[dropcap letter=”B”]old, authentic, passion-driven. These are few of many words that can be used to describe twenty six year old entrepreneur Janae’ Bellamy. Since childhood, the Indianapolis native was drawn to fashion, accessorizing and making a statement. With a trunk full of Barbies and a hand full of fashion books soon to be picked apart and reinvented, there was no doubt that young Janae’ was in fact a natural creative.
Today she is the owner of, If You Dare, a promising brand that has been selling handcrafted, eye-catching earrings since 2017. PATTERN had the opportunity to learn more about Janae’ and the story behind Ifyudare.
Khaila King: Congrats on your latest release! Can you tell me more about how you were introduced to fashion and entrepreneurship?
Janae’ Bellamy: When I graduated high school, I went straight to college. I went to The Art Institute of Indianapolis for fashion and I also went to The Art Institute of Atlanta. I probably had a year and a half left and decided it wasn’t for me, A lot of the classes were talking about how to become an employee and that’s not something I was interested in. When I was living in Atlanta, I started to gain more interest in entrepreneurship. There were a lot of Black entrepreneurs riding around in these nice cars. I worked in the mall and I would have conversations with them and they often talked about owning their own business. I started asking myself, “what can I do to own my own business?” I got inspired in Atlanta for sure, to start building something of my own. When I was younger, I would always buy fashion books, cut out the clothes and paste them on different people. I had a trunk full of Barbie dolls too and I would always just dress them up, not even playing with them. I just dressed them up and put them back. Fashion was my thing.
KK: What is the message behind your brand name and how did you come up with it?
JB: I’ve been a bold person when it comes to accessories. I started off wearing big hoops, then I started buying statement pieces. I just knew my brand name had to be something bold. My friend and I were walking around on my lunch break and I was trying to figure out what I could name my brand. She actually came up with the name. I said “maybe I could call it something like dare,” and she said “If you dare.” Then it was a wrap. It was like back and forth word play. I just knew I wanted something bold and something daring, because my earrings aren’t for everybody. Some people like smaller earrings, but mine make a statement. I’m saying wear this, if you dare.
KK: Why earrings? Do you make them yourself or do you have a manufacturer?
JB: I hand make them myself. I chose earrings because it’s something that I wear regularly. I don’t necessarily wear necklaces, bracelets or rings. If I have to model it, I have to be authentic to self.
KK: Describe the process of developing a brand aesthetic?
JB: Wow, that takes time. When I first started I was the girl that had the cropped photos inside of the white boxes. I was definitely that girl, because I couldn’t figure out what I needed my aesthetic to be. However, I get really inspired by a lot of people that I follow. I follow a lot of bloggers and look at their pages for inspiration. I also noticed that I don’t like bright colors. Everything with a bright aesthetic, I ended up deleting so I just figured neutral colors really worked well for me. Then I use an app called UNUM that helps me plan my posts before I post them. I use it all the time, because sometimes I can be indecisive.
KK: Name three people who incite creativity in you?
JB: I really like Cris Cavallari, I wouldn’t call her a fashion blogger, but she dresses really cute. I would say, Vic Styles, I just love her aesthetic. I love everything about her page. I also love Bad Girl Good Human. Their instagram aesthetic is poppin’. It’s so good and everything just flows.
KK: What is a word of advice that you wish you had been told before starting a business?
JB: To be gentle with myself, with my artwork and with my business. I’m very hard on myself, like most creatives, but everything takes time and patience. I’ve been ready to give up on multiple occasions, but I’ve come to the realization that nothing happens overnight. You have to stay consistent, you have to keep doing your thing and it will all come together. It’s a process.
KK: What are your long term and short term business goals? Do you plan to expand to other accessories or clothing?
JB: I want to stick with earrings. I would be open to venturing out, only if it sticks out to me, but as a whole I’m an earrings type of girl. I could wear a plain outfit and put on some earrings that would just make the outfit pop. I’ve always wanted to partner up with a boutique or something of that nature so that it wouldn’t just be me selling my earrings. I would have multiple streams. That’s a long term goal. For the short term, I want to get my marketing on point. Running a business, you kind of learn as you go. I have the creative side down, but I want to start working more on the business aspect.
KK: Describe the most rewarding experience you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
JB: The most rewarding moment as a business owner was getting my first out of state order from a stranger, I remember having so much gratitude and being so happy with that.