"It won't happen overnight and you will surely get discouraged along the way, but you must remain steadfast in your goal and dream." - Jasmine Hunter

Jasmine Hunter is a wife, mom and entrepreneur based in Central Florida. After completing a Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Design and Marketing from the International Academy of Fashion and Design, Jasmine launched her very own clothing company called Jay Hunt Designs. She attended the 2015 New York Fashion Week and received all positive feedback on her collection.

Go Jasmine! We can't wait to see Jay Hunt Designs in our favorite department store :).

Every Ella: Hi Jasmine! Tell us about yourself.

Jasmine Hunter: I am a wife and mother of 2 (Sharrod Jr - 5, Jaslynn - 3). I'm originally from Dallas, TX and moved to Florida at the age of 15. 

You're a wife, mom and entrepreneur. What is your secret to juggling it all?

Time management! The last thing I ever want to do is get wrapped up in my work and look back and realize I missed my children's childhood or put my marriage second. Yes, my business is very important to me, but I will always have that drive to meet my goals. My children will not always be children, so my family comes first. But having the full support of my husband and children of my entrepreneurial endeavors makes everything run smoothly. 

Did you always know you wanted to work in the fashion industry?

No. I always liked fashion and shopping but didn't think of it as a job. I went to a normal college and majored in something safe, but I wasn't passionate about it. Due to a family matter, I was forced to withdraw. While at home one day, I was watching a red carpet event and saw a dress that I didn't like. Subconsciously, I grabbed a piece of paper and started to re-sketch it. My husband walked in the room and noticed what I was doing and suggested I go to fashion design school. And the rest is history. 

What did you study in school?

I majored in Fashion Design and Marketing and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the International Academy of Design and Technology. 

What is Jay Hunt Designs and how did you come up with the idea?

Jay Hunt Designs is a clothing company specializing in modern, trendy, chic clothing with a classic feel. The idea was a long time in the making, especially searching for the perfect name that captured the essence of my style. I created this company to make a style of clothing that I rarely found in stores. Something stylish, yet modest. 

What were you initial goals with your company and have they changed with time?

My initial goal was to one day be sold in a major department store, and that remains true today. I remain steadfast in my goal to create a line that I can sell nationwide through a major distributor. 

What's been the biggest challenge launching your own fashion designs?

The biggest challenge has been getting everything done on my own; from building the website, marketing and promoting, customer service and designing and creating the pieces all myself. My hope is to soon get some relief to free me up, so I can continue to build my brand. 

What is your process when coming up with new designs?

It starts with an inspiration, a picture, a mood, something that has one continuous vibe throughout the collection. Then there is a color concept chosen, a group of 3 to 4 colors to keep the collection consistent. And from there I start sketching. I can sketch 30 or more ideas out of my head and only choose 10-15 that make the final cut to get made. 

What's been your most rewarding experience so far?

The most rewarding experience has been going to New York Fashion Week. It was gratifying to get so much great feedback in the fashion capital in the United States.

Tell me about New Year Fashion Week. How exciting!

It was amazing! Nothing but great feedback. To showcase on the grandest stage, it was truly humbling. 

What advice would you give other girls hoping to launch a company.

Be patient and confident. It won't happen over night and you will surely get discouraged along the way, but you must remain steadfast in your goal and dream. Continue to educate yourself and work hard. Success will come.

You helped organize your town's FIRST fashion week. How did you make that happen and are you hoping it continues for years to come?

It was amazing to be apart of Lakeland's first ever fashion week. It was a long process of planning and collaborating with people in different fields around the city. We picked each other brains to make sure everyone's ideas were implemented to make for the best fashion week possible. 

I hope that it does continue. As a designer, I have to look for shows outside of the city to continue to keep my brand relevant. Having a fashion week in Lakeland makes me proud to showcase and build it in my own city.  

You're also very involved in your community. Why do you think inspiring girls is so important?

Our youth follows what they think is "cool" and there are many things with that definition; some good and some bad. But it seems that now being an entrepreneur is cool. Young girls are noticing the work myself and other fashion designers are doing. This shows them that you can make a business doing something you love and that hard work will take you far. You don't have to take the easy way out.

Name one woman who has inspired you.

My biggest inspiration is my mother. I lost her at the age of 5, and by far she has been the biggest influence in my life. Trying to make decisions that she would be proud of, both in life and business. I've always been told how creative and smart she was and that has fed my drive. I feel her spirit surrounding me every step during this journey. 

What advice would you give girls today?

Stay true to yourself. Don't follow what everyone else is doing, being different is what makes you special. Embrace it!