We had the good fortune of connecting with Shayla J., MBA and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shayla, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
“Where there is no vision, there is no hope” – George Washington Carver

This quote is so empowering to me because we, at times, don’t realize how strong our thoughts in our mind are. In order to succeed in life, you have to first see how you would like your life to be, then believe that you can achieve it.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Belle Beads and More is a jewelry design company that specializes in creating uniquely designed jewels to add pizazz to your everyday look! I created Belle Beads in March of 2017 because of my love for unique accessories. I always knew that I wanted to start a business; whether it be jewelry, hats, scarves, sunglasses, or purses, I LOVE THEM ALL!!! One day, while sitting in my living room with my mom, I told her that I was ready to start my business. She said to me, “You can do whatever you put your mind to, Pumpkin! Do it!” And from that day, I knew that it was time for me to start this journey!

I have a background in the financial industry working for one of the top ten ranking banks here in the U.S. For the past nine years, I’ve been able to learn so much about money. Doesn’t sound too interesting, but working for a bank has taught me a lot about business; the importance of business banking, customer service, patience, negotiating, time management, and risk and compliance. I took everything I learned and decided to step out on faith and become a full time entrepreneur 12/25/2020.

A lot of people like to look at the end result, but starting and running a business, is not easy at all! There have been times where I just wanted to give up and throw the towel in, but I think about how far I’ve come and keep moving forward. The biggest lesson I’ve learned along the way is to KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE! Knowing who to market to and how to market to them effectively, will surely take your business far!

Prayer and hard work, has brought me thus far and I couldn’t be more than excited to see what’s in store for me and my brand!

My message to readers: Your motivation creates your income and your faith is your currency!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In RVA, there are so many things to do!

I’m not into clubs, but if you like lounges, Aces Sports Lounge is the place to be! Uptown Alley, a bowling alley, is another great spot to hang. If you would like to just chill and have a good time all day and night, Scotts Addition and Carytown are my favorite spots!

We have lots of museums with beautiful art and my favorite ones to check out are the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This may sound cliche, but my mother is my SHERO and I would love to dedicate my shout out to her! My mother has been an entrepreneur her entire life and she encourages me to live out my dreams as well.

Several years ago, my mother started to lose vision in one of her eyes; she is a licensed cosmetologist, so she needed both eyes to work. Although, she became legally blind, she still pressed on until she retired recently. Her resiliency is unmatched! My mother’s story lets me know that obstacles will be thrown your way, but you pivot and make the best out of the cards you are dealt!

I would also like to shoutout my tribe of three women who continues to push me past my comfort zone and I thank them so much for always supporting me and having my back…Naya, Tecorri, and Shantavia!

Website: BelleBeadsandMore.com

Instagram: @_belle_beads

Facebook: Belle Beads

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