Darbie Angell: She's Breaking Out the Fine China

March 16 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Dishing It Out One of my favorite things about going out to eat is the aesthetics. From the table linens to the live jazz pumping in the background, every element enhances a restaurant’s appeal. In fact, throughout history, dining hasn’t always been about the knife-and-fork experience.

In the Middle Ages, foodies relied on hollowed out “plates” cut from old bread loaves to ladle their porridge into. By the 18th century, a French chef who was a fan of architecture started to view the plate as a canvas for his edible masterpieces, laying the groundwork for centuries of beautifully plated food.

Today, instead of buzzing through a fast-food drive-thru, take the time to savor a well-thought-out meal at a new restaurant and take it all in.


Have you ever pondered what might happen if suddenly all the women-owned businesses helping to keep the U.S. economy thriving just up and disappeared? According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, such a situation would be calamitous, as women-owned firms have an estimated economic impact of $3 trillion and employ some 23 million workers, or 16 percent of the U.S. labor force. Even more telling is the researchers’ theory that if society could tap into the full potential women-owned companies possess, those businesses have the possibly to generate an amazing $10 trillion in revenue!

WOMAN TO WATCH: Darbie Angell, Founder and CEO of Cru Dinnerware

Today, we’re talking about a creative entrepreneur who carved out a niche for herself by designing refined dinnerware. Her name is Darbie Angell, and she’s a wonderful example of how to become successful by following your passion.

Several years ago, Darbie worked at one of the country’s largest law firms. But when she went into labor while only five months pregnant, she was required to be on bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy. Four months lying down gives a gal a lot of time to think, and Darbie realized she needed to complete the law chapter in her book of life and begin a new one.

So, she tapped into that special place where her creativity and penchant for design live, and, remarkably, without a single contact in the industry, she founded Cru Dinnerware. Darbie’s goal involved a fresh take on a product that’s commonly white and somewhat boring: fine china. Her designer dinnerware pieces—often embellished with funky motifs yet still elegantly fashioned—include luxurious touches, such as 24-karat gold and contemporary details. But don’t let the shimmer fool you. Cru’s dinnerware remains budget-friendly and can be found at common retailers like Macy’s and Bed Bath & Beyond. And all of Darbie’s fine imported porcelain is dishwasher safe, giving her customers a reason to break out the china more often.

With everything she does, Darbie works to have a positive impact, and she regularly supports a variety of nonprofit organizations. In fact, one of her Cru collections, Madison’s April in New York, was dedicated to a teenage girl who always wanted to attend the dinnerware-focused New York Tabletop Show in April, but who sadly passed from leukemia before she was able. Darbie felt the design’s intricate cherry blossoms, reminiscent of those found at Madison Square Park, would be a lovely way to honor the young girl, and she dedicates a portion of the proceeds from that design to pediatric cancer research.

Always on a mission to live boldly and push herself, Darbie shares her journey and encourages others through her blog. One of her recent posts focuses on how to move forward in your dreams. Leaping from law to design took some major guts, so Darbie knows a thing or two about how to do it. She suggests starting by making lists of all your ideas—silly and serious.

Then ask for feedback from people you admire and respect. If all else fails, she says, talk it out with your dog, your best friend or your mom—whichever will best listen. Oh yeah, and drink coffee, lots and lots of coffee. Now that’s a business practice after my own heart!


Darbie Angell would surely agree with today’s quote from fashion designer Eileen Fisher. She said:

“Life-fulfilling work is never about the money. When you feel true passion for something, you instinctively find ways to nurture it.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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