The Internal Revolution with Susan Alexandra
By Allison Rapson
The very first time I met Susan Alexandra we had a heart-to-heart — we bypassed the small talk and got right into the real stuff and it was as beautiful and radiant as she is. I love these kind of instant connections where you meet someone for the first time and walk away with a friendship that feels like it was always there.
Susan is vibrant, colorful, creative and generous with all of these attributes that make her sparkle. She has crafted an incomparable way of channeling her lens of seeing the world into her jewelry which is as beautiful as it is meaningful, because, if you can accessorize yourself by taking little pieces of your heart self and wearing them on your external self, why wouldn’t you?
Since we first met, Susan and I have developed a sacred sisterhood and my life has expanded exponentially because of it. We both believe in the more is more philosophy; that scarcity doesn’t apply and that there is no such thing as individual abundance because what one has only ever ups the capacity of what one has to offer.
A huge part of the reason why Susan can create such beautiful things imbued with personal meanings is because she has experienced enough of the heartbreaking moments to know that her heart, my heart, and your heart, too, is bigger, stronger and more inclusive than we are often conditioned to believe.
Here is her story of Internal Revolution:
Q: In your journey to where you are now, did you have a “dark night of the soul”?
A: I love this question, mostly because I feel people are so frightened to dive into the dark stuff; their vulnerability and fear. Without those things, my business would not exist. My whole life I have been weighted by anxiety and fear, and moving to NYC exacerbated those tendencies.
Fashion has always been my calling and when I moved here, I faced rejection after rejection from jobs and apartments and people. My courage was running very thin and my health became increasingly poor. After two months of seeking a job and subsequently being rejected I found myself alone, on the 6 train. The fear and sadness were overwhelming and tears began to roll down my face. In this moment, I swore to myself that if I could create a safe haven for people like me — lost, scared, exhausted and lonely — I would be truly successful.
The jewelry came about as a way to soothe my soul, both as an artistic outlet and also because I craved talismans that gave me feelings of joy and protection. People remark that my jewelry is so happy and joyful, which it is! The jewelry is truly a byproduct of combatting the darkness; it brings me such elation when people connect to my work. The way I describe the pieces is, “a 30 second break from reality, a vacation for your wrist and a reminder that all will be ok.”
Q: What are the soul sparks that propelled you forward?
A: I have soul sparks daily! Some very important ones are: when you are doing the work you are supposed to be doing, success is inevitable. You will know you’re doing the right work because there will be signs — financial success is just one symptom of being in the groove of your life’s work.
Another really important soul spark is that feeling in the pit of your body which is a mix of joy, euphoria and excitement. Before I launched my line I embarked on several career paths and at the end of the day, I would find myself utterly exhausted. From this, I realized your work should give you energy.
Another game changing insight is how much stronger we are together. This is especially true for women.
Fashion is a very tough game. There is so much competition, knock-offs, ruthlessness and people who are standing by to see you fail. Because I run my business alone, it can be very isolating and lonely. I decided I needed community and manifested and created it! Now I have an incredible, supportive and talented crew of women whom I work with. These are the people I trust who support and honor me and my work (which are totally entwined), these are the people who I can confide in. This has been crucial and I implore anyone who is starting a business to develop community, especially in a city like NYC!
Q: Why is feminism personal and important to you?
A: Feminism is built into the core of my being and my business.
My mother, who is my ultimate inspiration, is a business owner who rose from poverty and created a business that rebuilds depressed economies and creates jobs for disabled veterans and home-bound people living with chronic illness. Growing up, I was an observer to the first chapters of my mother’s business and saw the many heartbreaks she faced in developing a sustainable company. One constant heartbreak being that she was continuously passed over for grants that went to male counterparts.
There is nothing that stokes the fires of my soul like a strong, loving, generous woman succeeding. I come from a line of survivors; my grandmother escaped the concentration camp Bergen Belsen and her mother before her owned a line of dress factories in Poland. It’s in my blood to lead, it’s in my heart to give and it’s in my soul to create a safe, generous, nurturing place for women to learn and thrive. That is what I strive to create, jewelry being the tip of the iceberg.
Q: Are there any Goddesses / matriarchs / historical female leaders that resonate with you?
A: Right now, perhaps because we’re in the throws of the upcoming election, Michelle Obama is my radiant star. She is graceful, so wise, empathetic and her recent quote “when they go low, we go high” has been echoing in my heart. Also, her arms.
Athena, the Warrior Goddess, has always been my personal Goddess. I especially love that she emerged from her father’s head, cutting herself free with an axe. When I first discovered her, I felt deeply that I was her in a past life.
I sleep with a beautiful statue of Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity, by my head. Beyond the obvious reasons, I love her most because her name means Lotus Dweller and the lotus signifies rising from the muck. The lotus is a reminder that the darkest, most polluted waters can nurture the most beautiful, rare blossom.
Q: What do you know now that you want other women to know, too?
A: Community is essential.
When you feel you have nothing left to give that’s the time to give, give, give.
Just because someone else makes it does not mean there isn’t enough room for you. There is room for all of us.
You don’t have to lower yourself to someone else’s darkness, be in your light, follow your gut, stand your ground.
Set your value. Don’t let others determine this. You are worth every single penny and ounce of energy.
Everything is going to be radically, fantastically, deliciously okay.
Here’s to you. Here’s to sisterhood. Here’s to The Internal Revolution.