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Cerese Dolman took a chance one day that changed her life. After graduating from Clark-Atlanta University, Cerese found herself working as a commercial interior designer, designing office spaces. As a born creative, Dolman, 40 found no personal fulfillment in her corporate career.

“I wasn’t happy working there eight years plus and I knew that four years in. I just became miserable,” Dolman, said. “With my job, I just got to the point where I  couldn’t take it. I would tell my mom I want to quit my job and she would say ‘well, what are you going to do?’ I would say ‘I don’t know I just can’t be here.’”

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One day at work, a coworker’s necklace caught Dolman’s eye. Dolman learned her coworker bought the stones at a local gem show and made it herself. The two chatted for a bit and Dolman learned the next gem show would be in Florida. Coincidentally, Dolman was headed to Florida for business and went to the gem show to purchase stones. She didn’t know how to make jewelry and upon returning to Atlanta she took a class.

The real test came when her mother and friends saw her pieces. “I knew she had the talent, she could’ve been unhappy as heck, but still needed that job.” Deborah Dolman said. “I knew based on the responses I was getting she had a gift. She only took one class. That’s it. It’s not something you can be taught, either you have it or your don’t.”

The compliments were all the motivation Cerese needed to start pursuing her new-found love. With accrued vacation and sick time, Cerese took time off from her job and began shopping her jewelry around. Pretty soon, Cerese had to make a decision to either stay at her paying job or pursue her a not-so-guaranteed dream.

Whatever uncertainty Cerese was experiencing was eased when her mom offered support.“If you’re not happy, quit the job and let’s go out on faith,” Deborah said. “If you make it, I’ll sell it.” Cerese never looked back and in 2006, Cerese D. Jewelry was incorporated.

The mother-daughter duo admits they’re each other’s yin-and-yang. Cerese is the creative one and Deborah, an entrepreneur since 1979, is the business-minded one. But just like any other relationship, it has its ups and downs.

SHE WORKS: Atlanta’s Cerese Dolman Quit Her Day Job to Provide Women with Handmade Beauty  was originally published on

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