CJ Irwin. Faces by Dior. President. Darwin Enterprises

Caroljean (CJ) Irwin. Faces by Dior. President. Darwin Enterprises, Inc. Framingham, MA/Bellingham, MA

Charity Involvement:

Past involvement with Girl Scouts

Name a person who’s had a tremendous impact on you as an entrepreneur, business professional or business owner.  How and why has this person impacted your life? I would say, without a doubt, my business partner, Donald A. Irwin, Sr.  I met Don when I was 19 years old and a Customer Service Rep with Uniroyal Chemical in Ct.  He taught me about “follow up”.  If you follow up on your project, most likely, you won’t get behind the eight ball, make an idiot of yourself and you will keep your client satisfied by keeping them informed.  He also taught me to ask for the order – no matter what it is. I apply this to all aspects of my life.  The worst anyone can say is “No”.  Last, but certainly not least, he taught me to follow my passion. We have been life partners since 1977 and business partners since 1985. We work together well and complement each other with thoughts and ideas that we bring to the table to keep Darwin Enterprises, Inc. an innovative company.

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What types of service or products do you offer? Darwin Enterprises, Inc was established in 1985.  We offer consulting services to the carpet industry worldwide.  We also manufacture specialty chemicals that are used in the manufacture of carpet backings and athletic playing fields.  My partner heads up our technology division and I oversee the business aspect of Darwin Enterprises, Inc.

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Three things we should know about you? I’m fair, I rarely take “no” for an answer and if something needs to be done, I don’t mind rolling up my sleeves, getting my hands dirty and getting the job done.  I apply these traits to every aspect of my life.

What one characteristic do you believe every leader should have? I believe the one characteristic every leader should possess is to allow people a graceful way out of a bad situation.  Sometimes circumstances befall on people and things are out of their control; so, listening, being understanding and offering constructive advice saves their face, helps to build or keep a healthy relationship and could be the difference between keeping or losing a client.

What’s been the most gratifying project you have worked on and why? The most gratifying project that I have worked on was when I had my catering company. I catered an event for the opening of an imaging center in Fort Oglethorpe, GA.  It was for approximately 75 people.  I cooked and prepared every morsel of food myself. It was all fresh and gourmet…hence, the name of my catering company at the time, Always Fresh Gourmet by CJ.  After that event, I landed catering the imaging center’s monthly board meeting with sit down dinners. The board requested the gal with the blonde hair who “provided some of the best food we’ve ever had”!  I also provided weekly lunches to their office staff supplied by their medical equipment suppliers. 

What are the lessons you’ve gained that have profoundly shifted your direction in business? The lessons I have learned and gained in business are to put everything in writing, to cross every “T”, dot every “I” and to not take anything for granted until it is signed, sealed and delivered.  If I am in doubt, I ask question after question. If that is not possible with the clients, we are proposing to do business with, I tend to tread lightly until I have a better feel for all proposals being presented.

Apple or Samsung explain why? That is easy. Apple. Why? No technology answer here. I love Apple because my daughters and my grandchildren have Apple products and we can all facetime and my grandchildren and I can play games together using the same phone brand.

What do you do for fun? My fun pastimes include cooking for family and friends, relaxing with a good cigar and a glass of scotch, preferably while looking out at the ocean or sitting on my patio overlooking the pool and pond and listening to the sounds of nature. I love to work in my yard and tend to my plants and flowers. Of course, let’s not forget that shopping is on the list of favorite past times as well.  After all, I am a woman!

The Swan Coach House, located in Buckhead on the grounds of the Atlanta History Center, offers the complete Atlanta experience. This historical building houses an art gallery, a restaurant, a gift shop, and spaces for any event.

What was your first job ever? My first job was cleaning my mom’s friends’ houses.  I was 11 years and quite fastidious.  I still am!  I earned $5 per house and did 2-3 houses a week during summer months.  My first job working for a company was when I was 16 and during the summer months and after school, I worked for Hasbro Company.  I worked in the factory in Woonsocket, RI and made Weeble People.  Remember, “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down”?  Working in a factory on an assembly line was a good experience and lesson for a young person.  It taught me to be a team player because there was someone on the line in front of me doing something totally different and we all had to carry out our jobs and responsibilities so the end product would be completed in the time allotted and be manufactured to the standards that were set forth.  It also taught me that I never wanted to work on an assembly line again!

Ivy Lane is a gift and clothing boutique homegrown in Marietta, GA. We were founded by Julie Turner, a long-time Cobb county resident, Georgia Tech engineer, wife and mom of three, six years ago. We love being a shopping hub in Cobb county, and love giving back to this same community even more. Our East Cobb boutique is located in Marietta’s Highland Plaza Shopping Center at 3605 Sandy Plains Road near Publix and Bath & Body Works.

What advise will you give to the younger version of you? The advice I would give to the younger version of myself is to be the best you can be no matter what age, size, economic stature you are. In today’s society, we place value on other’s people’s ideas and versions of what we should be and should look like. I say embrace every aspect of yourself.  As we grow older, we realize that life is too short…for many of us there are less years in front of us than behind us.  Make everyday count for something and while you are at it, SMILE and LAUGH!  Laughter each day will help to keep you young at heart and smiling uses less muscles than frowning does!

What legacy do you want to leave behind? My legacy that I want to leave behind will be my daughters and the fact that they are valuable, moral, respectful, compassionate, loving responsible citizens.  In turn, my grandchildren will be raised the same way. When my two grandchildren were born, I was blessed and fortunate enough to not only be in the delivery room, but I assisted in their delivery.  Once the head and one shoulder were out, I pulled them out.  I was the first to hold my grandchildren as they took their first breath.  This life changing experience has made me look at life differently.  If I die tomorrow, I know I’ve had an experience that can never be topped! 

Meet the Ambassador of Canada. An entrepreneur who once was had to file for bankruptcy & was almost homeless. A Director of a technology company & Mrs. Georgia America.

Interviewed by: Maryan Aiken. Publisher. Founder. CEO. CityBox Media . Listening to Spotify. Travis Scott. Antisocial. Astroworld

Presented by Andi Levine. Roadie. Director. Business Development. Assisted by Nick Tucker. CityBox Media Co CEO Intern. Kennesaw State University

 Faces by Dior are the influential Women of Now. Women who embrace their inner & outer beauty with conviction. These are the independent women with relatability factor to confidently propel others with their game changing stories.

The women of now are bold & inspiring at any age, color and status. They are all about inclusiveness and advocacy to make a profound difference.

Faces by Dior. Bold. Beautiful. Groundbreakers

Developed by Maryan Aiken for Dior Beauty Atlanta

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