The Designer Behind Michelle Obama's VOTE Necklace Is a Black Woman
Entrepreneurship Fashion & Beauty

The Designer Behind Michelle Obama’s Viral VOTE Necklace Is a Black Woman

michelle obama vote necklace
Former First Lady Michelle Obama in a BYCHARI "VOTE" necklace (Image: Screenshot YouTube/PBS)

Michelle Obama, our forever first lady, once again rocked her speech at the Democratic National Convention. But this time around, people are paying as much attention to what she wore as to what she said. The VOTE necklace Obama sported has gone viral, and the Black woman entrepreneur behind it—Chari Cuthbert, founder of jewelry brand BYCHARI—couldn’t be happier.

“I was honored when Michelle Obama‘s stylist asked for one,” Cuthbert said in a statement to the New York Post, about the VOTE necklace, which she originally designed for the 2016 election.

But Cuthbert had no clue that Obama would wear it for her much-anticipated speech at the convention.

“We had no idea where she was going to wear it. We just knew that she wanted it,” Cuthbert told The Daily Beast. “It was surreal. I sat at my desk and cried. To see her wearing my necklace, it’s insane.”

“I never imagined that something I’m so passionate about could mean so much to so many! The response has been incredible and I am beyond honored and humbled that Michelle Obama wore my design,” she tweeted.

According to The Daily Beast, 36-year-old Cuthbert was born in Miami to Jamaican parents. A self-taught artist, she quit her job and moved to Hawaii in 2012, and later Los Angeles, with $100 to start her business.

“I have no formal training in jewelry—it was a self-taught journey that was fueled by my passion,” Cuthbert told E! Online.

“I started BYCHARI with only $100 and had no business starting a company,” she continued. “Yet, I was determined to work for myself and build a brand I could be proud of and in return, empowered other women.”

That brand is about to reach a whole new level of exposure, thanks to Obama.

The BYCHARI website has been overrun with orders for the VOTE necklace since the speech last night. “So many people have been buying it,” a representative for the company told CNET via email.

According to CNN, the necklace was the top-trending search on Google during the final hour of the convention. The news outlet also noted that “During her tenure as first lady, Obama often championed small, culturally diverse fashion and accessories designers.”


Having Obama as a champion will certainly help the brand achieve its mission of helping “women to share and create their stories.”

“There is something so subtle and beautiful about jewelry. I love how each piece, and how it’s worn, tells a story about the woman who wears it,” Cuthbert writes on the website.

Cuthbert added to TIME magazine: “Jewelry is something you can put on and just feel really good about yourself.”