Cheryl Shuman, the founder and CEO of “Diamond Essence Couture – Online Closet Boutique”, a former Design Engineer with General Motors for 15 years has now entered the exciting world of “ Entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, due to illness in 2013 her career as an engineer was cut short with General Motors. Because of Cheryl’s faith and the medical competence of the staff at U of M Ann Arbor She is now poised to propel her dream. Cheryl attended Mott Community College and attained an Associates degree in Applied Science. She then attended Central Michigan University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s Degree. She is currently pursuing her second Master’s Degree from U of M-Flint. With all the past successes Cheryl has achieved, this driven perfectionist continues to see herself on an academic and professional journey to achieving even more goals both personally and professionally. Mrs. Shuman worked for years in corporate America where the concept of appropriate and professional dress definitely played a role in her fashion choices. Thus, it became apparent that “ fashion “ would be an element of what would be the catalyst as she pondered the direction she would pursue for the next chapter in her life (entrepreneurship). The pressing questions for her though were; Where does she start ? How does someone get into the business ? What are the pros and cons of running a successful company ? Those questions and uncertainty only strengthened her resolve to take on the challenge. Mrs. Shuman’s believes in the old adage “You will get out of it, what you put in it” and is embracing her new career as an “ Entrepreneur” embracing her new title of “ wardrobe stylist “ and “ speaker “ within the fashion industry. Cheryl has always had a strong belief in faith and family and now, she along with her supportive husband Bernard, have committed to mentally, physically, and financially investing in “D.E.C. Couture Boutique” to see this endeavor to its fruition successfully.
Thank you for doing this interview with us! Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
Well, I’m a former Design Engineer with General Motors for over 15 years. I’m married to my wonderful husband Bernard Shuman who is also a GM retiree. I attended Mott Community College and attained an Associate’s degree in applied Science in 1992. I then received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1997, as well as a Master’s Degree in 2003, from Central Michigan University. I’m currently pursuing a second Master’s degree (starting in 2015), from the University of Michigan-Flint. Unfortunately, due to an illness in 2013, my career as an engineer was cut short
with GM. I wasn’t able to return to work and forced to retire early. Because of my faith, I kept moving forward.
How did you get in the business of online boutiques?
I would have to give credit for my inspiration to start a business to a couple of people, my two nieces Amber and La’Sha. They are my inspiration for both clothes and jewelry. Embracing my new lifestyle, I wanted to incorporate my love of fashion as part of my next journey in life. With the support of my husband, friends and family, I stepped out on faith and started my own business.
An idea came to mind to start a family couture line. I couldn’t just pick one fashion item. So I decided to do the whole store. Working with my two nieces, we looked at the latest trends
from clothing, jewelry, shoes, handbags and other fashion accessories. I used Web.com to build my ‘Online Boutique’ business website and business Facebook page. While the website was being built, I was off running selecting (buying) items for the boutique.
Do you sometimes regret not being able to stay with General Motors?
Absolutely, I put my all in my career with GM. But ultimately, I can’t honestly say that they put their all in me. I would simply sum it up by saying that my subsequent illness, exposed upper
management as having a lack of flexibility to accommodate crucial time that I needed medically, off of the job. Yes, it was tough.
Can you tell us about D.E. C. Boutique and what you sell?
Sure, Diamond Essence Couture – Online Boutique. That’s www.diamondsessencecouture.com. We are an online women’s clothing boutique. Not only clothing but we also sell clutches, handbags, shoes, bandage/couture dresses and other fashion
asso. What makes my boutique unique is that I cater to all sizes. My boutique sizes start from Small to 2X. I cater to all size women.
My mission is to give life encouragement and make women feel beautiful. No one is excluded. I like to stress to women that Diamond Essence Couture – Online Boutique carries fashion sizes from Small to XXL (2X). We recognize that women have curves; here at D.E.C we embrace that with our clothing, my motto “Embrace Your Curves”. I vow to dress women in beautiful and affordable quality clothing. I want to aspire to bring the best inside of women to the forefront.
Do you think what you learned in attaining your degrees in the past has helped you in your company today? If so, how?
Yes, I do. My degrees helped me with skills such as project management. College and working at GM (for over 15 years) have taught me how to delegate tasks, in the pursuit of completing certain initiatives. Also college and my job experience have shown me the importance of networking. You don’t know it all. Have the humility to defer a greater talent, understand your
strengths and quickly learn how to cultivate them.
Who are some notable clients that you have worked with?
We employee a Marketing/Promotion Manager (Stephanie Watson), C.P.A Firm (Marketing & Associates, Inc.), we’ve also hired DJ & Lighting specialists (Timeless Entertainment), and Professional Event Planner/Decorating (Cesar’s’ Event Planner, Inc.), while trying to promote the business. And as a new startup company, we can boast a few first time sales at our open house, D.E.C. – Online Boutique Launch Event, April 12th at The Grand Blanc, Gateway Center Holiday Inn.
What are some items that are popular during spring/summer wear?
Right now D.E.C – Boutique featuring the following items for the 2015 spring/summer wear:
Summer Dresses l Long & Casual Summer l Bandage Herve Leger Bodycon Celeb Style Evening Dresses l for the Heel Fanatic – Durable footwear that can be used in a variety of ways during the season l Colorful Clutch & handbags l Jumpsuits & Rompers l Skirts & Shorts l Jeans Color Skinny Denim Jeans l Shoes & Booties – Unique shoe styles, always comfortable fashionable
feminine styles. I’m currently, working on D.E.C – 2015 Spring/Summer Catalog. I’m working with a graphic designer (Holyhostnet – Design Inc.) in developing the main cover page for D.E.C – 2015 Spring/Summer Catalog. Our goal is to have the catalog completed by the end of May 2015 and ready for mail outs by first of June.
What is the most difficult thing about running an online boutique?
To be truthful, the answer to that question is to be determined. We (D.E.C) are new, online entity, so I guess we will soon find out. At this point we’ve just trying to cover all bases. There are
a lot of layers that comprise a business. We’ve fast learning that, ‘you don’t know what you need, until as a business, you determine, what you want’. Both I and my husband wear many hats in our business. I’m CEO l Wardrobe Stylist l Fashion Consultant. My husband is Co-owner l Sales
Director of Greater MI. l Sales Promoter
With all that you’ve learned throughout life, what would be something that you know now that you would tell your younger self?
This question is truly the most thought provoking of this entire interview. So far, after consideration, I would enlighten my younger self of a systemic effort by many local, state, and
federal institutions, to impede the progress, and upward mobility of women and minorities. So study hard, and work hard, to be successful. I would tell my younger self that, ‘A journey of a
thousand miles, begins with the first step’! I would impress on the minds of young folk like myself and others, to participate in, and become a part of the political process that directly affects the trajectory of our lives. The best advice, I would give my young self, life ‘It’s not a race, don’t rush, and enjoy the life journey. Most of all, do what it is you want to do, when you are ready’!
Where are some of your links that we can keep up with your updates?
Here is a list of social media that Diamond Essence Couture Ð Online Boutique is using.