LEJOI REESE TURNED HER PASSION FOR JEWELRY-MAKING into a creative movement that empowers and supports women while working to promote awareness about domestic violence. After a lucrative 15-year career as the design director at a multi-million dollar textile company, Reese sought a different way to make use of her creativity, and found that making art called to her strongly. In Reese’s own strong words: “My art has become the safest and most expressive way to share the courage and strength of my deeper self with the world.” With her childhood friend and co-founder Janet Williams, Reese gave birth to that expression through Brave Chick, which was founded in the summer of 2013. Lady Clever caught up with the co-founder of Brave Chick to find out more about her unique journey, creative inspiration, and dedication to ending abuse.
What inspired Brave Chick?
Brave Chick was born from the idea of empowering and supporting women to find their authentic selves and live fearlessly to fulfill their purpose.
Did you always want to be a jewelry designer?
I always tinkered with jewelry-making as a child, but growing up in a conservative family, I never imagined someone could be a professional jewelry-maker. While attending the Rhode Island School of Design, I was intrigued by and attracted to multiple disciplines, and it was difficult for me to settle first on Graphic Design during my undergraduate studies. Later, I pursued Textile Design as my graduate major. Making jewelry as a hobby has now blossomed into a new career.
What attracts you to designing jewelry?
Creating these beautiful miniature sculptures is magical and fulfilling for me.What is most rewarding is watching the wearer’s reaction to the beauty they see in the pieces, then the beauty they see in themselves when wearing my jewelry. I feel a connection to the people wearing my jewelry – they may not understand why they like my pieces, but the fact that they love them causes me to feel a special bond to the wearer.
What kind of jewelry does Brave Chick offer?
Brave Chick offers handmade fashion jewelry made of gold-plated or gold-filled metals — silver, too — combined with semi-precious stones. Our jewelry is influenced by current trends with a bohemian flair. We have statement pieces as well as everyday jewelry: necklaces, bracelets, cuffs, wire-wrapped wrings, and earrings. We always try to use unique semi-precious stones, and offer the option to collaborate with customers to create custom pieces.
We just launched a new men’s accessories line called Valiant. Valiant celebrates honorable, respectful, and protective men. We create handmade, unique jewelry to support men who are courageous enough to show a peaceful strength that is assertive and not aggressive. These men understand the concept of strong yet serene leadership, and want to demonstrate this to other men — as well as the women and children in their lives and communities.
What are your goals for Brave Chick?
We look at Brave Chick as a “movement.” We want people to feel compelled to spread the word about the anti-domestic violence movement. We want to empower the abused to be brave and live authentically. By donating 10 percent of all Brave Chick proceeds to domestic abuse awareness organizations, we hope to promote domestic abuse education.
How do you inspire awareness in others?
When I introduce Brave Chick to people, I courageously share my personal history of surviving abuse. The experience of openness has been a difficult journey, but it has also been extremely rewarding to encourage and inspire others.
Tell us about your charity involvement.
Brave Chick was partnered with the anti-sex trafficking non-profit organization Not For Sale. This partnership was rewarding and pivotal for us because it demonstrated Brave Chick’s commitment to giving back to marginalized women. We have recently shifted our charity involvement to directly aid the anti-domestic abuse movement by allying Brave Chick with the No More Campaign. We now donate 10 percent of all of our proceeds to the Joyful Heart Foundation via No More. Nationally, we also connect with organizations and causes which actively engaged with girls, women, and men in need of emotional and financial support. You can see a list of organizations here. ♦
Sounds like this brave chick’s bold and beautiful mission is poised to make some serious change. We’re in!
To see more of Brave Chick’s gorgeous collection of jewelry, check out its website here. All the pieces pictured here are available to purchase — perfect in time for the holidays! Like, follow, and connect with Brave Chick on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.