Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry
"I believe in chasing the dream," Lynn
"I don't chase the money.
And because I chase the dream and not the money, I can love freely.
I love the consultants and they know that."
has been serious about business ever since she
was a child.
grandmother recruited young Traci
at age four to help her
sell clothes out of the back of her
car in West Philadelphia.
"My job was to remember the clients' names and where they lived," Lynn recalls.
"I had a list and I had to map out where we were going.
The part I didn't like was going shopping for the merchandise with her
, but I was learning about colors and styles whether I liked it or not.
So my grandmother trained me not only to have fashion sense, but about entrepreneurship as well.
At 15, Lynn
opened a hair salon in a family-owned apartment and got her
beauty-college certificate, all the while saving money for college.
While in high school, she
nursing license thinking she
was going to be a doctor.
"My mother had programmed me to be a physician," Lynn
"If you asked me at age four what I wanted to be when I grew up, I'd tell you that I wanted to be an OB/GYN even though I had no idea what that meant."
Lynn majored in medicine at the University of Michigan, but ultimately didn't have the stomach for it.
"I was fainting every day!
says with a laugh.
decided return to what came naturally to her
: business, and earned a degree in finance.
After graduating, Lynn took a job as an investor information representative at mutual-fund giant The Vanguard Group Inc., where she was quickly promoted to supervisor and then manager.
But Lynn found herself itching to run her own shop and left Vanguard to try her hand at a variety of enterprises: selling clothes out of her home, a nail technician agency, a wedding planning company ("I had one client who ran me ragged," she says, "I wound up making $2 an hour when all was said and done").
"I was struggling to find that one inspired idea," she
says, "and it wound up being jewelry.
I figured, 'It's one-size-fits-all, how could you go wrong?'"
Lynn launched Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry in Philadelphia in 1989.
The company, and its founder, became an inspiring local success story.
In 1994, Essence magazine
dubbed Lynn one of the most innovative entrepreneurs under 30.
was also featured on Good Morning America for owning one of the top-grossing businesses among young entrepreneurs and received the Madame CJ Walker Award for entrepreneur excellence.
Despite all that, Lynn
folded the company a few years later.
"The women enjoyed the motivation, but we couldn't sustain it financially," she
Every month, Lynn
had given pep talks to rally her
One consultant told her that Lynn
reminded her of the motivational speaker Les Brown.
After many years of traveling the world as a motivational speaker, Lynn
decided to relaunch Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry
This time she
was able to avoid the pitfalls that bedeviled her
the first time around and trust her
own entrepreneurial intuition.
motivational message became her
company's mission, and as a result, she
has transformed the lives of thousands of women who have taken advantage of the company's business training and become entrepreneurs in their own right.
says seeing the effect the company has had on its consultants is the most gratifying part of the business.
"At one of the weekend sales rallies, a 10-year-old girl stood up and read a letter that she
had written me about being a witness to the changes in her
mother's life," Lynn
mother had lost her
job, and working with us enabled her
to continue to provide for her
But more importantly, this little girl talked about seeing her
mother smile again and get excited about something.
read this letter aloud and there was not a dry eye in the place."
Over the years, Lynn has become a published author (Wealth Without Sorrow and The Mind of A Millionaire) and earned two doctorate degrees in Divinity and Theology.
also continued to rack up awards, earning the University of Pennsylvania's Carrier of Hope Award for her
community service and The Spirit of Greatness Award for Outstanding Leadership in Business.
Lynn's goal is to continue to empower her
consultants and create a legacy business.
"I'm looking for the day of 30,000 consultants," she
says, "then 100,000 and more.
The sky's the limit."