Meet Susan Handley: President and Founder of Beijo, Inc. As a dedicated mom, entrepreneur and handbag designer, Susan’s journey began with a passion for handbags, and a vision to create a purposeful life for her and her son. For Susan, founding Beijo wasn’t about creating a job… it was about pursuing a dream; to become a successful entrepreneur while living a fulfilling, balanced life.
From the young age of ten, I remember going into my mother’s closet to play dress-up, and filling my small arms with every bag I could reach. As I grew into a young adult, my love for bags never waned. Over the years I was so busy that I never stopped to consider how I might convert my passion for bags into a marketable skill— that is, until the year 2002. After six months at yet another job where I felt disconnected and unfulfilled, I did the unthinkable. I quit my job in order to focus on finding myself and my life’s true purpose. Ultimately, my faith provided the strength I needed to find both.”
“It was then that I finally got up the courage to pursue a life dream I had held dear from the age of ten. My determination was fueled by the desire to create beautiful handbags and accessories for women just like me; those who couldn’t afford to spend more on a handbag than they would spend on their monthly rent.”
“Early on, my success at craft shows, home parties and the spontaneous sales generated literally from the trunk of my car, all confirmed that my newfound career was on the right path. However, I had set clear ‘family’ priorities at the outset, which I was struggling to keep. I never doubted that my values and intentions were sound, as they had been crafted upon strong core beliefs in family and faith. I was taught that God comes first, family second, and career should follow. What was proving to be a challenge was that Beijo was growing at such a rapid rate, that my quest to become a successful ‘self-employed’ business woman was all consuming. The precious balance between family and career was quickly becoming out of sync. Absolutely unacceptable!”
“I felt my business was slowly taking over, but I refused to let go of my hope that a woman can have a great career and a balanced life. With that in mind, I took steps to restore the balance I felt was slowly slipping away. A number of loyal Beijo customers had been requesting the opportunity to sell my bags independently, at their own parties and gatherings. This proved to be the solution I had been seeking, both personally and professionally. I was able to support the organic growth of the business and manage my time more productively. This was a crucial decision which resulted in our first team of Independent Beijo Fashion Consultants and ultimately, Beijo’s “Direct-Sell” Business Model!”
“Within six months I had sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of handbags, with no formal marketing or advertising! The company continued to grow organically at a rapid rate. Within two years of designing my first bag, high-end department store chains, specialty retailers and TV shopping channels were all knocking at my door!”
“While I explored many sales and distribution options, I continued to be drawn back to one clear path. I wanted to do my best to replicate the exact opportunities and blessings that had come my way as a single mom and entrepreneur. I was convinced that the forces propelling my company’s growth were based on three dynamics: relationships, personal empowerment and shared experiences.”
“I had always known that it was important to build an ‘inclusive’ business model, making sure to offer individuals two levels of participation. At the very least, they could ‘dabble’ in Beijo by selling bags and hosting parties for close friends, colleagues and family. However, for those who wanted or needed more income, women could dedicate themselves by building a team and create truly great, home-based, direct-selling businesses. And thousands have done just that.
On A Mission, One Bag At A Time
“I am inspired and energized by the letters and emails that I receive from Beijo Independent Fashion Consultants and customers alike; enthusiastically sharing the positive changes they have experienced since discovering Beijo. From the beginning, my mission has been to help others find balance, self-confidence and financial independence. Through the years, thousands of Independent Fashion Consultants across North America have had the opportunity to earn or replace an income… and experience positive changes in their own lives.”
“However, the real reward has been to watch the mission extend and impact beyond Beijo’s boundaries. Our Company, as well as the Independent Beijo Fashion Consultants, often support and partner with local and national charities, and associations. These remarkable people and their selfless gestures, help to remind us all that it’s not just about the bags.”