Meet the Humans of the Keys

Meet the Humans of the Keys

Friday, September 23, 2016

Jennifer Potter, Key West




“I was born and raised in Key West. My mother and father operated a charter boat business, literally just 4 blocks away from our home, out of Charter Boat row. I spent my entire childhood bagging bait and trying to convince random strangers they needed to book a once in a lifetime fishing excursion. I grew up in the Meadows in a house that my late grandfather built. I had an incredible childhood running up and down the streets barefoot and playing with the neighborhood kids.

I was always the type of kid that could talk to anyone and would somehow persuade you into buying something. I was always at the docks trying to sell the charter boat captains my million dollar ideas; I would convince them that they needed to buy whatever it was I was selling (books, baked goods, lemonade).

When I was 16 years old and attending Key West High School, my friend Leon Curry and I launched our clothing line ‘Joven Fashions’. Joven of course meaning young in Spanish. We sold our wears to several local boutiques and down at Mallory Square. Everything we made was handmade; we painted, sewed, and knitted everything (at times we would lure my mother into working for us). We worked 3 jobs and never took no for an answer. We were the type of kids with a vision, a dream, and we wanted it to work. We would go to concerts and try to give our creations to celebrities or anyone willing to wear our line.

After years of designing, I was thrown into the world of Hip-Hop and R&B. I was enrolled at FIT in New York City, I was supposed to be studying menswear design. I quit school to dress rappers. I was offered a styling job assisting celebrity stylist, June Ambrose, on the set of a Ne-yo music video and the rest is history. I met Hype Williams, music video director, on set and he quickly became my mentor. He taught me a lot about business and success.

I styled numerous celebrities for years in Miami. I traveled the country living out of my suitcase working for prominent labels such as, Gap, H&M and Walmart.

When the economy took a dive I had to come back to the Keys and figure out a new plan. I knew I always wanted to design and create. Growing up in Key West, I knew I had this unique freedom to do as I wish.

My grandmother passed away in 2002, 2 years’ shy of watching me graduate from Key West High School. She was the most influential person in my life. I had inherited several boxes of her jewelry when she passed away. These boxes sat for years without me ever wearing or touching them. Her jewelry collection, as one might imagine living on an island, was mostly seashells and palm tree pieces with the occasional religious medallion. It wasn’t my style to say the least. I wanted to find a way to honor my grandmother and wear her pieces to keep her close to heart, so I melted everything. I started sketching and the Jennifer Potter Collection was born. I think it is an incredible way to keep my grandmother alive; She is scattered throughout the country (figuratively speaking of course) in 14K Gold pieces that have caught the eyes of complete strangers.

I knew I always wanted more. I’ve been this way since I was a kid. Ask anyone on the island that knows me, they will all agree. My heart belongs to inspiring people and rescuing dogs. I wanted to find a way to give back and inspire women so I designed a very special piece out of 14K gold that reads “Keep Going”. I feel this piece is one we can all relate to. I have it tattooed to my body in my best friends handwriting to be a positive affirmation for myself.

Look. I don’t have all the answers. Actually, I am still trying to figure out life, but what I do know is everyone is fighting a battle. I have friends dealing with weight loss, cancer, financial problems, school, relationships, and I wanted to inspire them. I tell all of my friend’s daily you have two choices; Give up or Keep Going. I am launching the Keep Going campaign, which will showcase real women with real stories of strength, courage, and perseverance. I had the opportunity to shoot two women; one young lady battled with weight, self-harm, and eating disorders most of her life. I shot her as I shoot all my models, tastefully nude. You can see her scars, her excess skin, but what you can’t see is her strength. This woman is a warrior; she is powerful and let me tell you there is so much beauty in those scars!

I want to inspire the girl sitting at home who feels less than perfect-Darling you alone are enough. You are perfect and you have a light to shine!

I want to impact the word we live in while making women feel beautiful. I plan on donating a percentage of each piece sold to NEVA and the American Cancer Society. I know you don’t know me and you barely know my story, but I believe in you…. Keep Going!!”

To check out Jennifer's Keep Going Campaign go to the link: http://www.jenniferpotterjewelry.com/the-brand/our-mission

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