“You can do this. You made the choice to be free. You are free. We want you to be inspired to live your life fearlessly and to live every day with confidence, joy, and well-being. I did. Now I have dedicated my company, Solarté Collections, LLC to inspire you to do the same.
With my best wishes, Angela Hackett Jenkins
Every time someone makes an order on her website, Angela sends a note just like the one above to a Safe House, like the Family Services Women’s Shelter, along with a box gift set of shampoos, conditioners, shower creams and body lotions.
She said it’s her mission because she knows firsthand what it takes to triumph over fear and feel free.
Today, nearly two decades later, it’s easy to see that the red flags were there all along. But for Angela, they didn’t really come into focus until the handgun was placed on her dining room table for her to see when she returned home for work.
“He made a point to tell me it was unregistered, and that he bought it from a guy who had recently been in prison and was on work-release,” Angela recalled. “That was when I knew my time with him was limited.”
It wasn’t always that way.
She grew up in the same neighborhood as her ex-husband. They attended the same high school in Florida. They began dating in 1995 right out of college, because and it appeared he had the entire package—charm, a great family, and Angela said she fell in love.
Almost immediately, they moved from their familiar Floridian surroundings to Tennessee and she said she noticed signs of trouble virtually right away. But at the time, she just thought he was young and that she could fix it all.
Angela landed a good job in banking—she advanced quickly and was getting quite a bit of recognition as an up-and-comer. But her success was not resonating well at home.
“I don’t know. I guess he saw my success as a threat,” she said. “I would come home and he’d be rage-filled for no reason. He’d say things to me like ‘no one is going to want you,’ or ‘you’re too ugly or fat, or you’re not smart enough to be promoted to the next level.’”
When she tried to win him over with a nice dinner, he’d come home late and throw it in the trash. He kept her from having real friends, and when she committed the cardinal sin of not using Carpet Fresh—he’d make her sit and watch as he violently threw the contents onto the floor and demonstrated how to properly vacuum a rug.
He never physically abused me,” Angela said. “He just tormented me, day in and day out. He made my life a living nightmare.”
She has countless stories of mental abuse and embarrassment—how he would keep them moving to new places to keep her from really getting too close to anyone. How he would punch holes through walls when she didn’t cook something right or clean the way he thought it should be cleaned.
One time, while on a business trip to New York together, Angela was waiting on her husband at the bar downstairs and another man struck up a conversation with her.
“When he saw the guy talking with me, he grabbed me sternly in front of everyone then said, Are you gonna spread your legs for this guy?’ He would completely humiliate me in front of people just to shut me down.”
When this happened, Angela’s reaction was to wonder what was wrong with her. Why she couldn’t make him happy and what she could do better next time.
A short time before she came home to a gun on her dining table, a neighbor in Waco, Texas warned her of what the problem might actually be.
“We were just talking one day and she said, ‘do you throw a lot of parties?’” Angela recalled.
As it turns out, the neighbor said she was a recovering alcoholic herself and she knew the signs. She had witnessed Angela’s husband discarding large liquor bottles a little too often.
The neighbor told Angela that she should go through the house and look for hidden bottles, and other signs like water bottles filled with vodka.
“I did what she said, and I remember I just sat on the floor and sobbed,” she said.
The alcohol abuse, a discovery of drug abuse, and the unregistered gun on her dining room table was too much. Angela sought the counsel of her pastor—who told her that she needed to get out.
So she waited until her husband was away on business and she called her father sobbing and asked him to come get her.
She had lost so much weight, her father walked right past her at the airport.
Today, as the founder of Solarté Collections, Angela is concentrating on growing her business while focusing on her mission to empower women. Her dedication to the cause is the most prominent thing on her website, SolarteCollections.com.
“We aim high in our efforts to empower all women to live their lives boldly, confidently, and without fear. We are especially committed to women who are working to overcome adverse relationships and life circumstances. To do so, we provide products and financial support to safe houses for women all over the country.”
But she’s also in a dedicated and caring marriage to a man who cherishes her, respects her, and supports her ambition. She said she hasn’t been able to write the big checks she wants to, to support the Family Services Women’s Shelter and other programs, but she hopes to.
No company hits it big overnight,” she said. “But we’re getting there. I love my brand, and I love sharing that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. My ex-husband wanted me to stay down. But I couldn’t stay a victim. I’m a fighter and I found my way back.”
For information about how you can help support Domestic Violence Programs in Forsyth County, visit RISEforsyth.org.
If you or someone you love is in crisis, Family Services is here to help. Call 336.723.8125 for help 24/7.