While most successful businesses undergo dozens of ideation stages before a founder is confident that their vision will resonate with consumers, Dana Rebecca began the process of turning a personal interest into a multi-million-dollar business at the age of 16.
Dana Rebecca’s family history first introduced her to the world of high-end jewelry. Although her father is a jeweler, Dana had strong opinions on his designs and provided him a perspective closer to that of the person that would generally be wearing his jewelry. At the young age of 16, Dana created her first collection that sold out in just 48 hours.
Although Dana pursued academic goals and believed she would go on to law school, she began considering continuing her success as a jewelry designer and applied to the Gemological Institute of America following her college graduation. Six months later, Dana Rebecca Designs was born in the midst of the Great Recession. For two years, Dana faced all of the challenges of starting a business in possibly the worst economic environment of our lifetime. As if this was not enough, Dana was adamant that she should learn every aspect of running her business before hiring outsiders for help. “I had a commitment to myself for two years that I would do everything the business required. I assumed all roles from accountant to designer to PR manager. Looking back, I can see that I am the only person in my business that has done everything in every role, which made me a more well-rounded business owner,” Dana stated.
In 2010, DRD was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things and has since been worn by celebrities and featured in magazines regularly. However, Dana has even bigger plans for her company: launching a new website focused on her clients’ tastes and personalities, and how the DRD brand fits into their lives.
“It is so important to my team and I to ensure that our customers feel that they are a DRD girl. I’ve built a home-grown team of women who all embody the DRD brand and we want our customers to be a part of that too,” Dana said. An important part of the Dana Rebecca Designs brand is that women are empowered to dream big and be themselves while doing so. With many opportunities for women in the entrepreneurial world, there are also several challenges that Dana has dealt with first hand.
In today’s world the work/life balance for women can be difficult, but Dana states the following, “It is a really exciting time for myself and the team. As I am expecting my second child and the team is also growing future DRD girls, work life balance can be a challenge. It is important to take it day by day and see what the balance is every single day rather than as a whole.”
In the ten years since DRD was founded, Dana has also found personal success, surrounding herself with driven, business-focused women who have helped her grow from the roots of her father’s business in a unique direction that is all her own. Dana chose to build parallel rather than within. “My dad is my greatest mentor and it is really special to have built a business that is so complimentary, but still my own. I stayed authentic to myself and stepped away from my dad’s business and built a foundation of my own,” Dana said.
“We are six months away from the 10 year anniversary of Dana Rebecca Designs. I am already thinking about the next thing and what else is coming. But, it will be so special to celebrate with those whom have helped me get here. I hope to stop and smell the roses and then think, ‘ok, what does the next 10 years look like?,’ she said.
With ten years of retrospect, what Advice does Dana have for people starting their own businesses? “Surround yourself with people who make you proud to hit those milestones,” she stated, “as long as you are willing to jump on the crazy train, it’s great.”
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