Have you listened to the Innovate Fort Worth podcast featuring entrepreneur Jakayla Dixion? This young lady was able to see a need for a community of individuals and allow them to do something as simple as navigate the world of fashion with independence. Here are some snippets of how Jakayla Dixion was able to transform a high school class assignment into a business that has made a large impact for those with visual impairments. For the full story listen to her podcast episode, Show Me the Color - you won’t be disappointed.
Jakayla, a 15-year-old high school sophomore, was given an assignment by her teacher to create an innovation. Jakayla was struggling with ideas and decided to call her aunt and vent her frustration.
“I was complaining to her, like, I have no idea what to do for this class project. My aunt says to me, ‘remember all those years when you were growing up and I had to ask you what was the color of my shirt and my pants? Why don't you give me the opportunity to know the color of my clothing?’”
And that is how Feel the Color began. Jakayla had first hand knowledge of how her aunt picked her clothes out…she asked people to help. After reaching out to others in the community she noticed the majority of individuals will just wear jeans and a shirt, because everything matches jeans. Taking some sage business advice to “see a need, fill a need,” Jakayla found the problem she wanted to solve in an innovative way.
“I just felt like that was so inefficient. Nobody wants to wear jeans every day. So something really had to be done to give people who are visually impaired the opportunity to explore fashion and really discover themselves.”
Now how to go about filling that need? After more discussions with the visually impaired community, Jakayla decided to embroider braille on the clothing tags to allow the opportunity to feel the color of the clothing.
“It's just like the average tag that anybody has in their clothing currently. And it has braille alphabet lettering on all the tags because not every person who is visually impaired knows braille. My aunt, she had her sight until she came into her late teens, so she'd always known regular print lettering. And so it kind of gave the opportunity and the flexibility for people who had visual impairments, whether they knew braille or not, to still be able to use the tags.”
The tags provide the color, in both print and braille, and can be ironed on or sewn in to the garment directly. Each person that receives a tag is also provided a card about what colors go with each other.
“Oftentimes people who are visually impaired have no recollection of what blue even looks like. And so it kind of gives them the opportunity to think; Hey, you don't wear red and camo, it’s a fashion faux pas. So it kind of gives the opportunity in a little pamphlet about how important color is and deciding your fashion choices.
All the tags of Feel the Color are manufactured and produced here in Fort Worth and Jakayla is working diligently on hiring people who are visually impaired to work the embroidery machines and fact check the braille as well as other positions.
“So people who are visually impaired right here in the Fort Worth area can have employment and get to work for a company that's solely invested in giving back to them.”
Although the idea of Feel the Color came about fairly easy, the creation and business planning held its own set of challenges. Listen to the Jakayla’s podcast episode on Innovate Fort Worth to find out how she came up with the idea using embroidery on the tags as well as the challenges of being a high school student and running a company.