Regina Cole is using fashion to help women battling domestic violence, addiction
Cole Heart Jewels is a jewelry line with a mission towards women empowerment and support
Don’t mistake Regina Cole’s quiet nature for weakness.
The Queens, New York-based entrepreneur is a woman who is turning her tragedy into triumph. The dual-business owner has a fashion boutique, Cole Heart Jewels, which sells bold accessories. A portion of her proceeds supports Cole Heart Recovery Network, Incorporated, her organization that provides services, resources, and access to opportunities for women who are affected by substance abuse, mental health and domestic violence.
Cole has a dual diagnosis of major depression and alcoholism, sharing that “creating and selecting fashion jewelry is very therapeutic” for her. Cole is three years sober and using her experience to make a difference for others through her company and non-profit.
The single mom of two shares with theGrio the reason she started her business, her non-profit work, and the importance of taking care of your mental health. Cole has loved fashion since she was a little girl stating, “I love color and uniqueness.” This statement rings true when you visit her online boutique and see on trend statement pieces like these jade triangle earrings or this dual chain toggle bracelet.
She shares, “What I love most about fashion is expression. It allows you to be authentic and creative. We are all a work of art.” Cole also sources handbags from Ghana, explaining a friend told her, “A businesswoman always finds a way.”
“I am a flight attendant, so I picked up a trip to Ghana to find my own connection,” she explains.
According to Cole, her business has been instrumental in her recovery and the head-turning pieces are a testament to her mission to help women feel good about themselves.
“It allows me to give a piece of my heart to the women rewriting their stories. I was in a dark place a few years ago, working on my vision helped me to get through it,” she shared. “I focus on pieces that are bold, beautiful and vibrant because I want women to resonate with their selection to allow it to bring their authentic self to the forefront.”
She smiles and exclaims, “Girl, there’s nothing like a nice pair of earrings to make you feel fabulous!”
In addition to making women feel good by decking them out in eye-catching accessories, her philanthropic efforts are also making great change in Bronx, NY. Cole Heart Women Recovery Network, Inc. will celebrate their one-year anniversary in June. The non-profit is supported with 30% of the profits from her boutique and donations.
She reveals, “I started my non-profit because I saw a need for peer support and transitional homes that have realistic steps to recovery. Peer support is pivotal in the success of another peer. When you see someone else like yourself making it happen, you then realize you can too.”
And Cole is making it happen. Her organization offers a Peer Advocacy Program, currently supporting 30 women from a women’s center in the Bronx. In addition to this she hosts a virtual summit during the month of September.
She explains, “Last September, ‘She Recovered: Life is Good Summit’ was a panel of awesome guests that touched on forgiveness, relationships, meditation and other aspects of recovery. We gave out gift bags to all the women at the center who attended.” Already preparing for this years summit, she divulges, “I will have some of my women be on the panel sharing their stories and some awesome guests. This year the focus will be on healing.”
Cole is very open about her depression and addiction, confidently stating that “it does not define me,” before adding, “I am living the recovery life and loving it.” She recollects on going to FIT for a certificate course to become a stylist and backing out, “I didn’t think I had what it took. During that time, I knew I was depressed a lot but really didn’t understand it until three years ago.”
In the span of three years, Cole may not have become a stylist, but her business is growing and her vision for her non-profit is coming to fruition. In a healthy place, she shares words of encouragement for other women who are battling depression and recovering from substance abuse.
“First off—you are not alone,” she says. “F*ck the stigmas and get professional help. Do not be afraid to take medication for your mental health. We would not tell someone with diabetes to not take medication for their illness, right?”
In addition to her peer advocacy program, Cole wants to own a transitional home for women in recovery and provide them with a program. She elaborates, “I want to bring the steps that help me during my recovery into the home.”
For Cole, the most rewarding part of her work is helping women see that they can have a better quality of life and assisting them in the steps to a successful recovery. When speaking with Cole, one can feel her passion for helping others. Cole serves as an inspiration to others that are in their recovery journey.
In regards to the women she helps, she proudly states, “I love watching them flourish and choose themselves over the substance and taking control of their mental health. It’s not an easy journey but it’s worth it. It’s a lifestyle.”
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