by Jacalyn Bennett
On this Valentine’s Day, please be good to yourself. As the old adage says, home is where the heart is, and our hearts start with us.
Why do we not cherish ourselves? Why, if we are not having a date with our boyfriend, lover, fiancé, husband, do we just wear that old bra and panties that no one else will see? You are someone, and you must believe in yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. If that means buying yourself a nice piece of lingerie at Victoria’s Secret or Soma, please do so. You are a deserving child of this exquisite universe, where every moment of every day is special and should be celebrated. There are no ordinary moments, so live your life to the fullest potential. Be kind to yourself. When we are kind to ourselves, we are kind to others. When we are kind to others, we are kind to ourselves. Love first must come from within, to be felt before it can be given.
People always ask me how I got involved in the business. I would say that business, like life itself, is an evolution. People and their priorities and their companies evolve.
I learned how to sew and design clothing at Manhattan’s High Schools, Fashion Industries and Art & Design. Because I was so tall and thin, store bought clothing never fit me properly. I started designing, sewing and wearing my own clothing, and soon began selling them to students, friends and teachers. When I was making what I considered to be a good deal of money at the ages of 12-13, I started making clothing for boutiques along 53rd St., referred to as Manhattan’s Boutique Row. While at Art & Design High School, I was one of three students to be awarded a full scholarship from the United Federation of Teachers to a New York University. I chose the Fashion Institute of Technology and The New School.
After I graduated from FIT, I was offered a job in India to teach factory workers in Bombay how to hand paint, embroidery and hand bead garments. I had been interested in Eastern philosophy and Asian cultures and art for years. I had had my heart set on social work; however, I couldn’t believe my good fortune-to be paid for doing what I loved. Through this work, it became clear to me that I could positively affect more lives by teaching workers these skills, whereby they could support themselves and their families. I realized that these workers relied on me and the company that I was employed by. It was at that moment that recognized my life’s work: to teach factory workers to sew and do skilled handwork, which provided jobs. I decided to incorporate handwork into all of my designs, be it lace applique, hand embroidery or hand beading. I envisioned and actualized my dream: to create beautiful, timeless lingerie that honor and cherish the women who wear it. I do so in synergy with kindness and compassion, for all beings. Bennett and Company’s philosophy is to create beautiful lingerie while practicing Ghandian principles and Bhuddist tenants, and by honoring today and every day forward. Please choose to love and honor yourself; you deserve it. May your Valentine’s Day be filled with love, joy and happiness.