Flourish & Thrive Academy Laying the Foundation Volume 1

Thank you, Tracy & Robin!
I received a partial scholarship to Flourish & Thrive Academy, and I'm very excited about the course. I highly recommend it to anyone who's serious about their jewelry business. The story below was my 'entry' into their scholarship program. 

I started my first jewelry business in 1999, after praying, "If I have to work for a living, what can I do to use my talents, that will prosper and thrive?" I had just fallen deeply in love with charms and found myself lying awake at night, picturing charm bracelets in my head... baby, wedding, travel, faith, even one for North Carolina... so many ideas! I knew this was the answer to my prayer.

As I began my adventure, I found myself drawn to sweet little baby chains and baby hearts, and my love for pearls drew me to romantic pearl necklaces. So, it was only natural that Baby and Bridal Jewelry was added to my repertoire.

One day, I received an email from a potential customer, mentioning she had seen me in Bride's Magazine. I thought she was smokin' crack. And, as I sat on the floor of my local bookstore and opened that massive publication, I almost fell over from shock. Right there, in Bride's Magazine's Best Wedding Websites, under Trinkets and Treasures~ a star was born... ME (bottom right corner). At the time, my store was called, 'Charmed, I'm Sure!'

My first year online, my gross sales were out the roof. I was in several magazines, and on the cover of The Lovely Bones. I had repeat customers who came back again and again to buy baby jewelry for their friends and family. We had rave reviews on our customer service and people appreciated our attention to detail.

Things were going well, but I began to feel dissatisfied, and wanted to expand my jewelry, so, I learned to bead.

But, after a series of unfortunate events and personal tragedies, I had to close my business. It broke my heart. The fear of failure kept me from making jewelry for years, but deep down inside, I knew the dream was still alive. The passion was there, but uncertainty haunted me. What is my style? How can I make a living at this? I was scared to death.

But, with support from friends and signs from the Universe~ I launched Belle West in 2012. It's been slow going as I don't have the funds to hire designers for branding, and I'm doing everything myself. After switching to Macs, I lost all the programs I used to create graphics on my former website which I couldn't afford to replace. Although I can wear all the hats, I don't want to burn out like that again. I have an idea of the jewelry I'd like to create, and where I'd like to go, but I need the professional guidance of mentors who know the jewelry business.

That's where Tracy and Robin come in. They have the knowledge and expertise to help me realize my dreams through their mentoring program called Flourish & Thrive Academy. I'm very excited about the opportunity to take their course.

You can visit Belle West at~
Belle West on Etsy 
Belle West on FB 
Belle West Gems on Etsy
On Pinterest... 
On Tumblr...
On Twitter...


  1. Good luck, Donna - I hope you realize your dream!

  2. What an awesome piece of writing! I SO hope you get that scholarship~~much deserved for sure!

    1. Thank you so much, Ellen! You are SO very kind. It was hard to get my story under 500 words! Bless you and thank you for sharing.
      Donna XOX

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, Tracy! I was worried I hadn't followed the requirements but I think all the questions you asked are answered~ they're just in the story, here and there. Thanks for taking a look. XOX

  4. I have been following your blog and following you on Pinterest for awhile - never knew your "history" but you have the most beautiful style and I hope all your dreams become reality!

    1. Thank you, Monica! You are so very kind. ❤
      Donna XO

  5. Not only are you a gifted and talented artist, you are an outstanding writer as well. Winged prayers are flying your way. ♥

  6. Hi Donna,

    I knew I liked you!!! You are an amazingly talented lady!! I have only known you through FB, and now find you in other places too! Yay!

    Warm hugs..

    Susan Rix

  7. Truly inspiring, Donna!!!!!I adore charms & beads as well!!!!

    1. Thank you, Christy! I'll be listing some charms on Etsy soon, so keep an eye out! XO