Tirzah Interview with Charity Jewell Walters
Hello sweet readers! Elizabeth again. Today, we are hosting Charity Jewell Walters, creator and owner of the online clothing store, Dainty Jewells! Charity designs and sells modest dresses, skirts, bridesmaids dresses and more on her site and she is with us today to share a little bit about herself, how her business was started, and give us some modest shopping tips! Also, stop by and check out the Dainty Jewells blog She's Intentional - it's such a rich offering of encouragement and inspiration. So, without further ado, meet Charity Walters!
If all of our readers were able to be here in person, what would you want our readers to know about you?
I'm 23 years old, and in addition to modest fashion, I love music. I play the piano, as well as a few other instruments. I also love young people! My husband is the youth pastor at our church, so we’re both very involved with teen ministry. Other things I love? Sweet tea, pink/gold/white as a color combo, and all things antique.
What is your favorite passage of Scripture and why is it your favorite?
So many passages are my “favorite.” I love Joshua 1:9—a beautiful reminder about God’s closeness in whatever circumstances we face. It’s so amazing to think of Him literally being with us everywhere we go. He doesn’t call you to do something and then just leave you to flounder as you try to figure it out. I also love Psalms 37:4 (God blesses and fulfills us when we put Him first!), Isaiah 40:3, and the story of Esther.
What does “Bible Study” or devotional time look like for you?
I love reading the Bible early in the morning as soon as I wake up. My mind is clearest then, not yet distracted by whatever things the day will hold. Sometimes I read at night, though, right before I go to bed, so I can “sleep” on what I just read.
What prompted you to start your clothing business? Did the blog come first or the clothing line?
The business came first, and the blog a few years later. When I was 16, I started selling unique, custom headbands on Facebook. By word of mouth, people became aware of my products and seemed to love them! Eventually, I decided I should probably give my small business (which was then strictly a hobby) a name, so I started with my middle name, “Jewell.” I’d always loved the word “dainty,” and from there Dainty Jewell's was born.
It was at that point that I also began embellishing and sewing my own clothing. I often struggled to find clothing in the stores that was modest, fashionable, and enjoyable to wear. I would wear my upcycled and embellished pieces to events, and people would always ask where I purchased them and if I sold them. It quickly got old telling people my creations weren't for sale, so I decided to try selling them. Business exploded from there!
I understand that your husband has taken over the warehouse management of Dainty Jewells. Tell us a little bit about your business. How many employees do you have? How did you get to this point?
Yes, he has. We started with only me. My parents always told me that God will bless you when you use your talent for Him, and I can say I’ve seen this firsthand! There came a point when I realized I couldn't do enough sewing myself to meet the demand of my orders, and I had to hire a seamstress. Orders kept coming in faster than we could keep up, and we now have ten employees.
In the beginning, I created around two to three pieces a week to meet the orders. Now, Dainty Jewell’s ships hundreds of orders a week, and it keeps growing. We just bought property to build a 6,000-square-foot warehouse to cater to the rapid growth we’re experiencing. To date, we have produced bridesmaid dresses for thousands of weddings around the country and internationally, in addition to launching over ten collections, including the most recent that released September 6.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I personally tend to be inspired by earlier eras of fashion, such as the 1930s-50s. So many amazing modest pieces were designed in those days, and many of them were modest naturally. I love boat necklines and ¾-length-sleeve tops tucked into a pleated, flared, tea-length skirt. I also love classic shift dresses. The thirties into the fifties era suits my personal tastes, but modest trends have always been around.
In the 60s and 70s, maxi dresses with thick collars were in style big time—I own a couple of vintage pieces from that era. In the 80s and 90s, anything bold and bright was in. Business styles for women have always mostly favored a modest appearance. Brands such as Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, etc., have carried various lines throughout the years that are super classy, and several of the pieces are timeless. Modest style is so classy, you can't go wrong with it!
Are all the dresses that we see on the site your personal designs or do some of your other employees design as well?
At this time, all pieces are personally designed by me.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that dress production is much like book publishing - there is a lot more to it than just writing the book. Tell us about the process. How do you go from having a design/sketch to actually seeing a dress for sale on the site?
