Meet Kate Thomas, Merchandiser at Chloe + Isabel

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C+I.3[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]W[/dropcap]omen are awesome– for many reasons, but the warmest and fuzziest being that we’ve got each other’s backs. That’s why when women start companies or are involved in high-level decision making, charitable giving increases, statistically. Kate Thomas, a merchandiser for jewelry company Chloe + Isabel is a great example. Through the company, Kate has had women’s backs by giving portions of her revenue to causes that empower women. And in her latest initiative, she’s got our backs, too. Read through this interview with Kate to find out how she’s supporting Feminist Wednesday’s sister production, Dream, Girl and another really great organization at the same time![wc_divider style="solid" line="double" margin_top="5" margin_bottom="5"]

Introduce yourself! Tell us who you are and what you do.

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap] am an appeals specialist for a Buffalo law firm by day, and a jewelry merchandiser for Chloe + Isabel at night. And on weekends. And every other “free” moment I have during the day.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]

We love that your company supports such an empowering cause – can you tell us how feminism plays a part in what you do?

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]T[/dropcap]o me, feminism is all about empowering women, no matter their age, to become everything they ever dreamt they could become – with no limitations on our dreams. Chloe + Isabel is all about empowering women to be creative, to run their own businesses and to work to achieve their goals, whether big or small. There is such a mix of women – some doing it for the love of jewelry, looking to make extra money for themselves or their families, to help pay their way through college, and then there are those who have turned this into their full-time job – building their own little empire within this great organization. I feel like I’m a mix of the two. Growing up, my sister and I were always taught that we could be whatever we wanted to be, but that we should strive to be the very best we could be in whatever we chose to do. Becoming a merchandiser with C+I has given me the opportunity to channel my creativity and passion into helping others. My plan going into this was to help others whenever I could – that’s the way I was raised, and how I live my life. I’m lucky to be in a position where I can team up with non-profits and charities to help raise money for their cause, all while helping to build a rewarding and stable future for myself.

I’m also honored to work with a company that listens and watches what its team is doing. C+I saw how many merchandisers were doing fundraisers for causes that they support, donating portions of their own personal sales and decided to start their own campaign. They have created a line of semi-precious stone necklaces with stamped words such as, Dream, Love, Faith and Believe. C+I is donating 20% of the sale price of each of these necklaces to the I Am That Girl Initiative – which works with girls to turn their self-doubt, into self-empowerment. To me, there is nothing better than working on achieving my dreams, while helping other young women realize their own.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]

What's been the best part of running your business? The most challenging?

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]B[/dropcap]eing able to give back to causes that I believe in is a great part of running my own business. Though, the beautiful jewelry doesn’t hurt either! I love that being teamed up with a reputable company that makes beautiful and affordable jewelry that can be used to help raise money for non-profits and charities. I love being able to work with people and help bring more exposure and funds to their cause.

The most challenging thus far is finding time. I love working on this business so much, but having a full-time job right now, makes for limited hours to work on my business. There have also been sacrifices I’ve had to make – not being able to make dinner dates, staying up late at night to make sure everything gets done, cutting back on spending money because I’m putting it into my business. I just keep reminding myself that this is all temporary, and it will be amazing when it pays off. The sacrifices I’m making now, will lead to amazing results in the future.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]

What advice would you have for other women who want to run a business that gives back and empowers other women?

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]N[/dropcap]o matter how daunting things may seem, we were all put on this earth to be amazing. Always keep your “why” in the forefront of your mind. If you’re starting a business with the intent on helping to build up other women, never lose sight of that. It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day things that have to get done, that we can lose our way. Write it down! Keep that someplace you can always see it, and it will act as your compass to keep you on the right track.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]

Any plugs or upcoming events/initiatives our readers should know about?

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]Y[/dropcap]es! I have been so inspired by Erin Bagwell and her dream to make her documentary Dream, Girl that I have been inspired to host a fundraiser in her honor. For every #CandiForACause necklace sold between today, Wednesday, April 20 and April 27, I will donate an extra 10% to I Am That Girl in Dream, Girl’s name. So, that’s 30% of the sale price going to I Am That Girl!

All you have to do is go to: http://www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/katethomas/03cf72 and click on “Candi For A Cause.” Purchase any of those necklaces, and at the end of the week, I will donate an additional 10% of the total sales!

You can also connect with me through my website: www.candibykatethomas.com or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/candibykate