Charlotte Rison and daughters Destiney and Suraya are graduated from WomenVenture’s Small Business Essentials class. The inspirational trio have overcome a lot to begin their entrepreneurial journey.
When 19 year-old Destiney Rison was in high school, the honor-roll student collapsed at her job, signaling the start of many painful health challenges. Mother Charlotte was eventually forced to quit her job to care for her daughter, who continues to suffer black-out episodes. According to doctors, Destiney will never drive, go to college or hold a job. In the depths of Destiney’s despair, Charlotte pulled out a sewing machine, gave her daughter some fabric and said, “Do something with this.”
Destiney taught herself to use the machine, made a doggie treat bag for the dog Teddy, and moved on to making tote bags for family. She said “Those first bags – they were beautiful on the outside, but when you opened the zipper, you saw the horrific badness of the inside – strings everywhere. I kept working at it and got better, and finally, I felt capable. I could take old remnants and make something useful. Beautiful.”
“Sometimes out of tragedy, you find your purpose,” said Charlotte.
With her older daughter working and in college, and she and Destiney at home unable to work, Charlotte knew she had to do something to improve the family finances. Charlotte and the girls played around with the idea of selling the tote bags, then Charlotte remembered WomenVenture, who she’d become aware of many years ago, and signed them all up for a class.
Twenty-one year old college student Suraya said that first WomenVenture class was mind opening. “I didn’t see myself as a business-person – I just came to support my Mom and my sister. My plan was to become a Surgical Tech. But then I realized that I didn’t need to be a man in a suit to be in business. Opening a business can be a reality, not just a dream. The classes gave us a path to achieving our dream.”
“The doctors keep telling me what I can’t do. WomenVenture told me what I can,” said Destiney.
“That’s right,” added Charlotte, “We are not focusing on imperfections, but possibilities. We feel like we are part of a supportive community built through these classes, and with our mentors.”
All three Rison women are planning to contribute to the business using their strengths. Charlotte is creating a line of jewelry to inspire women who are stuck and struggling, Suraya is designing cross-body travel bags, inspired by her mission trips to Honduras and humanitarian travel, and Destiney is creating tote bags. Together, these women hope to use their business, Loving Me Design as a platform to spread positive messages of hope, inspiration and loving yourself.
They are working hard to create enough stock to launch their business in the Marketplace at the Women Mean Business Luncheon and Marketplace fundraising event on Oct. 12 at Minneapolis Convention Center.