Boss Babe: Tia Dowler

Crimson Clover started as a hobby. At the time, my husband and I had four children, and I left a career in pharmaceuticals to stay at home with them. In August 2006, our oldest child, who was eight at the time, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. As moms, we fix things, we make things better; and being faced with something I couldn’t fix or change was a hard pill to swallow.

To get my mind off of carb counting, numerous finger sticks, wondering if my child would wake up in the morning, and insulin injections, I decided to buy a soldering iron and metal and teach myself how to make jewelry. It was a hobby that I enjoyed that kept my mind occupied from the constant care and worry of all that type 1 diabetes brings to the table. There were no classes or YouTube videos. It was just countless hours of trial and error—as well as numerous burns and failures— until I was able to perfect it. It was so worth it and brought a lot of joy to my life while adjusting to our new normal.

In 2007, our family moved to Chicago. A marketing agent contacted me to market and represent the jewelry and Crimson Clover, LLC was born. It was no longer a hobby. At that point, I decided to make it my mission to use it as a platform to bring awareness to type 1 diabetes with a portion of all proceeds donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

We supplied jewelry to numerous boutiques all across the Midwest. I say “we” because I couldn’t have done it without my husband’s support and helping out with the kids. In 2008, I got pregnant with our fifth child and then the housing market crashed. One by one, all of these boutiques shut down. I realized then that I had to decide if I was going to be a wholesaler or retailer, but didn’t necessarily know what that looked like.

January 2009 after giving birth, I joined Facebook and this was the beginning of our online business platform as a retailer. It took many years to brand and develop the company. People buy from people they like and know. I had to start letting people know me, and branding was done through trial and error and live jewelry sales, mainly.

When we moved again, to Richmond, Virginia in 2011, our second son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The mission of Crimson Clover became even stronger. Being a mom of five with two diabetic children and trying to run a business posed many challenges. And then in 2012, I was diagnosed with systemic lupus, so that was another hurdle to overcome.

We made our final move to Georgia in 2016, and I realized that if Crimson Clover was going to continue, I was going to need help. I hired my daughter’s best friend, Lyric, who was a junior in high school at the time, and started training her on the ins and outs of jewelry making and entrepreneurial skills. She is one of the main reasons Crimson Clover is still here today and stronger than ever. With her help, I’m also able to run my own beauty business (Nuskin) that consists of over 2000 affiliates, compete in bodybuilding, do micro-influencing on Instagram through RewardStyle and do weekly chemo for lupus.

It sounds like a lot, but I truly believe in the power of time management and not confusing being busy versus being productive. A rocking horse does a lot of moving, but it’s not going anywhere. If something is important to you, you make time for it. If it’s not important to you, you make excuses. Consistent, focused action leads to success. And success is found in our daily habits and routine. When you believe in something, the only way to fail is to quit. You just have to keep going.

Our style has changed over the years to keep up with trends, but the heart and soul of what Crimson Clover is and what it represents is a constant. We have the most amazing customers who have been on this journey with us from the beginning and it just keeps growing. Through this platform, we’ve been able to bring awareness to type 1 diabetes as well as connect and create jewelry for thousands of parents of type 1 diabetic children and many others. We love our online community as well as our local community and the connections we’ve made through both. Every piece is handmade and a lot of love goes into each one. Connecting with others and knowing that we get to do what we love every single day is a true gift. We love seeing our customers wear something we’ve created whether it’s online or in person.

Our oldest type 1 diabetic, Bryson, is now 22 and an EMT firefighter in Coweta County and excelling. And our younger type 1 diabetic, Brett, is 19 and playing football and lacrosse at Concordia University in Wisconsin and doing well.

As Maya Angelou once said, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” I think we’ve got it covered.

Fayette Woman

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November 15, 2020