Making #HERstory and Becoming #SHEroes, How this Entrepreneur Found Her Calling Through Art.
Janice’s story is one of perseverance and persistence; two very important traits for entrepreneurs to have. She attended GROW for the first time in 1994, when Lee Ann Moss, our founder, was still very much involved in the organization.
While we’ve evolved over the years, the same strong and inspired mission of GROW remains. And Janice is just one of the many reasons why we do what we do.
Janice has been a phlebotomist, a consignment store owner, and an artist at different points in her life. When her daughter told her she never finished anything, she came back to GROW and finished our classes. For the last few years, Janice has been a very active participant in all things ArtPrize, each year with a different theme, and an inspiring display of hand-sewn dolls and accessories that are meant to inspire girls everywhere.
But her story starts decades ago. Janice was raised by her aunt. Throughout a very challenging childhood, she found comfort in crayons and paper. “This is where it all started for me. I found that comfort in being creative, drawing, doodling. It made me feel better. And I was good at it,” she shared.
So good, in fact, that in 4th Grade, Janice participated in a poster contest for Clean Up Fix Up in Gary Indiana. And she won! For the first time, her “mother” told her she was proud of her. Growing up an adopted, African American woman, she faced her share of challenges. Still, she made great connections with people everywhere she went. She admits that it really takes a village to raise children, and for her, it was no different. She found inspiration from her neighbors, her teachers, and even a little girl next door.
Janice recalled, “We always played dolls through that fence. Most of the time my Barbies were ‘barefoot and fabulous’ because you’re always losing those tiny shoes. It was this fascination with dolls that got me to start sewing my dolls.”
Artists are business owners too. They are craftswomen who have a gift to create products that people want or need. In Janice’s case, she makes and sells inspirational dolls for young girls. When she attended one of the GROW Sparkle Celebration events and sold several of her dolls, her daughter knew it was going to be something special. “She joked that she was going to get me another glue gun,” Janice said.
If you’ve seen any of Janice’s or Diva of Design’s ArtPrize contributions, you probably recall her entries, which include over 100 dolls complete with accessories centered around the SOWN Relatable art series, including Making #HERstory, #SHEroes, and this year is #IGotTheMusicInMe.
“All of these are meant to be a parade of possibilities for little girls. To show them that women can be anything they want to be, and how important they are to history.”
When we talked with Janice about her experiences with GROW, she reflected back on some of her biggest takeaways from our classes and mentoring. “You are going to evolve as a woman, as a human being, and as a business person. What you think today will be different tomorrow. And even though not everyone will share your passion, don’t be hurt by them, and never let them stop you.”
She added, “For me, GROW allowed me to see the marketable value in ALL my talents and gifts! There’s a value in doing what you love and LOVING what you do. With dedication and self- sacrifice you’ll hone your niche.”
We are proud of the insights and motivation that Janice took from her classes here with us at GROW. She truly is an inspiration when it comes to changing career paths, and never giving up on your passion. You may have seen her at ArtPrize 2017 – https://www.artprize.org/66483
If you’d like to explore more about your passion or business idea, contact us today or attend an Intro to GROW session to learn a little bit more about the programs and resources you can take advantage of.