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Meet Debbie K.

If being a real woman is defined by being true to yourself, having a strong work ethic and creative disposition, not being afraid to honestly and openly express opinions and emotions, yet being someone others can genuinely relate to, then Deborah Kendig fits the description.

Debbie has always had the entrepreneurial spirit.

That coffee mug with the company logo filled every morning or the golf shirt embroidered with the name of the newest pharmaceutical product worn on casual Fridays may be the result of Debbie's hard work. For the past 20 years, she has been working with a loyal base of clients and building new business relationships by coordinating vendors and managing orders for customized promotional items to meet the marketing needs of government agencies, majors corporations and large hospitals around Washington D.C. Little did Debbie know as a teenager that her efforts in high school would be a precursor to a long and successful career in sales.

Over-achieving high school nerds, unite!

Debbie was born in Iowa and moved around the country until the family settled in Lancaster County, PA when she was eight. When she reached high school, Debbie realized the school did not offer a store for the students to buy necessary supplies during the year. At that time, Staples and Office Max did not exist in the heart of the Amish countryside. Recognizing a need, this energetic and enterprising freshman purchased items like notebooks and pencils at an office supply warehouse and set up a table at school. Proceeds from the sale of the supplies throughout the year benefitted the student council.

Not surprisingly, her entrepreneurial venture was a hit at school and encouraged by her family. Growing up the big sister to three younger brothers, Debbie was never treated special because she was the only girl. Hard work and perfection, especially earning A's in school and getting involved in sports, were expectations that didn't gender discriminate.

"I got really good grades, played tennis and golf, and was part of student council and the National Honor Society. I was one of those high-achieving nerds you hated, until you got to know me," she said.

Debbie's creativity, leadership and dedication to her schoolwork and activities got her accepted to Penn State University. After graduation, she landed a job in Washington D.C. promoting syndicated radio shows like the Weekly Country Music Countdown and the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 to program directors all over the country. From there, Debbie started her long and successful career selling promotional products—a career foreshadowed by a high school girl with a great idea and a drive to succeed.

"Perception is not always Reality" is her mantra.

"I think sometimes people consider me to have a harsh exterior that can be off-putting because I'm blunt or sarcastic, but I really do have a sensitive side that easily comes into play. I'm not afraid to express my opinions but I do wear my emotions on my sleeve," said Debbie.

It's her sensitivity and fun spirit that make it easy to be yourself when around Debbie. She has the ability to make you laugh and feel comfortable sharing what's on your mind. Debbie believes in taking the time to get to know people because, she says, "you may be surprised—many times pleasantly and sometimes not—by what you learn."

Debbie's role model is her father, whom she describes as someone who has an incredible work ethic and who is well-liked because of his direct and honest manner and sense of humor. Much like her father, Debbie loves a challenge and believes in never giving up. This once self-described over-achieving nerd is definitely an outgoing, confident beauty, and mother of two, with a style all her own.

"My style is feminine and flattering but always age appropriate. I'm not afraid to be different or to stand out. That's why I love HipFusion Designs jewelry," said Debbie.

Not afraid to stand out in a crowd as long as she looks good.

Debbie said wearing HipFusion Designs jewelry that's custom handcrafted by owner and master designer Neida Joseph-Abel makes her feel cool and young, especially when she wears several of her necklaces for an easy layered look—"it's really hip and very Hollywood shabby chic!"

Her favorite HipFusion Design piece is her silver precious clay metal necklace stamped with her children's names: Duke and Devon. Debbie says she wears it with her delicate heart pendant, and the look gets lots of compliments.

"I like having control over putting my own pieces together to express my unique style. I love having something different than what everyone else wears. I can tell Neida what I want and she's able to make a custom piece of jewelry that's perfect for me," she added.
Since HipFusion Designs jewelry is original and very personal to the owner, there's usually an interesting story behind a special piece. What fun moment sums it up for Debbie? She wore a custom double necklace, which Neida created using black beads, silver clay metal pieces and color-reflective crystal beads, while at a Karaoke bar in New York City and received compliments on her singing and her jewelry. Now that's HIP!

Many thanks for Jen Ashenfelter, from Pen & Page Communications, for this awesome interview!