Elizabeth Barnes Shares Her Journey From Pain to Purpose in Entrepreneurship

Pedestal Professionals is a weekly spotlight series on our blog that highlights Black women entrepreneurs who are forging new paths in their respective fields.

Meet this week’s Pedestal Professional, Elizabeth Barnes, Owner and Lead Designer of A Queen’s Charm, LLC! From Jackson, MS to Forth Worth, TX, she has been beautifying Black women with their own personal charms for years. If you want to see a fashionista channel style in a fun, unique, and memorable way, Liz is your girl! I am personally a huge fan of handbags from A Queen’s Charm, and got a custom red leather clutch for my birthday last year (and got tons of compliments on it, might I add!) We had a chance to chat with Liz to learn more about her powerful story and how AQC became a reality!

Thanks for joining us on the Pedestal, Liz! Tell us about yourself and a bit about your business. A Queen’s Charm, LLC was established in my beautiful hometown of Jackson, MS. in 2017. AQC has recently relocated its shop base to Fort Worth, TX. I am Queen Elizabeth B., owner and lead designer of AQC. I pride myself in carrying out AQC’s purpose statement: “Our Purpose is to Inspire the ‘QUEEN’ in you One ‘CHARM’ at a time.”

We specialize in one of a kind handmade custom handbags that we call “charms!” Each unique handcrafted “charm” is made with the customer’s vision/spirit in mind. It’s a joyous feeling to have the opportunity to create something in connection with each customer. With each customer, my goal is to encourage self-expression through freedom of choice before the “charm” is constructed.  A woman can resist something beautiful, but she can’t resist a “charm” with her vision in mind. 

IMG_2871Can you share with our readers how you got started? On November 9, 2013, sitting on my couch, I heard the most gut-wrenching sounds of what I now know were shots from an AK 47. In my home, the place where I should feel safe, my family and I were in the midst of a shootout between feuding card players. Yes! Anger over what detectives say was a card game turned my then safe space into a crime scene. I realized that I was struck as the powerful shot jolted me back and to the floor. I felt blood pouring from my head as I tried to slow down the bleeding by pressing my head against the couch. My eyesight dripping away like raindrops on a window. Thank the Lord the bullet was broken down by the window pane, and that literally saved my life. The bullet may have taken some of my vision, but it woke me up to my daily PURPOSE. 

Waking up out of surgery; the bright light shining in my hospital room assured me that my life had a purpose. It was time for me to listen and be patient for what the Lord had in store. It was time for me to be at peace with all that was to see in front of me. Essentially I had been given new life at a time when many (even other cases I knew from that same day) had gone through the same thing but did not wake to tell their story. I survived to tell my story for God’s glory! I survived to tell a miracle! I survived to live a meaningful life. My life mattered.

This was not an easy road when that revelation came across. I had done a lot of reading, mentoring, praying and returning to dreams inside of me as a child. As a child you are most optimistic about your future, and as a child, fashion was my dream! Modeling, acting, dancing and being creative were my outlets that I kept tucked away behind closed doors. Many people don’t know all of the auditions and tryouts that I have gone on and got turned down. Now I understand that it was not for me. 

 In March of 2017 with much prayer and surrendering my plans to follow what the Lord had in store; I quit my job. I dove headfirst into finding purpose in my natural talents. Creating! With much support from my husband and a special friend that I refer to as my partner in purpose; A Queen’s Charm, LCC was fearlessly established. 

IMG_2876Tell us about your educational journey. I was blessed to attend Mississippi University for Women (known to students and locals as The W) for 2 years. At the W, I met some of my lifelong friends and sisters. Joining the ranks of some of the most ambitious and wise women was a dream come true. By no strength of my own, the Lord surrounded and bonded me with 12 beautiful ladies in Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated. As of spring 2008, I had been involved in over 5 organizations on campus, coordinating shows on the Elite Modeling Squad and joined my dream sorority. Life was perfect as I saw it. 

