Randi Blakeney – Divine Designs by Randi

Dawn Cauthen-Thornton | September 13th, 2018
Randi Blakeney - Divine Designs by Randi (Photos by Todd Youngblood)

Randi Blakeney – Divine Designs by Randi (Photos by Todd Youngblood)

Randi Blakeney is a self-proclaimed ‘super girly girl’. If you’ve ever laid eyes on the 5 footer, you can tell that she enjoys all things that will enhance inner beauty but showcase it on the outside. Over the years, she has had a reputation for putting fierce outfits together or having a banging hairstyle that no one else could pull off. She excels at pairing bold ideas with simple ones, no matter the object. To add more fuel to the fashion fire, in recent years, she has perfected her crafting game and created her own line of jewelry dubbed Divine Designs by Randi.

She shares that she’s always had side hustles, but the Greensboro native somehow fell in love with accessories and started creating neck pieces just for herself. “Jewelry always catches my eye when I’m out, so I would see something that I liked then buy the materials to make it myself,” says Randi.

While on maternity leave with her second son in 2007, she was up late one night for his feeding, and caught a glimpse of older women making jewelry. That gave her the confidence to try and make a few more items for herself. “I went and bought a couple cheap jewelry-making kits to just see what I could come up with.”
Soon after, her friends and family took notice and requested their own personal pieces. The more pieces she made the more orders she received. It didn’t take long for her to realize she could turn it into a business. By December of that same year, she had made enough items to launch Divine Designs by Randi and had an official launch party in downtown Charlotte.

The best part of creating her gorgeous pieces, is that she truly enjoys it. “It relaxes me. When I first started, I had two small children, so it was my outlet. And it’s something that doesn’t take me away from home too often.” If you have a hobby that allows you to make money, you’ve truly found a winner.

While Randi worked on her masterpieces in the wee hours of the morning, the N.C. A&T graduate held many different roles in Corporate America, the most recent one, a project manager at a major bank in Charlotte. She dreamed of one day committing herself full-time to her passion and this spring God said it was time to make the move. After months of preparation, she and her husband of 15 years, agreed. She left her position in February of 2018 and has never been happier. She’s grateful to finally have the opportunity to grow her business and even venture into new territory. She recently created a men’s collection and has plans for a children’s collection.

Currently, the line of chunky statement pieces are in three boutique stores. Happy Kat Candles and Gifts in Concord Mills and a soon-to-be south Charlotte location, and Jewelry Unique in downtown Winston Salem. She plans to be in many more locations in the coming months. Randi often attends vendor shows and most recently sold over 200 items at a convention. Her popular neck candy ranges from approximately $30 to roughly $75 and can differ for custom pieces.
The busy mother of two hesitates as she talks about how long she’s been growing her business. She doesn’t realize that it’s a sign of perseverance and dedication, not failure. I regularly converse with women who give up on their dreams or put them on hold because life has gotten in the way. Myself included. But Randi keeps on pushing, thinking of ways to be seen by promoting her business wherever she can. Next year she plans to attend her biggest event yet, a convention for Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., a sorority of which she is a proud member. (I joked that she needs to start making the pieces now, because she will absolutely sell out.) Yes, she’s partial to her favorite crimson and cream colors, but she is equally supportive of all Greek letter organizations and creates jewelry specifically utilizing their colors. She also specializes in wedding and bridesmaids pieces and loves to create one-of-a-kinds for each bridal party.

Randi makes a point to set high expectations for herself and has made a personal goal to place merchandise in larger boutiques across the south. When giving advice to budding entrepreneurs, she advises to focus on something you love. “What I do doesn’t even feel like work. Sometimes I can work on pieces until the sun comes up and not even realize it.”

With any venture, passion is number one. If you only like what you’re doing, grow to love it. You’ll never want to give it up, even if it takes years to flourish.

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