Roanoke Black-owned small business to be featured on QVC, HSN

The events of 9/11 changed this former flight attendant’s career path

ROANOKE, Va. – In an effort to highlight Black-owned businesses, the NRF Foundation and Qurate Retail Group is teaming up to showcase these business-owners and their products on QVC, HSN, Zulily and several other brands. She’s International Boutique in Roanoke was one of 20 chosen.

Diane Speaks has owned the boutique since 2006. However, her story got its start years before.

For Speaks and so many others, September 11, 2001 began as a normal workday. The flight attendant was working a commute from Amsterdam to the United States when the terrorist attacks began. As it did for countless people, Speaks was forever changed that day. Now, she owns her own small business and has used the events of 9/11 to shape how she lives her life and runs her business.

“I was supposed to be landing in Philadelphia, but the captain called and told the crew only that America was closed," explained Speaks.

She, her crew and the over 100 passengers landed in Nova Scotia where they spent several days before returning to America.

“The company took 40% of our pay," admitted Speaks when touching on the aftermath of 9/11 on the industry. "So, plan B: She’s International Boutique.”

From Italy to France, Dubai to Chicago, Speaks literally went international to highlight her love and sense for fashion -- that now is going far beyond the Star City.

“I wasn’t sure, but when they called and told me that I was selected," stated Speaks.

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