Born with the gift of creativity, Norma Davis attended Arts High School in New Jersey and later received a degree in textile design from the Fashion Institute of Technology of New York. Norma spent the majority of her life in New Jersey since her family moved her from Rocky Mount, NC, at the age of six. She relocated to Winston-Salem 10 years ago. After several years designing ladies fashion, knitwear, and home furnishings, Norma formed her own company in 1998 – Above the Norm Designs. Her lines include inspirational socks, handmade handbags, activity blankets, collectible dolls and more.
Norma finds business support at the Forsyth Tech Small Business Center (SBC). “I’ve been a part of the Small Business Center for about four years now,” explained Norma. “The workshops are informative, and I get to network with people from different professions. Being part of the roundtable discussions allows me to stay encouraged, share ideas and inspire others. When pursuing a
dream, SBC is a great motivator to keep you on track in the right direction.” Norma also helps the Winston-Salem Urban League Intern Program by giving summer jobs to high school students.
In 2015 Norma launched her Above the Norm “One & Only” handbag collection, setting out to create handbags, each one with a character of their own. From whimsical to fashionable to conservative, they suit a wide variety of tastes. Each is hand-made using fine upholstery fabric, and custom orders are accepted.
Norma uses customer feedback to spark her creativity. “I like having my items in stores, but I also get a thrill out of being a vendor because I get to meet the people. I like designing with the purpose of meeting a need. I’ve added items such as walker and wheelchair bags, adult bibs and activity blankets for those with Alzheimer’s, dementia and kids with autism.”
With over 15 years of sock design experience, she created her own line, “Sole Inspiration: Socks that encourage your soul.” Their purpose is to be fashionable, comfortable and inspire. Features such as arch support, mesh ventilation, moisture management and half cushioning are extra perks used in the socks. Phrases such as “Too Blessed to Be Stressed,” “Walk By Faith,” and, for the runners, “Running For My Life” sports socks, are just a few of the designs. Per customer request, she added diabetic socks with “Just Believe” and “Faith Heals” quotes. Sole Inspiration socks are sold in 22 stores in five states. Find them locally at Carolina Christian Supply, Gullion Christian Supply Center in King and Statesville, Penny Lane Boutique in Clemmons, and Tiquers’ Alley in Kernersville.
You can also find Norma’s handiwork at craft shows and festivals including the NC Red Hat Convention and Eastern Star Conference, both in September at the Benton Convention Center, Holly Jolly Craft Show in October, the Gingerbread Crafts Fair on November 1-3 and Whimsical Women on November 17, and at her online store at squareup.com/store/atndesigns.