Q&A 4Her – Alyssa Dinowitz, Founder of ChewyLou Designs
ChewyLou founder Alyssa Dinowitz designed her collection of T-shirts after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. After spending countless hours with her mom during chemotherapy sessions, Alyssa decided she needed to help others battling this horrible disease.
The shirts are comfortable and light weight, but their mission is simple: ChewyLou Designs inspire goodness through positive thought and promote physical and spiritual strength. The shirts that feature inspiring words like Karma, Believe, Joy and Gratitude are printed by adults with special needs. A percentage of proceeds go to a wide variety of charities including Komen for the Cure, American Heart Association, Lupus Foundation of America and Faces of Hope Fund.
Alyssa took the time so chat with MyCity4Her about her business and revealed the best business related advice she’s ever been given, how she defines success and more. Read on for her full interview!
Did you ever imagine yourself achieving what you have?
I did not imagine achieving what I have. I just wanted to become a yoga teacher while I was raising a one and three year old. That was a feat in itself! I never thought my teaching would lead me to work with professional athletes or design and sell tee shirts. I never imagined my sweet mom would die before her time and I would start the non-profit, Chemo Companions in her honor. None of these were part of my “plan”! I thought I would teach a few yoga classes here and there.
What in hindsight would you say you underestimated about your industry or business and why?
I underestimated how busy I would be! I do not have a business background and had to learn very quickly how to make business decisions. It has been a journey and a wonderful learning experience. I had to set boundaries and move out of my comfort zone. Growth is often a little painful.
What is the best business related advice you have ever been given?
Love what you do. When it begins to feel like work, or a struggle, it is not for you anymore. I have always been able to love what I do, or at least morph my careers into something that brings me joy. Martha Beck once told me, “Do what makes you happy”. I try to apply that to every part of my life. It is harder than you think.
What do you love most about what you do and why?
I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I think everyone, on a very basic, human level just wants to connect and be understood. There is a Zulu greeting, “Sawubona” that means “I see you” the response is “Ngikhona”, which means “I am here”. To truly “see” someone and connect with them is magical for me. I feel especially humbled and blessed when I visit with cancer patients. Grateful for the people in my life.
If you knew then what you know now, what would you do differently and why?
I don’t think I would change anything. I’m at a pretty fantastic place in my life. I think everything happens for a reason. I have faith in the journey. No regrets, no what-ifs, just trust it.
When you’re not working how do you like to spend your time?
I spend my time with my family and friends. We travel a lot! I’m Italian, so I love to cook and entertain!
How do you define success?
Success to me is a heart full of contentment & gratitude. Success means “Leaving it better than you found it”. We all have the power to make a difference, it is our duty.
If you had to share one final thought with our audience of thousands of women in business, what would it be?
Don’t do something just for the money. ”What can I do that will make money?” That is the worst question you can ask yourself. Search your soul for what truly excites you. What makes you want to stay up all night doing? What is your passion? Find that flame and set the world on fire with your enthusiasm.