold colors, more versatility, more functionality and the hottest trends.
What inspired you to found Socialite Pink?
I practiced law for years as a commercial real estate attorney at a large law firm. It’s a difficult and demanding profession and I wasn’t sure if I saw myself in it long term. A few years ago, my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family. We had no doubt we’d get pregnant quickly. And we did…but then the worst happened. We lost the baby within the first trimester. It was completely devastating and we both struggled to understand. I don’t believe that God sends storms to hurt us, but to make us stronger and often to get our attention. In those moments of sorrow, He definitely had my undivided attention.
Our loss renewed my understanding of how precious life is and that tomorrow isn’t promised. If I was going to fulfill God’s purpose, I needed to start like, yesterday! I asked myself, “If I could do anything in the world, what would it be?” I had always loved entrepreneurship, but I wanted my business to be about more than the bottom line. I wanted my business to help people. I decided I would start a for-profit company based on 2 simple concepts: giving and encouraging women. I actually had no idea what I was going to sell. I then thought, “I could probably figure out how to make jewelry.” So I took some local classes and watched some YouTube videos and just…went for it! Even though the company has evolved over the years, it’s always stayed true to those 2 core principles…and gorgeous jewelry.
My husband, Chris, is the most important person in my life and in my business’ life. He was the biggest supporter of my crazy idea to leave a six figure career to follow my dreams. I think the fact that I had a plan was what really convinced him that it was time for me to go for it. I went part time at my law firm for about a year while I was getting the business up and running. I think that’s an important option for entrepreneurs, to transition gradually out of a full-time career into a start-up. It doesn’t always have to be all or nothing and Chris really appreciated this approach. He has encouraged me along every step of the way. I think it’s so crucial for entrepreneurs to have a strong support system. Entrepreneurship isn’t a straight path. There will be twists and turns, hills and valleys along the way. You’ll need someone to tell you can do it when your circumstances are saying otherwise.
How do you inspire others to believe in your mission?
A lot of people have suggested to me that, instead of giving to a variety of organizations, I should align Socialite Pink with a specific charity and a narrower mission. But that just never felt right. I didn’t want SP to be about giving in a specific way or to a specific cause. My heart’s desire was to encourage people to live a giving lifestyle and for Socialite Pink to be a vehicle that empowers people to do just that. For me it’s about showing women the awesome power that they’ve always had to brighten someone else’s day. We don’t all have 30 hours to volunteer or $1M to donate, but each of us can give some small thing to brighten someone else’s day. Whether it’s a compliment, a few minutes to listen or a big hug to a weary stranger, we all have the ability to leave people better than how we found them. I use Instagram to really communicate this message. I love encouraging women with daily quotes and bits of inspiration. I also try to involve the community in the giving process. We did a jewelry-making class at a local Boys and Girls Club. I took a big banner there filled with messages from our Instagram community. Socialite Pink’s mission is to help everyday women to see how valuable and loved they are and that they each have the power to help another gal along her journey.
You went from being a practicing attorney to being a founder. Did you ever think what the heck am I doing?
Leaving a thriving career as an attorney and starting a jewelry business sounds crazy. I totally agree. But I saw tossing my law degree to the side and building something from the ground up as a wonderful opportunity and an exciting journey. Having said that, it was one of those instances where it’s all good and well in your head but then you have to tell your boss you’re quitting! I was actually in the meeting with my supervisor when he was telling me that all lights were green for me to be nominated to become a partner that year. He was in the middle of talking about what a great year it had been for me and how he excited he was for these next steps. I took a deep breath and said, “I’ve decided to leave the firm.” That was the most nerve-wracking moment about the transition. I knew there was no going back after those words fell onto the conference table. But I was ready. I love new experiences, new places and getting to know new folks. I was ready to start my new adventure.
Knowing what you know now, is there anything that you would have done differently in college? Would you have still gone to law school?
I’ve definitely gotten asked a couple of times whether or not I regret having gone to law school, given the fact that I design necklaces for a living now. Generally, I think regret is a pretty wasted emotion. You can never go back and change things so why look behind you? Law school was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I learned so many life lessons from those 3 years. I learned to think quicker and to develop a well-crafted argument. As the editor of the Law Review, I learned how to manage people…crazy smart, highly opinionated, type A people… which was definitely a huge challenge. I still apply a lot of those life lessons in my business. I also learned to negotiate from my years of practicing law, which couldn’t have happened without law school. Not to mention that I met my husband in law school. I’d say that law school has paid for itself a few times over.
How can we help spread the word? Do you have a campus ambassador program? Do you hire interns?
I love it when people join our growing Instagram community. We’ve grown from 0 to over 10K within a year. I think the giving mission, message of women encouraging women and gorgeous jewels really resonate with people. I’ve also had an amazing experience working with interns. They’re usually students from local colleges. They’ve had such a passion for learning about all aspects of entrepreneurship and small business, from marketing to social media management to operations.
What jewelry is trending now?
Chokers, chokers and more chokers! This trend started a while ago and it’s still going strong. I just did a Trunk Show at a local boutique and 70% of my sales came from my beaded choker and suede wrap collection. Socialite Pink’s choker collection is completely unique. People can wear a wrap or choker by itself or they can customize their choker by sliding on one of our beautiful charms. They make amazing holiday gifts because you can design them with that special someone in mind. There’s definitely enough of a spectrum for each woman to make it her own and complement her personal style.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I’m sort of obsessed with making things look beautiful on a budget! I’m truly my mother’s daughter! She is the master of this. People always ooohhh and aaahhh over our family house in Virginia all the time and little do they know how much of the amazing interior design she did herself. I always say, give me a Home Goods and a Michael’s and I’ll make it look like a $1M bucks! I absolutely love anything fixer-upper oriented (and yes…that includes the amazing TV show with Chip and Joanna Gaines!). I think that’s what drew me to be a commercial real estate attorney. I helped my clients take vacant pieces of land and dilapidated buildings and turn them into something new and beautiful. That’s also what I love about being a jewelry designer. Every day is an opportunity for me to take pieces of materials and turn them into something beautiful.
Any advice for young entrepreneurs?
I got the best piece of business advice from my husband, Chris. He told me that “Greatness is boring.” Greatness is in the mundane. It’s in doing the same small tasks over and over again. It’s Michael Jordan in the gym practicing free throws by himself for hours after the rest of the team has gone home. It’s often by yourself, outside of the limelight, with no one there to demand that you do it. It’s a totally self-starting practice, which is what makes it so difficult. This can be where young entrepreneurs struggle. They have amazing ideas and have great passion for building their business big quickly. But it’s often dogged persistence, just showing up every day, that leads to great things. I’ve heard so many people say that all a business needs to be successful is to get a huge break. To me, that’s not a plan. That’s a hope and a wish. We can spend all our time and energy waiting for that one moment, or we can put our head down and make the moments that we are experiencing right now the best moments they can possibly be. It’s not sexy. It’s not exciting. But there’s a momentum that’s built over time in doing small things well. Eventually, they’ll lead you to a big open space of opportunity that you’re now ready to take full advantage of because of all of your late night private practice sessions.