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Meet the 61-Year-Old Model who has Become the Face of Her Son's Designer Accessory Brand

"I wanted to show my mom how much I appreciate her and everything she's done for me," said the designer.
Cover Image Source: 61-year old mom turns model for son's accessory brand | iembeofficial | Instagram
Cover Image Source: 61-year old mom turns model for son's accessory brand | iembeofficial | Instagram

At a time when influencers are becoming a preferred choice to endorse brands in a departure from celebrity promotions, young designer Travis Terry turned to his mother Laverne Terry to represent his line of accessories. The concept took shape when Terry, a 23-year-old Clark Atlanta University student wanted a backpack for a spring break vacation. Though he didn't have one, he did have a great idea and a cheque for his student loan refund. "I want to make bags, so I'm starting my own business," Terry thought to himself.

IEMBE is a luxury brand breaking new ground in the fashion business. It is proudly owned by Black entrepreneurs. IEMBE was founded in 2020 by Travis Dimeer Terry in his hometown of Hartford, Connecticut. Terry wanted to design a label that captured the spirit of empowerment and self-assurance, embodied by the slogan "In My Bag." Timeless designs and flawless craftsmanship, which represent their dedication to quality and uniqueness, are the brand's hallmarks.

Pronounced 'I-EM-BEE,' IEMBE is an acronym for "You Define Luxury," a motto that directs all of the brand's actions.

Image Source: iembeofficial | Instagram
Image Source: iembeofficial | Instagram

Terry saved enough money working at a neighborhood deli to fulfill his goal and soon started designing and manufacturing his bags. Talking about the brand name Terry explained, "You speak those letters, I-M-B, when you say the name IEMBE. And the real intention is merely to inspire and inform others to be self-assured, to "get to the bag," which is another way of saying "earn money," and to simply go in, work hard, and concentrate." His mother Laverne, who is incredibly proud of her son, was his strongest supporter all along.

"We come from a tough neighborhood, where many kids don't get the chance to make something of themselves," she explained, highlighting the challenges of drugs and violence they face regularly. Terry used his sister as his model first, but one day his mom had to fill in for her during a picture shoot. Inspired by rapper Cardi B, the photo shoot attracted a lot of attention on social media and made Laverne, who had never modeled before an instant sensation. The 61-year-old has attracted a sizable fan base for her modeling abilities ever since she became the face of IEMBE, and even made an appearance on a Times Square billboard.

"It's truly the best time of my life. At 61, I've never felt happier," Laverne expressed joyfully. "Age is just a number, and I feel more alive now than ever before." Terry shared that building his business alongside his mother holds deep significance for him, especially since he lost his dad shortly after graduating. "Losing my dad was incredibly tough, and it made me realize the importance of cherishing those we love while we can," he explained. "That's another reason why I wanted to do it because I felt like I wanted to change the narrative of honoring your parents. I wanted to show my mom how much I appreciate her and everything she's done for me."