Veteran trades camos for rhinestones

Step into the veteran-owned Inspired Diva Boutique for a “blinged out” experience.

Owner Laverne Taylor joined the Army in 2008 as a medic and was sent to Iraq just a few months later.

“When you’re on active duty you’re just wearing a uniform every day, pretty much five days out of the week,” she says.

She says it was easier to get ready for work while enlisted, but the experience was definitely not as dazzling as what she does now.

After getting off of active duty, she opened her store at 6713 Broadway St. where she creates custom designs and "blinged out" apparel.

Much of her business comes online from lots of fraternities and sororities wanting to personalize their gear.

But you can also get custom blinged Converse sneakers or add some shimmer and glimmer to rooting on your favorite team.

Many soldiers find it difficult to transition out of the military, but Taylor takes a different perspective.

“I had soldiers up under me so I was pretty much my own supervisor,” she says.

“I’ve always been an entrepreneur so it was a pretty easy transition, and then I didn’t have to wake up early to go to PT,” she laughs.

Taylor’s husband, also a veteran, retired from the Army.  

But Taylor still puts on a uniform regularly after deciding to work as a human resource officer in the Reserves. 

She has also started her own organization for women veterans called Divas in Boots which focuses on community service and mentorship programs so that she and other women vets can continue to serve with a little sparkle on the side.