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

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

A former flight attendant and Roanoke boutique owner uses her experience with 9/11 to shape how she views the world.

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.

Her business, She’s International Boutique, is one of twenty Black-owned businesses chosen to showcase their work on QVC and HSN. Over 200 applications were submitted.

“We’re proud to stand with the Black community by sharing the stories of these extraordinary businesses, including their innovation, their triumphs, the challenges they face, and their remarkable resilience,” said Mike George, President and CEO, Qurate Retail, Inc. “In these important times, we want to be part of the solution and help build inclusive communities where all people are treated with equity.”

This phase of the Small Business Spotlight runs from August 12th through October 16th.

Speaks says she is excited to showcase her business and is honored to be provided such a large platform, especially after months of slower business due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The boutique opened in 2006.

She’s International Boutique’s story began appearing on QVC’s and HSN’s websites and social pages on August 12 and the company will be highlighted on air on September 14th at 12:00pm and 9:00pm ET on QVC and at 1:55pm and 10:55pm ET on HSN.

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.