Shiela Walker talks about her journey to entrepreneurship and A Wink of Yellow.

By Shiela Walker, Photo courtesy of Shiela Walker

“I Am Austin Woman”…As I thought about what to write, evolution and mindset growth kept coming to mind. I moved to Austin almost 20 years ago, and if someone had told me what my life would be like now, I’m not sure I would have believed it. In those two decades, it’s been slow unlocking all of me and a journey into entrepreneurship, with the developing Austin skyline in the background.

I’ve mainly lived life as a warrior, and becoming an entrepreneur required me to tap into my complete self. I’m well versed in the grind, hustle and execution. I’ve always seen challenges as opportunities to grow and build courage (and mostly, failure has never been an option). Coming from humble beginnings, my career was built from an arsenal of grit, hard work, chip on my shoulder, luck and strategy.

At 16, I started working at a GapKids store in downtown San Francisco. I clocked in 30-plus hours a week, not missing a beat at school (coffee helped!). I was hooked!

In college, my friends and I laughed at how many jobs I had. Gap retail was a staple job; I sold memberships at a local gym so I could workout for free; I waited tables at Olive Garden because I could walk there from campus. I always had my sights on Corporate America, so I made sure I had office work under my belt; I was a bank teller; I interned at an investment bank a couple of hours a week. I had jobs for money, and I had strategic jobs to build the good-’ol resume.

After college, I went on to work for Andersen Consulting (Accenture)—this was a non-negotiable company for me. (It was my dream to work for them!)—and Gap Corporate. Those were really crucial years there. To have that kind of challenge, success and empowerment in my 20s was a real privilege and armed me well for future roles. After a stint at Yahoo!, I moved to Texas and worked for a semiconductor company. I had been in finance, merchandise planning and operations—functional skills that were transferable across industries. Up to this point, I had worked for solid public corporations: Gap, Inc.; Accenture, Yahoo!; AMD; etc. I had planned huge businesses ($10 billion-plus).

Along with motherhood, an itch came to join a smaller company with purpose and impact. I spent six years at Noonday Collection, and by the time I left, I was leading design, merchandising, production, planning and operations. I worked for the best co-founders, who encouraged both my entrepreneurial and creative tendencies. I had a rockstar team that I would put up against any team today.


Maybe it was becoming a mom, the wisdom of my late 30s/early 40s or the post-COVID transition, but I wanted more. I wanted to achieve and create. The power of yellow was becoming impossible to ignore. It was frustrating to keep thinking about A Wink of Yellow—a brand that I wanted to build, a point of view I wanted to share. Thinking, not doing. I was being challenged to have faith and to lean into love and life. For the first time, I realized that the winks of yellow have always been there.

I’ve loved the color yellow my entire life; it’s always made me happy. Living a life of “I had to work hard for everything; nothing ever came easy; I don’t have a choice,” I developed grit, determination, resilience, a can-do attitude and a must succeed mentality. But that’s an incomplete story. The other part of the story is that I always believed in winks of yellow—hope, beauty, love, connection. Ultimately, it’s this more complete point of view that drives the brand. Whether it’s our jewelry, bags or candles, we want our pieces to make you and others feel happy, beautiful and connected. It is also a brand rooted on sustainability and impact.
My daughter calls starting A Wink of Yellow a leap of faith. It’s also been a mindset change. I shifted my definition of success and my relationship with failure. If success begins the moment you try, then failure is in not starting. But make no mistake, I want the numbers too!

So, who is “Austin Woman”? She’s a woman that lives a full life, who understands that her superpower is bringing the uniqueness of all of her to the table. Austin provides the perfect backdrop, as a vibrant city full of possibilities!



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