When 37 year-old LaShawndla Bailey Miller received a strange overseas call on March 8, 2022, she was hesitant to answer, believing it was a scam. After answering, she was still skeptical, despite the caller identifying herself as someone from the British High Commission.
“I was informed that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were coming to Jamaica, but my first thought was, why was I being told all of this?” LaShawndla reflects.
After showcasing her jewelry line at the 2021 Christmas Expo in Kingston, LaShawndla’s bracelets were a part of the expo’s catalog and had been selected as possible gifts for Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Given little time, she was asked to prepare the bracelets the next day.
“The very next night they came to my house for the bracelets, informed me not to say anything, and said that they would be in touch,” she adds.
LaShawndla heard nothing further and took it off her mind. It was not until March 22 that she received a message on her Instagram page asking where to get the bracelet seen on the Duchess of Cambridge during her tour in Jamaica. And that is when LaShawndla’s life changed!
LaShawndla is a social entrepreneur who makes jewelry to inspire and uplift people.
More than fifteen years ago, jewelry making was a hobby for her; however, it was through her hobby that she wanted to inspire others. It was in her darkest moment when she sat under a tree, and a stranger came up to her and said, “Jesus loves you.” And because he inspired her, she wanted to inspire others. In 2016, she formed Inzzpire365, a jewelry business that inscribes motivational quotes on bracelets, and carries other jewelry such as necklaces, rings, earrings, and ear cuffs.
In 2017, LaShawndla connected with the USAID- supported Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI). The SEBI program helps microenterprises increase employment, investment, and revenue within target communities across Jamaica in a socially responsible manner, helping them to transition from micro business into small and medium businesses.
“Through SEBI, LaShawndla improved her business and leadership skills, received equipment and other resources to enhance her social enterprise, and participated in a social innovation study tour to San Francisco to learn more about social entrepreneurship,” said Claudette Anglin, Development Assistance Specialist, USAID/Jamaica. “USAID recognizes that social entrepreneurship is more than jobs. It is helping people realize their potential. It is providing opportunities for individuals, promoting innovation, and supporting local small businesses.”
LaShawndla noted that as part of the many resources she received, one that has been extremely beneficial was an engraver, as it was instrumental in allowing her to expand her jewelry line. This has allowed her to inscribe inspirationational quotes on certain types of jewelry, allowing her to attract new customers.
The Duchess of Cambridge is one such customer, wearing bracelets from both of LaShawndla’s jewelry lines while on tour in Jamaica. Feeling excited and overwhelmed at the same time, LaShawndla admits that she doesn't even have time to process it all because of the number of orders she has been getting, and her main priority right now is to fulfill these orders. What was also inspiring were the number of social media tags and messages from people all over the world supporting and promoting her line in places as far away as Australia.
In addition, because of the Duchess’ support for her jewelry, LaShawndla has been invited to showcase her jewelry line during “London Accessory Week'' this summer, which attracts fashion lovers and is associated with fashion figures such as Vivian Westwood.
With all the support that she is getting, LaShawndla’s dream for the future is that her jewelry line will not only be known internationally but also sold in stores globally.