10/27/2011 01:30 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

The Gift Of A Friend's Approval

My good friend Jennifer came over the other day to see some of the Jordan Alexander collection. As she was trying on pieces and we were talking about some new designs I am developing, I found myself amused at the path my collection has taken over the past several months. We've experienced enormous growth, and we are on the verge of launching what I think is my best work to date. The joy I felt reminded me of a similar situation from my past, which was one of the most satisfying moments I have experienced along this incredible journey.

As a film producer, musician, and arts consultant, I'm involved in all kinds of creative work. It is integral to my nature to constantly crave the satisfaction of creating things. So, when I had the opportunity to take the pieces of jewelry I had begun designing for myself and turn them into a collection, I jumped at it. I put the line in an elegant, sophisticated boutique store in my hometown to see how it did. But, instead of letting all of my friends know about it, I kept quiet to gauge the response.

Not too long after I put the collection in the store, I remember meeting up with one of my closest friends for a visit. I was elated to see that she was wearing 'my' necklace! She grabbed my arm like we Southerners do when we are truly trying to emphasize a point and said, "Theresa, you have just got to see this new line at Etc. It's absolutely gorgeous. I already have several pieces."

Naturally, I pretended to want to know all about the new line. Meanwhile, on the inside, I was holding back a squeal that even a five-year-old girl couldn't have matched. It was hard to mask my glee, but I wasn't quite ready to let her or anyone else know that the line was mine. As time passed, I started to see more and more of my friends wearing my designs. It wasn't until five months later that I let them in on my little secret.

It was important for me to know that my friends and family loved the line for what it was, and not simply because it was mine. Looking back, it's pretty silly to think about how much it meant to me. But when it comes down to it, the truth is that a friend's approval can mean just as much as gaining widespread recognition. Whether it's getting a girlfriend's approval of an outfit before a first date, or having a mom say "good job" when you did your very best but came in very last, reassurance from loved ones is as valuable as any trophy, ribbon or other award.

Even if my journey as a designer were to unexpectedly come to a halt today, the reward of producing something worthy of my friends' approval is worth all the effort. I'll take that approval and use it as fuel to keep designing beautiful jewelry for them, for me, and for you.