Hidden Legend of Chicago: Lania West

I'm a simple girl from the south side of Chicago who has a passion for business and community service projects geared towards inner-city youth. During the day I work as an assistant and social work advocate for DCFS in Chicago. I'm a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority Incorporated and a graduate of Bradley University. I have a passion for creativity and helping others expand their brand and embrace their creative side through events, community service projects, and social awareness campaigns.

How are you impacting your community?

In 2014, I created an affordable tutoring program geared towards inner-city youth who needed to learn the skills, programs, and required mentorship to excel beyond high school. In 2016, that's switch to an annual prom dress drive for inner-city girls to allow them certain opportunities that they may not have had. Through that program I've been able to be connected to other organizations to support their initiatives in changing our community. I also have the Chi Unique Finds community initiative which is geared towards pulling resources and informing the communities who need them.

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow your path in the industry?

The best advice I would give is to have a plan and be patient. truly meditate and pray on what it is that you want to accomplish, and surround yourself with people who have a shared vision or who will motivate you at times you may feel lost. Study your craft, especially if you are an entrepreneur who creates your product learn everything there is to know about your industry, study your competition. Even when things are rough and you may not know where your business is headed don't give up. It's usually at the point of giving up where you have your greatest successes.

What separates you from your competitors?

I'm an extremely personable person, I'm not in the business to specifically sell jewelry to people. I just want people to share in my passion and love the things that I create, and if I can profit off that even better.