Women Who Own It
Sharon W. Reynolds
Founder & CEO, Bryla J Couture Clothiers
What inspired you to start your business?
I am a firm believer that inspiration is the start of something great if your passion takes hold of the dream. After the birth of our first grandchild in 2017, I was inspired to launch Bryla J. Couture Clothiers as a result of a trip to an international fabric market while visiting our son, an expat with a large US firm. Both Bryla and her Mom, the company’s Creative Director, experienced challenges during childbirth. It was a distressing, yet eye-opening pause for me to turn this experience into something positive. My love for fashion, coupled with adding a philanthropic component to the company was a no-brainer. We donate a portion of every purchase to the March of Dimes and St. Jude Children’s Hospital in exchange for the blessing of life for our granddaughter and daughter in law. Fashion for a purpose and the BJC line was born.
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
The advice I share as a woman entrepreneur is be prepared to work hard and very long hours in your business. This commitment sets the stage for you to work on your business and not continually in your business. There is a big difference. Also, take the time to understand every line item of your Profit & Loss statement and Balance Sheet; both are the core foundational financial documents that drive the success of the firm. Know where your dollars are at all times. Become the bold change agent other young women business owners aspire to be by setting good examples in your business acumen and by being visible in the community. Show your passion for good causes and challenge others to join you in your quest to make a difference in the lives of others. Last, but certainly not least, take good care of yourself and minimize stress in your life.
What three traits define you?
Three traits that define my character are tenacity, compassion, and passion. Tenacity means persistence, determination, and perseverance. As a serial entrepreneur and CEO of three other companies, I never give up. I find ways to get around challenges in my businesses by persistence. To minimize feeling overwhelmed, I make every effort to finish important tasks as soon as possible. The second trait is compassion. I learned early on how important it is to show empathy to others and to be sensitive to differences we share as people. The third trait is passion. Fashion has been my passion since I was a little girl. My Aunt Gloria made my first dress for Easter at age 7, and I truly believe that moment is where it all started. By the time I was 8 years old, I was helping her make my clothes. I pay homage to her as she was the driver of these characteristics in me.
How has being a WBENC-Certified WBE helped your business?
The early years after launching my first two businesses without WBENC Certification left me in a lonely space. I had no support or connections with corporations I knew needed my products and services. No other certifications obtained by my companies have been remotely close to the support and success I have achieved through my association with WBENC. This organization is true to its commitment to helping women business owners achieve results after the certification process by offering powerful tools to engage. Get certified and get involved!
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?
The retail clothing business has its ups and downs as the economy ebbs and flows. It is important to establish a loyal client following. Consumers will decide if they desire to do business with your company based on specific needs, pricing, quality, customer service, and your overall reputation. Neither of these characteristics can be ignored.
What’s your favorite career moment?
My favorite career moment was deciding that I had a unique opportunity to launch a specialty couture clothing line styled for the executive woman with discriminating taste with a penchant for saving money. The launch was fueled by a heart for giving back in support of my premature granddaughter. Having the ability to give back to the March of Dimes and St. Jude Children’s Hospital has meaning. Hence, Bryla J Couture fashion for a purpose was born. Our goal is to make contributions to these two organizations as we continue our growth.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
I would spend the extra time finishing two books that are dear to my heart. The first one focuses on raising two successful African American sons with my husband of 40 years as an inspiration to others who may find our experiences helpful.
What are you reading or listening to now?
I am excited to have recently completed the book, Becoming Michelle Obama. Her raw and candid writings about her experiences as former First Lady of the United States, coupled with being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, public speaker, and friend offered me many glimpses into my own life. While I was never a First Lady, I identify with all the others. As a CEO/Founder of several companies, her book was inspirational, fascinating and keeps me motivated to keep looking up. While driving, I enjoy listening to Ted Talks on life topics.
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I... start with the end in mind…winning!
If I could go back in time, I would… pace myself.
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… the love and support of my family.
By this time next year, I will be… saving more lives with our innovative products.
The best thing that happened to me last week was… receiving and RFQ from a Fortune 500.
To get my creative juices flowing, I… take long showers or plane trips.
Bryly J Couture Clothiers
Couture fashion for modern women around the world with distinctive taste who desire high quality style at irresistible prices. Our customers believe in the art of living boldly and we provide designs that reflect a woman’s individual style.
Bryla J Couture Clothiers was launched to create a legacy for Sharon Reynolds’ granddaughter who suffered a premature birth and bring empowered elegance to every woman. A portion of each sale is donated to the March of Dimes and other relative 501(c)3 organizations and empowers women to pursue their dreams