5 Things That Made a Difference to Jeanine

Starting off the series is Jeanine Hays of AphroChic. Jeanine is one to admire not just because she creates such beautiful, soulful, vibrant, and stylish home decor pieces (fabulous enough to be featured by Lucky magazine and Elle Decor, among others!), but because her story of changing careers, dreaming big, and following her passion is so inspirational. Read on to find out what has made a positive influence in this successful entrepreneur's beautiful life:
1. My husband. He absolutely makes me feel like I can do anything. We work in partnership on our company, and I would have never taken the leap to start AphroChic without him. He was the one who encouraged me to start blogging, and when I said I wanted to make textiles, he believed that we could do it. I really thank him for encouraging me to dream big and make my dreams a reality.

2. Getting laid off. For years I had been wanting to take the leap from my previous job as a lawyer to a full-time designer. I was afraid of leaving the stability of a day job. At the end of 2010 I was informed that I was going to be laid off, and it is the best thing that has happened. I am now working full-time on my business and loving it! I believe it's true that when one door closes, another one opens. Now I can focus fully on the growth of my company.

3. "She Lived A Life She Loved" - Kobi Yamada. I was at a bookstore a couple of years ago and spotted the book "She..." by Kobi Yamada. It was full of beautiful inspirational quotes for women. I was struck by the quote and reflected on it for some time. Was I living a life I loved? Was I doing what I wanted with my life? What would a life I love look like? And I think I've finally made it to the point where I am living a life that I love - close to family, working on things that I'm passionate about, and enjoying time with my husband. It's a beautiful life.

4. My mother. She was my first influence and truly my greatest influence. My mother taught my sister and I one thing - to do our best. She never pressured us to follow a certain direction, but let us move on our own, choosing our own path, and simply asked us to do our best every step of the way. I love her for giving me that freedom to develop and grow into who I am today. And I still always do my very best no matter what I'm working on.

5. Great girlfriends. I have no idea what I would do without many of the amazing women in my life. It's important to have a group of friends that you can laugh with, cry with, just sit around and dish with, and who always encourage and believe in you. I feel blessed to have incredible friendships.