First, I come up with the design. A lot of times, this happens randomly—like right before I’m falling asleep—so, I have to write down the idea really quick so I don’t lose it! I don't do a whole lot of sketching. I do some, but I mostly explain the design based off previous designs to my factory. They then take that information and come up with a sample for me to review, and they send me the fabrics to choose from. Once I pick fabrics, they send a final sample that I either approve or fix its errors. Once a design is approved, we go through production for the item and do a photo shoot with my photographer and models. It’s always a great feeling when a new piece is ready to add to the website!
What do you love most about your business?
I love that I am able to provide cute, comfy, elegant, modest apparel. You don’t have to layer tons of items to achieve a high standard of modesty with my designs, and I get a lot of feedback from customers about how they love that. I also love that through my business (because of my customers!), I’m able to support various ministries and needs. I love that I’m working daily with my husband. Our business is a goal and dream that we can pursue as a team, and I know that’s a special perk most couples don’t get with their jobs.
Tell us about the missions you are involved in and how you use your business as an outreach tool.
I love this aspect of my business! We have been able to support many foreign missionaries, either by sending them one-time gifts or through annual support. Also, we are able to send financial support to humanitarian needs that arise, such as the recent Louisiana flood that wreaked a lot of destruction this summer. We were able to send an offering to a church there that had lost everything, so that they could rebuild. We also support ministers’ wives and their daughters from time to time by supplying both clothing and financial support, as we feel they often sacrifice so much without getting a whole lot back in return. I love being able to show appreciation for their dedication and their calling in that way. It’s also a company goal for us to become more involved in sending clothes to children in developing countries.
You said something in your story video that made me SUPER excited. Something about a modest bridal line??! If I knew how to sew decently, I would love to do something like this myself. When I was looking for my wedding dress several years ago, I quickly found that there were precious FEW affordable options for modest wedding dresses. When can we expect to see this? Hurry! I have brides-to-be that I’d be happy to send your way. :) What caused you to consider expanding your company to include bridal dresses?
This is a goal and dream that’s still in the making! We are working on details, but I'll tell you that it will be amazing!! At this time, I still can’t spill too much.
While we are on the subject of modest bridal gowns, I’ve ran across of few photos here and there of your wedding dress. Tell us how your wedding dress came to be.
I originally intended to buy a gown and have it redone to be modest (I was honestly a little scared to design a wedding dress!). But I did sketch out a general idea of what I wanted, and I showed it to my seamstress. Back then I used to embellish everything that was made for Dainty Jewell’s, so my seamstress convinced me we could make it come to life! After much work, we did. She helped create the bodice, and I created the bow and the ruffle detail at the bottom. So fun—and so much work!
Besides making Dainty Jewells your first stop, what are three tips you could give us for shopping modestly in today’s clothing market? What are some stores that you prefer?
I love love to thrift (side fun fact!). I find so many unique pieces that I love. I also love shopping at Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and similar stores for modest essentials. A lot of times I still alter then to make them as modest as I like, though.
Living a set-apart life is a recurring theme here at Tirzah. What does it mean to you personally for a young woman to live a set apart life in the modern world?
To me, for a young woman to be set apart in this day and age means that she answers to God, and not the culture. The Bible is her guidebook and moral compass. She realizes that she’s been handpicked for a purpose by the Creator of the universe, and no amount of approval from the world can sway her to trade in her unique calling.
I also believe that being set apart gives us a responsibility to live lives consecrated to God. As it relates to modesty, I also believe that today’s set apart young women have a desire to keep themselves pure for their future husbands. Wearing fashionable, yet modest, clothing, promotes confidence in them even as society encourages immodesty. Being modest not only in the way she dresses, but also in lifestyle, fosters a young woman’s sense of security in knowing she is nurturing something special for her future soulmate that he will treasure forever.
The concept of dressing modestly as a Christian principle comes from the New Testament (1 Timothy 2:9), and the Lord was so wise in knowing what kind of negative societal issues immodesty would lead to. Many young women, like myself, are really excited to share with people that you can dress modestly and still be cute and fashionable. If women really got ahold of this concept, we would see a lot more modest designs on the runway, in street style, and in everyday fashions in general.
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Charity! We are so thankful for creative, Godly women with a vision and a heart for giving back that inspire us and encourage us that it is possible to follow our dreams!