Just as I thought life was getting started, it sped up quick! I had been blessed with a beautiful baby girl at the age of 21 before I could start my sophomore year. Being as sick as I was during pregnancy, I had no choice but to put school on the back burner. I fiercely vowed to complete my education at a later time. I knew giving up on it was not an option. 

By the age of 22, I was facing the beginning of what would be a long grueling divorce, single parenthood, depression and fighting to survive on minimum wage. It felt like life was tumbling with no return. So I contemplated suicide. Thank the Lord He was always there for me to cry and pray those failed attempts away. 

Victoriously, in the summer of 2010, I enrolled in my hometown school, Thee Jackson State University. I had made up in my mind that I needed to focus on something that would elevate me from the position I was in. I needed more, I needed something to fight for. For 2 years straight, including summer, I worked diligently for my degree. In May of 2012, I strutted across the stage with pride and a smile so bright astronauts in space could see the reflection! I had defeated all the statistics line in front of me and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. 

IMG_2873What’s the most rewarding part of what you do? Fulfilling the purpose of AQC is most rewarding: “Our Purpose is to Inspire the ‘QUEEN’ in you One ‘CHARM’ at a time.” The opportunity to inspire through the transparency of my journey; past and present. The pleasure of making a customer’s vision come full circle and the excitement they exude is life changing. It pushes me to continue to learn more and challenge my abilities. One of my favorite quotes is by Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

IMG_2869Did you encounter any challenges along your journey? If so, how did you overcome them? Yes! Challenges come all the time. Some I know will come so I prepare for them by educating myself, asking questions and daily maintenance of my business. Challenges that I do not foresee, I find a way to learn from them. There is always room to grow and most times it’s through obstacles that we learn the best and the most. Each challenge, known or unknown, is purposed to build you and that’s how I choose to look at it. 

In your opinion, what is unique about being a professional Black Woman? The unique thing about being a professional Black Woman is my journey. My past experiences, whether good or bad, shaped me. Vision sets me in a position to look through past my present. Faith in the promise of legacy and impact pushes me for GREATER. All of it makes me unique as a professional Black Woman because my journey is like no other. My unique journey leads me to my unique purpose. 

IMG_2875What’s your personal mantra? I actually have 2: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness, that most frightens us.” AND the old saying, “You are the company you keep.”

What you think of yourself subliminally translates into your everyday life and speech. So who you hang around and what you fill your mind with is vital to your living in peace. You want a life of purpose? Surround yourself with people that are walking in purpose or crave it as much as you do.IMG_2872

What’s one piece of advice you would give to aspiring Black women professionals and entrepreneurs? Trust in the woman in the mirror staring back at you. What she speaks in faith moves mountains. The woman in the mirror, every step she takes, has a purpose for her future. 

How can people learn more about your products, services, and/or journey? For the most updated products/services, follow AQC on social media. Feel free to like and comment because feedback is appreciated. Instagram, @aqueenscharm; Facebook, A Queen’s Charm, LLC; Snapchat, queencharms88.  Our website is available 24 hours a day and worldwide for product purchasing: http://www.etsy.com/shop/AQueensCharm

Is there anything else you would like us to know? 
I am humbled at the opportunity to tell a piece of my life’s journey on this amazing platform. Often people wonder why I call myself Queen. My dad, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, named me after Queen Elizabeth of England. As a little girl, I would always think of myself as a Queen because of it.  I skipped princess; the Queen was it for me! My dad didn’t realize the future he spoke into my life by naming me after a Queen. After committing my life to purpose, I crown my self as a reminder that my light shines no matter what. Whether win or fail, I’m still when it’s all said and done, Queen Elizabeth B. 

Thank you for the opportunity! 

If you, or someone you know, would like to be featured in Pedestal Professionals, please complete the form in the “Connect” section or email us at pedestalprojectorg@gmail.com.

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