Today I am super excited to welcome the amazing Lee-Anne D’Paul to my sisterhood series! Lee-Anne is the visionary behind jhenlee, a jewellery brand committed to empowering women. Her vision and motivation is to create pieces that resonate with women and their personal stories. Read more about her inspiring story below!…
Tell me a bit about yourself and your business jhenlee…
I’m Lee-Anne D’Paul, founder and lead designer of jhenlee, a jewellery brand-committed to empowering women. I proudly share the brands inception and development as a leader in fashion and style, creativity and innovation. I present stunning jewellery products with meaning and purpose for women.
Instinctively I created a name for the brand that would represent all women. Jhenlee means womanlee. jhenlee comprises ‘jhena’ meaning woman derived from an eastern European language combined with ‘lee’ as part of my name. Womanlee designs created for women about women.
As a designer I create jewellery to resonate with women. I incorporate symbolism into the designs and link this to experiences associated with being a woman. jhenlee’s first collection–The Signature Medallion Range is testament to that. My mission is to arouse in women a desire to stand tall, proud and comfortable in their own identity and spirit. That they wear the jewellery because ‘they are womanlee’ and feel valued, nurtured, supported and confident to acknowledge and celebrate their worth.
I describe myself as ‘just a girl who decided to go for it’. I had a dream to create a jewellery brand but no experience in the jewellery design industry. I took a courageous leap of faith. The learning curve has been steep, and my commitment and courage has been tested time and time again. But I guess the highs and lows are all part of a business start up.
From the onset, I always planned for jhenlee to be more than a jewellery brand. I wanted to inspire and empower women through words, quotes, ideas and stories in a way that would resonate with how they value themselves as women. My breadth of ideas and scope for the brand is limitless and as such I am working on a number of projects and products that will extend what is offered through jhenlee as a brand alongside my vision and services.
My biggest supporter to date is my husband. He truly is my voice of reason when everything is overwhelming. He listens to my brainstorming and talks through my ideas. He not only believes in my vision but also in me and this has been instrumental to living courageously. My greatest inspiration is my 13 year old daughter. Not only does her being a teenager challenge my thinking, but it is my greatest aspiration and joy to demonstrate as her role model, that women are capable, strong, courageous, resilient and successful, and can achieve anything when they live passionately and with purpose.
I LOVE that you are empowering women globally through our brand message, why is it so important for you to support and inspire women?
I am an empowered woman and believe wholeheartedly in creating unique collaboration and partnership opportunities with the shared philosophy and mission to empower women globally.
As a brand, jhenlee jewellery is committed to empowering women by the symbolism used in designs. As the founder, I want women to believe in themselves and as a designer, I inspire women to wear their unique story with pride. The jewellery serves as my medium to remind women to acknowledge, compliment and celebrate their worth in their journey.
My life purpose is to inspire women to live an empowered life. I actively engage in activities to promote positive mindset and believe that sharing what I do will hopefully inspire other women to action behaviours and thoughts that will make a difference to how they lead their life. I live my dream courageously stepping out of comfort zones by pursuing what makes my heart sing and soul happy. My social media platforms, blog posts and my business journey showcase the story I share.
At the basis of my big picture vision, I am fuelled by my mission. I stand proud and confident in my abilities to make a difference, inspire change and promote self-empowerment amongst women globally. The continued success of jhenlee will in turn allow me to contribute to a community of women that have been disempowered and provide resources that will assist and support fundamentals of security, health, equality and education.
Prior to creating jhenlee I was teacher for twenty years, predominately as an art specialist. I left my permanent role, to pursue jhenlee full time but still work casually as a teacher due to my commitment to the jhenlee empowered girls make empowered women campaign. I am directing my energies into creating and delivering workshops for high school girls on having a ‘I can’ attitude, goal setting, happiness strategies and personal branding, along with jewellery and products aimed at empowering young girls.
After reading your blog it is clear to see that you are a fantastic role model for your young daughter, can you tell us about some “proud mum” moments that have come from encouraging and uplifting the women around you?
