Hello beautiful people, I'm Jasmine.
Also known as the overeating, clumsy, weird, Jesus loving, creator of Gracemade. I thought I'd share a little bit about myself and why I decided to start the brand. It always feels nice when you can connect on a personal level, and make things a little less pretentious - a foreign concept when it comes to the world of fashion.
Back in 2009 I had the privilege of attending the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. I decided to major in Apparel Manufacturing Management because I always knew I wanted to start my own business, and the curriculum was perfect for a hopeful entrepreneur. I remember going to my admissions interview. I was so excited and confident that I was making the right decision, however, the admissions director didn't seem so sure. She tried her best to convenience me that the major I was interested in typically attracted students who already obtained their bachelors degree or attended another college prior to FIDM. She then went on to suggest similar programs that would be more "suitable" for me. Thankfully, I completely ignored what she had to say, and went with my own conviction.
Fast forward, two years later, I landed a job with one of my favorite brands at the time called Joyrich. I was brought on as a sales assistant for their wholesale department who barely knew how to bcc someone on an email, and worked my way up to eventually becoming the wholesale sales manager. I spent 5 exciting (for the most part) years of my life at Joyrich, a job that allowed me to visit places across the United States, merchandise a pop-up space at Selfridges in London, and even work Paris Fashion Week twice a year - something I never even dreamed was possible for me.
In 2014, four years into my career at Joyrich a shift began to happen. See, I grew up in a Christian home, however, never explored a relationship with Jesus for myself, and that year it was almost like He was making Himself known to me, and I started to become curious about who He really was. As I began to explore this relationship my convictions became stronger and everything in my life that wasn't supposed to be there became increasingly uncomfortable. I went through what I like to call a spiritual detox, and completely surrendered my life to God. During this transition I started to get revelations about the purpose Jesus had for my life which included Him convicting me about the way I was dressing, then completely changing the vision that I originally had for my business into what you see today. I had struggled in the past with finding my worth in the wrong places, thinking that leading with my body would allow me to be more confident or attract the perfect guy, not realizing that my true identity could only be found in Christ. It's funny how God can turn the things meant to destroy us into our purpose.
My vision for Gracemade was and is to counter the hypersexulized culture and create tasteful options that are fashion-forward, but not from legalistic viewpoint. My conviction is that modesty is not so much about a long list of rules and regulations, but more so about the motives of the heart, honoring our bodies and God, and revealing our dignity.
A year ago today, after experiencing a "Peter step out of the boat" moment, I decided to to take the leap of faith, quit my job, and pursue what I felt God was calling me to do. With the help and resources of industry friends and family, I launched a campaign for Gracemade through the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, and raised enough money to start modestly - no pun intended.
Check out the embarrassing campaign video below.
So here we are, three months after the campaign and Gracemade is up and running! Although I would have loved to start off with a huge collection and tons of followers, I'm grateful for this humble beginning. My mission is not necessarily to grow the brand into a billion dollar empire - I want to create things that make you think, things that make a difference, I want Gracemade to have a purpose beyond fashion. I can't wait to see how God moves through this company and turns into something absolutely beautiful - I hope you'll stick around for the ride.