Entrepreneurs and artists often draw inspiration from real-life events or scenes to create something distinct that will draw the attention of people. Consumers tend to gravitate towards something they can relate to, and entrepreneur and artist Suzette Shanle has been through something very relevant herself – a real-life trauma. A victim of domestic abuse, Suzette has found the strength and courage to transform her dark past into a fashion venture that is the epitome of the statement, “Art imitates life.”
Suzette sells her wearable art through Le Galeriste, a rising clothing line. She considers this as a celebration of her little victories in life as a prolific visual artist and overcomer. Her brand offers a wide array of dresses, tops, bottoms, scarves, face masks, accessories, and artworks that depict her deepest and most genuine emotions. As someone who has lived through such an indescribable trauma stemming from domestic violence, Suzette is not only able to showcase her creative side through her designs, but she is also able to bravely express her life’s biggest traumas.
Suzette produces both women’s and men’s clothing. She first focused on her line for women, which currently comprises a well-rounded assortment of tops, bottoms, and accessories. She is now ready to expand her line for men. The quality of clothing is top-shelf, and Suzette is quite proud of her growing empire.
Finding new ways to add value to her brand is something that she does seamlessly, having been a salon owner over the past years. She developed her sharp business acumen in time, learning the ropes as she went, and never backing down from a challenge when the situation presented itself.
Apart from being an artist and promising entrepreneur, Suzette is also a gifted writer. She is best known for her autobiography, Suzette’s Daddy Issues, which details the abuse she and her whole family experienced with her father. In the book, she describes her mother as a sweet and gentle woman who was married to a convicted felon and lifelong criminal. He was not only violent, but he was also constantly running from the mob. Apart from wondering about the real identity of her biological father, Suzette also lived through the horror of knowing her mother was stabbed by a suitor who was stalking her, wanting her dead when he could not have her.
Surviving her father’s violent outbursts and struggling with her feelings of discomfort and insecurity were realities that haunted Suzette as she was growing up. She had no idea how to survive living under the same roof as a very violent man. Still, she managed to do so anyway — a real-life testament to her courage, determination, and enduring character. During that most precarious and difficult season in her life, Suzette learned to fight back, find her voice, create her own path, and understand the real meaning of love and family.
Interestingly, top networks are now exploring the possibilities of turning Suzette’s Daddy Issues into a television series. By reaching more people through her story, Suzette hopes to empower others to speak up about their hurts and stand up against their abusers. Letting them understand that they are not alone is very important advocacy that gives domestic violence victims hope and courage.
“My book for sale is my personal life story. I had many heartbreaks and challenges. I am the underdog in my book and life. Persistence and perseverance have led me to create beautiful works of art, whether it be in paintings or writing. I am my brand,” Suzette shared.
Besides owning her own salon, Suzette has been writing in the entertainment industry for over four decades. Her writing is so compelling that she once garnered the praise of a Vice President. Tapping her creative side has always allowed her to stretch her limits and explore more possibilities. She is proud of the many facets of her art and will continue to push her limits to succeed.
Suzette knows the key to her personal success lies within her ability to educate herself. “If you can continue to learn, you can continue to earn,” she said. Keeping her mind open to learning allows her to find new, progressive ways to do things. Her restless spirit keeps her on the path of success. With a woman as courageous as Suzette, there is no doubt she will continue to succeed in whatever venture she chooses.
Opinions expressed by CEO Weekly contributors are their own.