I have a teenage daughter and I am continually being tested, prompted, challenged and inspired to see the world through her eyes. With each issue I solve and support her with, I develop the knowledge of how I can and will support others.
Lately I have been blogging about being a parent trying to raise a daughter with an empowered mindset. This can be tricky, as teenage experiences are so overwhelming and they haven’t got the life experiences to cope and understand the world in which they live.
jhenlee provides an opportunity to authentically share my stories with other girls and women and be a role model to my daughter. Stepping out of comfort zones, trying new careers, trying to make a difference in the world and going after your dreams are very high values to aspire to. I talk about what I do all the time. My daughter sees what it takes and what I go through in order to run jhenlee. It’s about educating her though my very real life experiences.
Three recent experiences come to mind when I think of how as a role model I have inspired my daughter to think, feel and act differently.
Last month I wrote a blog post about her first period reaction. I was blown away to see her maturity, understanding and feelings about it. She was proud to be a woman! On another occasion she found me sobbing when I discovered a costly error in production. I was lying on the floor as it was a real low point in my business journey. She sat next to me and rubbed my back, reassuring me that all will be ok. Her words moved me, “Mum I believe in you and so do all the women that love jhenlee. You can’t give up, you are so important and I know you can do this. You are so strong mum. The jhenlee women need you! The work you are doing is amazing. I love you.” And thirdly, in the middle of Yr 7 (after being at the same school since kinder) she embraced a change in school. Not only was she ok with it, but she chose the school and said mum you’ve had a change in career, I want a change too.
Teenagers are complicated. They don’t always show you what they are feeling, thinking or doing. But I constantly remind myself to look for moments just like these that indicate she is tracking well. Those moments that remind me that she is empathetic, resilient, determined and a risk taker. Moments that I can see she is taking notice of the world around her and ultimately the moments that make me so proud of the girl that she is and the woman she is becoming.
What has been the most rewarding thing that has come from running your own business?
There have been so many parts of jhenlee that have been rewarding. One part throughout the journey that will always be true is that I am living my purpose. I am fulfilled personally and professionally and really enjoy what I do. It’s so important to love the life you live.
Lately, I have been so humbled and inspired by women in the jhenlee collective who personally email to say thanks. They are the jheni (women) who have resonated with the brand message. I am so grateful they share their stories, give thanks and make me feel that what I am sharing is valued and inspiring.
One of my favourite life mottos is ‘do what you love, so you never work a day in your life’. When working on jhenlee I am in the zone. Hours will go by because I am so immersed in my work and I don’t feel like I am working. It’s such an empowering feeling. I have connected to my cause and really love what I do.
Your career achievements are very impressive! What advice would you give to young women who are wanting a career similar to yours?
The best advice I can give to young women embarking on any career is to always keep their options open. Embrace as many learning opportunities over a life time and don’t be afraid of change as it may be necessary to try a few careers before they find the one that makes them happy. I believe education and knowledge is the key to empowerment. Keep learning, growing and developing both personal and professional skills and mindset because that will be of benefit time and time again in their career journey.
I have worked in many careers. I have been artist and art teacher, retail assistant and manager, an aerobic instructor, a designer, worked in HR, a tutor and worked in my family business from the age of nine. All of my past work experience has been instrumental to who I am today, what I am capable of and the confidence I display to work in a variety of industries. I have always been on a personal quest to learn more and as a result throughout my life time have participated in courses in interior design, fitness instructing, art workshops and professional development to support my role as a teacher and explore different careers. I attend networks, summits, co-op working days and share my experiences with other like-minded women on similar journeys. I have many hobbies like reading, yoga, zumba and photography and maintain a variety of interests for a broader perspective to my work, creating a wealth of knowledge and maintaining overall well-being.
Most importantly, my last piece of advice is to find a career that sets your soul on fire!
To read more about Lee-Anne or check out her business jhenlee head over to her website here: http://www.jhenlee.com