People find their passion at all different points in life. For some, they may discover it in college; it may emerge and evolve slowly over time. For others, they may never truly find out what drives them. Charline Shelby discovered her passion at a very young age. She fell in love with creating beautiful things to make people feel beautiful when they wore them. She could see that creating a piece of jewelry was more than simply stringing beads and stones and twisting wire. A piece of jewelry could complete an outfit, express an emotion, or it could bring meaning to a day.
Many years later, Charline found herself a corporate business woman married with two stepchildren. She had taken the path recommended in life. She had gone to school, secured a professional position, fell in love, climbed the corporate ladder and was raising a family.
Still, that passion for jewelry remained in her through it all. She consumed information on the subject by researching stones and materials and learning new techniques. Her creations developed as she walked through life. As she grew up, so did her skills and the level of her designs. Charline gets her inspiration for designs sometimes while she is asleep. A design appears in her dream and she immediately gets up and begins to work on it.This creative artist also gets inspiration from people that she sees or things she watches on television.
Charline spent her spare time over the years creating pieces for friends and family. It was often that she found herself joyfully creating a piece that a loved one or co-worker had requested.
In 2008, Charline finally heeded the urges of friends and family to shift from hobbyist to entrepreneur and created Fabulina Designs. Her parents and husband were really supportive of everything that she was doing which was truly a blessing to her. Drawing from the inspirations of her youth, Charline combines her knowledge and passion for the spiritual healing powers of metals and gems with a strong fashion-forward vision that results in the distinct style of Fabulina Designs. She loves to use HEMATITE, a “Stone for the Mind”, because it brings mental organization and is very grounding and calming. It helps with original thinking. Physically it has been used to keep the body cool, to decrease blood disorders, nervous problems and insomnia, as well as align the spine and mend broken bones. She likes to wear Onyx because with so much she has going on the designer has trouble remembering things. ONYX is strength giving and beneficial in difficult or confusing periods. It has been used for wound healing, childbirth and to increase stamina and self-control. Black onyx and red onyx are associated with the base (root, first) chakra. White onyx is associated with linking the base and crown chakras to have balanced energy throughout the chakra system.
Olivia Valentino is the name of her upscale line from Fabulina designs. Charline was asked why she uses the name Olivia Valentino and she replied, “Olivia is my middle name and Valentino is my husband’s middle name so I put it together. I wanted a name that sounded high end and couture so I choose Olivia Valentino. Valentino is actually the name of my company’s men’s line.”
She describes the collection as eclectic, fun, and timeless. Currently the line is being sold in 30 stores including areas such as Paris and the Ivory Coast. The company has a 50 boutique goal and they are 10 boutiques away from completing the goal. When asked was it easy getting her designs inside retail stores, the designer said, “It took me about a year and a half to get my stuff in retail stores. I’m Thankful to Dana, the owner of Fabrik, for giving me the opportunity to have my pieces sold in Fabrik.”
Because she is in high demand right now, some of the challenges Charline face as a designer is making the jewelry. Of course she has people that help but the designer still likes to do quality control and put the finishing touches on the pieces. She has to make sure it has the best quality and is not coming apart. She balances work and time with the family by setting priorities and days aside to do different things.
Designer Amanda Williamson was so intrigued by Fabulina Designs, she requested that Charline participate in New York Fashion Week 2013. “It felt amazing! I found out through Instagram. I didn’t receive a phone call! It was overwhelming but in a good way! It was a lot of work for a 5-10 minute production. It was an honor to announce Fabulina Designs adorned the models of Ennyluap by designer Amanda Williamson in NYFW 2013 at Hellen Mills and at Empire Hotel. It was an incredible experience and I thank Amanda Williamson for selecting Fabulina Designs as their jewelry sponsor.”
Charline advises breakout designers to keep working and pushing their brand. “Never give up!”As we can see with her company, hard work definitely helps to accomplish major goals. Fabulina Designs is on the way to becoming a company that fashion editors will use for trend watching each season.
By Kela B.
Top Image Photography Ahmad Barber