Sanford mom opens online boutique that blends her passions of fashion, faith
Posted November 8, 2020 8:24 p.m. EST
Chelsea Jennette has big plans for the online boutique she opened this spring in the midst of a pandemic. Her goal with CharleyMadelyn, which is named after her twin 18-month-old daughters, is to empower women through faith and fashion. She also hopes to raise awareness about infertility, something she's struggled with in her own life.
Jennette has many titles — online boutique owner, blogger, mom and wife. She's also a lawyer working in the healthcare industry. I checked in with Jennette, who lives in Sanford with her husband and kids, to learn more about her boutique and her work. Here's a Q&A. (And shout out to Restored for connecting me with Jennette!)
Go Ask Mom: You call CharleyMadelyn a fashion and faith boutique. How did it get its start, and what all do you offer?
Chelsea Jennette: CharleyMadelyn got its start through my first creative outlet- my blog titled a Fashionable Believer that I started in 2017.
I wanted to share my experiences as a believer but also share about my love of fashion. As time went on, I learned that not only could these two worlds co-exist in the same space but also could be utilized together to empower women that the best is yet to come.
I always had a passion for both faith and fashion, but I felt God calling me to this space in 2019 when I first registered my boutique as a business and in June 2020 we officially launched.
At CharleyMadelyn, you will find women's feminine and chic clothing as well as faith-based and inspirational items such as coffee mugs, devotional books, and journals. More than that, we want to serve as a reminder to women that whatever season you are in life, You can and will conquer it.
GAM: What do you love about fashion? Why is it one of your passions?
CJ: I love how fashion has the ability to truly enhance your confidence. I also love it's ability to serve as a way to express yourself. I have loved fashion since I was younger as it was something my mom and I bonded over as we planned all of my outfits for the beginning of each school year up until my senior year in high school.
GAM: You wear a lot of hats. Lawyer, recent MBA grad, boutique owner, mom, wife, daughter. How are juggling it all?!
CJ: I asked myself that quite often! In sum, a lot of prayers, coffee and an amazing support system.
My mom lives with us, so she has been such an incredible blessing being able to help with our girls during the day and on the weekends when we have pop-ups for the boutique. My husband has an incredible way of setting up and breaking down our pop-ups with such ease. I also have two of my closest friends who help me during my pop-ups.
It's not easy at all and, at times, it can be very overwhelming. But during those times I try to remember to stop what I am doing, take a deep breath and pray, asking God for strength.
GAM: Your own journey includes a struggle with infertility before having your twin daughters, and now through CharleyMadelyn you're helping others who are in the midst of their own struggle. What are you doing, and why did you want to raise awareness?
CJ: I have always wanted to be a mom. I was the child that when someone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I would always say, 'a mother.' So, at the age of 28, when my husband and I were diagnosed with "unexplained infertility" and I learned that I may never get to be someone's mom, it was one of the worst feelings we ever experienced.
Not only did we feel so much pain, but personally I was ashamed of myself, I was ashamed that my body couldn't do what it was "supposed to do," so I lived with that shame in silence.
Once, we found out we were pregnant after a year and a half fertility journey, I knew that I wanted to help women by not only sharing my story but encouraging them during theirs. Going through a fertility journey is tolling in all aspects. Not only emotionally, mentally, and physically but also financially as well. We wanted to be able to provide a little relief to couples going through treatments. So each month we honor and highlight a couple that is either just starting treatments or are in the midst of treatments and we donate 10% of our monthly proceeds to their treatments.
We want to raise awareness because we want to let others know that they aren't alone in this journey and we truly believe that your story has the power to change someone else's experience. I also want to bring awareness about infertility as a whole. Our own journey has brought to our attention so many others going through the same journey.
GAM: Faith is a big part of your life. How has it helped you navigate these unprecedented times?
CJ: Faith has always been a part of my life. I was raised in a family where the word can't wasn't in your vocabulary not because it limited your strength but because it limited God's.
My family not only told me what faith was, but I witnessed it first hand through their actions and how they lived their life. Since I was younger, I always knew God had a plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11). Faith has gotten me through some pretty tough times in life, knowing that better is on it's way and that brighter days are coming.
Faith is also relying on God's strength and knowing that His plans are so much greater than yours. My pastor references faith as a muscle; the more experiences you go through, the stronger that muscle is.
My faith as a 23-year-old entering law school and believing and hoping that I would be able to graduate is different than my faith as a 26-year-old who watched cancer turn my tough-as-nails dad to someone who was ready to surrender; or a 28-year-old who wanted nothing more but to become a mom. Although all of these experiences were different, the one thing that remains is God. Faith reminded me that the same God that got me through that situation will get me through this one. Faith is the reason I opened CharleyMadelyn in the midst of a global pandemic.
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