Cynthia Jamin didn’t have much of a childhood.
The abuse, which started when she was 7 years old, took it away. Years of therapy healed many of her wounds, but when her two daughters each turned 7, those old wounds opened up all over again.
In her young girls, Cynthia saw herself. It was impossible for her to understand how the abuse could have happened.
Determined to begin the healing process again, Cynthia focused on how to give her daughters the childhood she never had, and she began sewing for them. She made reversible, twirly dresses that reflected their abundant childhood joy and innocence. Using the softest fabrics and the highest-quality stitching, she spared no expense or detail to give her daughters what she never had.
Soon other moms noticed the girls’ twirly dresses and began asking Cynthia to sew them for their daughters; suddenly, a business was born.
Cynthia started hand-sewing the dresses at her dining room table. Eventually, a local store began carrying her designs, and business exploded from there. Today, TwirlyGirl is a multi-million dollar business. Girls all over the U.S. and Canada are wearing and experiencing the joy of Cynthia’s heartfelt creations.
The rapid expansion from startup to successful small business didn’t come without its challenges, and there were growing pains along the way. “I’m not someone that works well under financial pressure,” says Cynthia. “I would rather the business have plenty of working capital so I don’t have to stress about paying the bills.”
Cynthia put all of her profits back into the business in the beginning, letting it grow organically and slowly. She learned at her own pace and let TwirlyGirl find its way. When it comes to financing a business, Cynthia recommends focusing on smart investments early on. Rather than leasing a huge office space for two employees, invest in branding and marketing first. Don’t break the bank when testing out new avenues, but don’t be afraid to spend a little money in order to make mistakes and learn.
“We kept doing trade shows until I finally accepted the fact that we were never going to be a wholesale business. Once we let go of that, after five to six failed attempts and tens of thousands of dollars later, we were able to go full steam ahead and focus on retail where our heart truly is,” shares Cynthia.
While she’s passionate about her business and her heart is woven into the details of every dress design, Cynthia says it’s her desire to be the best person she can in all areas of life that fuels her day in and day out. “My life motto is basically, ‘get to it—get to all of it,’” she shares. “It’s taken me a long time to develop into the woman I am today, and I’m not going to let anything stop me from reaching my full potential. It feels amazing to be able to get to this place from where I started.”
Cynthia’s advice to fellow entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners is simple. Be passionate about what you are doing. There will be no weekends or days off. Everything will be up to you, and while it’s exhilarating to control your own destiny, it requires a tremendous amount of responsibility and mindfulness. You are your brand. That means knowing every aspect of your business firsthand, even if you delegate your marketing, packaging, and customer service. “There is nothing like creating something from nothing … love what you do and also love yourself doing it,” she says.
Cynthia’s story has a happy ending. Every day when she goes to work, she recreates a little piece of the childhood she never had. Because of the success of the business, she’s able to donate a portion of all sales to Childhelp, a national non-profit organization that helps abused children—another big step toward healing old wounds.
“I think about how much freedom and joy this has given me already,” says Cynthia. “I honestly believe in what I’m doing and that I’m having a positive impact on the world. That belief and love just influences everything I do. It’s like going into the world with a super power.”