If you’re from the south you are sure to know this week’s Chief of the Teepee and real life Career Barbie Doll. Randa Carrabba, owner of SouthernJewlz is a girls’ girl who leaves a whole lot of sparkle everywhere she goes. You can find her killing it at the gym (#grantshotwifey4lifey) or riding unicorns. Yes, this is real life.
Continue reading to find out more on Randa, the birth of SouthernJewlz and how it grew from a small hobby to a way of life.
Tell us who you are, where you’re from and a fun fact or two. Randa Carrabba from Bryan/College Station, Texas. Fun fact - I have the same birthday as Jessica Simpson.
Where did the inspiration behind your business come from? How did it begin? My company began as a hobby in college. I began making my own jewelry and soon others wanted to buy my creations. I filed my first DBA while I was on Christmas break my junior year in College. I named the Business Southern Jewlz, and as the company has evolved into the large brand that it is today, I never renamed the business even though I no longer make jewelry. As I grew and expanded into a lifestyle boutique, I took the brand name and began a different approach to emphasize what is actually meant to be a Southern Jewl. I try to live my life as the ideology to being a Southern Jewl. Sweet and complimentary, yet independent and goal oriented. Southern: Growing up Southern is a privilege, really. It’s more than where you were born. It’s an idea, a state of mind that seems imparted at birth. It’s more than loving fried chicken, high school football and country music. It’s being hospitable, being devoted to porches, sweet tea and most importantly to each other. It’s saying yes ma’am, no sir, please and thank you. Sticking true to your roots and never forgetting who helped you to climb up the latter. Jewl: A self-motivated female that has no limit to her success level. While she is dressed impeccably and gains attention, her confidence and dignity are the most noticeable attributes she possesses; making others feel their worth and beauty is her true destiny. With love, class and a touch of sass, she has the ambition and determination to set the world on fire.
What is the best part about being the BOSS? The best part about being the boss is there is no limit to what I can do. If there's a new giveaway I want to launch, then I can make it happen. If I want to take on more tasks to help grow the brand, I can tell my team that's what we are going to do. Being my own boss to me further emphasizes that the sky is the limit.
What drives you to pursue your passion each day? I am so passionate about the meaning behind my brand. I believe I can lead change that I want to see in the world. I love to keep the work atmosphere and the brand to be a very uplifting environment that is full of positive energy. I believe women should build each other up, be complimentary to each other and cheer each other on and I try to do that with everyone who is a part of my brand - whether that be a customer, a model, an intern, an employee, or even someone who just follows along even if they have never purchased or worn my brand. Southern Jewlz is so much more than trendy fashions at affordable prices with free shipping on all orders - but it's the meaning and feeling created behind the brand that makes me continue to pursue and grow! I believe in being and pushing others to feeling good about themselves, looking good and basically being the best version that they can be!
What advice would you give to an entrepreneur just starting their journey? To an entrepreneur starting their journey, I would have a business plan, a good sharp brand, and I would even encourage a story/meaning behind your business. Having a story behind a small business helps you to market in a way that really ties to people. Whether it be how you named your business, why you opened your business, the overall goal of your business, etc. People tie to people and want to do business with people rather than businesses, especially when talking small business.
What made you want to change your business from brick + mortar to online-only? I attended the National Retail Federation in New York in January of 2016. I had been store front since 2010, but I actually had my online store over a year before that. Online had the majority of the time been the anchor of my business, but seeing the forecast of the retail trend while in the Big Apple is when the thought of moving online only entered my mind. And in 2016 we saw an increase in online sales and traffic and a decrease in foot traffic. At the end of the day, I'm a business woman, so freeing up all the time and energy it took me to run the storefront and being able to put that into online, branding, social media, and still doing pop up shops makes me feel confident to be able to spread and grow the brand. I think all along Southern Jewlz has been more than just a College Station boutique, too. The issue was I didn't want to taint the brand I had worked so hard to build in any way. So I closed the doors, made the announcement and handed the keys over to a very dear friend and business-mentor (Nancy Gilmore with The Mule Barn) at the beginning of January 2017. I was getting married in February 2017. God has blessed me with a true love story and my husband is now my priority over my business. So moving online only was also a reflection of a new phase of life for me. I believe I am maturing and growing with my brand, and I am super proud to say that I publicly put my marriage first.
What are your hidden superpowers? Thinking of my super powers, I've been told that almost everything I touch turns to pink or glitter. I truly believe in unicorns. And my super powers are immensed whenever my crown gets all shined up or when I gain a new jewl to add to it.
What is your favorite quote? My favorite quote is something I wrote down 2 weeks before I opened my first store front at the age of 22. I didn't know what a mission statement was until later, so I turned those words into the statement. I don't want to sound any bit of overly confident sharing my own words as my favorite quote, but this is what really speaks to me:
What is bliss to you? Bliss to me is a dreamy vacation with my husband. Getting away from the real world, doing some soul searching, falling deeper in love, and seeing more of God's creation. I love life and there is so much that I want to do and see and experience, but a trip truly makes me step away from all the hustle and bustle and even has a spiritual way of speaking to me. But now that I'm married, I want to share all of the adventures with him!
If you could meet anyone for champagne, who would it be and where would you meet? If I could meet anybody for champagne, it actually wouldn't be anybody famous or even a business owner. Even there are so many of each that I would love to meet, the one person I wish I had the opportunity to meet is actually my husband's grandmother. The diamonds in the band around my engagement ring are actually her diamonds that Grant had incorporated into my ring design (along with the fact that he had my SJ crown created as the setting to hold my diamond up!). I have heard him and his parents tell me so many stories about her. She loved pink and was always dressed to impress. Her house apparently had pink carpet and her closet was every bit of fabulous, as was the way that she presented herself. She sounds to me to be the ideal figure of femininity and class while always putting her faith and family first. She passed away a few years before Grant and I met, and I tell him all the time how much I wish I could have met her. I know we would be two peas in a pod, and since she is was so family and faith focused, I think she would really appreciate the move I made with my store to put my marriage first. But we would need a lot of champagne to catch up for the engagement and wedding that she wasn't able to attend. Grant loved her tremendously and would even stay with her for board game nights and sleepovers even as a grown man, so I would actually want a champagne slumber party with the two of them with my husband and I encouraging her to try on all of her favorite outfits for us while we told her so many stories about our life together. I wish I could make THAT my super power!