Eliza Bleu Co., is a lovely boutique located in Bluffton, South Carolina. This company now carries some of our products , and her owner and founder is sharing how she got started with her boutique, and what it means to be an #BeAnEliza
Upon arriving to college as a young 18-year-old, you're supposed to be able to answer the simple question of what do you want to do with your life? From working as, a Certified Athletic Trainer to spending years in the food and beverage industry, from dabbling in Massage Therapy School to Physician Assistant School, I fell all over the map. During this educational, if you will, chapter of my life, I learned two things about myself. One, whatever I take on, I do it really, really well. And two, I love working with young high school women.
As adults, we often associate the giggles and drama of teenage girls with immaturity and irresponsibility paired with the endless desire to fit in. But it was during my time teaching in high school that I learned the most about who I am and began to truly embody this person. These high school girls taught me that salaries don't matter (as nice as they are), and that the titles and letters tagged onto your name don't either. These girls taught me the power of personal relationships and the true meaning of being your best self, day in and day out. It was here that I realized I needed to marry the necessity of strong and powerful mentorship with my second love, clothes! And just like that, Eliza Bleu was born.
Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, refers to Nike as his "crazy idea." (Side note, if you are looking for a little inner motivation it is worth the time to read Shoe Dog, Phil Knight's memoir of how Nike was established). Eliza Bleu, in its many forms, has been swimming ferociously in the back of my head for years, and I have worked endlessly looking for what has been within me all along. Inspired by these young women and their desire to learn from one another and myself has given me the courage and strength to dive head first. After all, who quits their salary job to open an online boutique? I did. My name is Lydia Davis, Welcome to Eliza Bleu.
Eliza Lucas Pinckney was born to Lt. Colonel George Lucas and Ann Lucas on December 28, 1722 in Antigua, British West Indies where she grew up on a sugarcane plantation along with her four younger siblings. In 1738, Col. Lucas inherited three plantations from his father in South Carolina. At 16, Eliza and her youngest sister moved to Wappoo, 17 miles from Charles Town, or what we are now familiar with as Charleston South Carolina. The following year, Col. Lucas had to return to Antigua and later became the lieutenant governor of the island thus prohibiting him from returning to South Carolina. Eliza became responsible for managing the Wappoo Plantation, and its twenty slaves, as well as, overseeing the other two plantations. Shortly after their arrival to South Carolina, Ann Lucas died, leaving her younger sister Polly also in her care.
Eliza began to experiment with various types of seeds her father sent her from Antigua. It took her three years to cultivate and improve strains of the indigo plant just in time for the expanding textile market, which was also increasing its demand for indigo dye. Due to her diligent hard work, success, the export of indigo dye increased from 5,000 pounds in 1745 and 1746 to 130,000 pounds by 1748.
Rejection of a suitor was completely unheard of at the time, but Eliza was a well educated and independent young woman who, despite her father's hand-picked selection(s), went on to marry her neighbor, Charles Pinckney in May 1744. In 1758, Charles Pinckney contracted malaria and died. Eliza, now widowed, continued to oversee the three Lucas plantations along with the Pinckney plantation with two sons in tow.
Eliza Lucas Pinckney died of cancer in Philadelphia where she had moved to receive treatment in 1793. Her legacy, as recognized by President George Washington who served as a pallbearer at her funeral at St. Peter's Church, has had a long lasting contribution to the economy of South Carolina. In 1989 she was the first woman to be inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of fame for her contributions to South Carolina's agriculture.
I find Eliza to be an example of the characteristics I want to instill in my cheerleaders, students, and my brand. Her level of responsibility, determination, sense of community, and independence were all displayed at a time when women were not considered leaders. She was well beyond her years for what she accomplished as women's rights had not even become a consideration. I would like to refer to each of you as an Eliza with the hope that Eliza Bleu's mission and culture will inspire you to become anyone you want to be. My challenge to each Eliza lies in Colossians 3:12, "Clothe yourself in compassion, humility, kindness, gentleness, and patience." I challenge you each to #BeAnEliza. Find a moment each day when you can clothe yourself in compassion, humility, kindness, gentleness, and patience while striving to become the best version of you.
Visit this lovely company if you are in the area or online!