Have you ever felt different but didn’t know why? Growing up in Harlem NY was very interesting. I was completely sheltered from the hardships of life until the age of nine, at that time my mother became seriously ill and I became the caretaker for her, while my father worked. My father was a disciplinarian not leaving me much room to be a typical teenage girl, Since my mother was ill, I missed out on the girl to girl talks, being able to share my dreams, and all those wonderful things that mothers do with their daughters. The one thing that my mother did for me though was provide the opportunity and financial capability for me to go to school in Colorado, where I attended for four years. I believe this is why the vision and passion of my company is to provide a way for people to redesign their personal keepsakes into modern day treasures for their loved ones. My mother gave what little she had so that I could have an education, but most of all she showed me that she had confidence in me to succeed. Through her gesture of faith and love, it has made me who I am today and has given me the ability to provide a legacy for my daughter.
I was inspired to start Victoria Blake Collection in 2011; which is a custom design company that redesigns your broken or used heirloom jewelry, based on a conversation that I had with a mentor of mine. He asked me what was the legacy that I was going to leave for my daughter. I knew that I wanted to instill in her a strong work ethic and a passion for learning, but I wondered were the values that I was instilling in her enough for her to successfully create something of her own. Creating this company would provide her with many opportunities to visually see success, to be creative and discover a new world of opportunities. My personal goals for VBC are to express my creativity and leave a positive global footprint by reducing toxic waste that we create by being excessive consumers. I want to be able to touch the worlds of indigenous people that mine the semi precious materials that are used in my designs, through establishing fair trading practices with them. I want to find small group of indigenous miners in Brazil or South Africa that can partner with.VBC, because miners are working so hard for their families to provide education and household finances, VBC will annually contribute a donation of school supplies to the mothers and children of miners in this group, while simultaneously picking up certain raw materials for my designs for the year. Through these actions I want to continue the legacy passed on from my mother to me, I to my daughter and my daughter to the families of the miners. It is VBCs greatest accomplishment for people to understand that every treasure big or small can be re-transformed into lasting legacies for generations to come.
The loan that I would receive from KIVA would begin to open up the doors for me to make the connections I need to set up a partnership with indigenous miners in either Brazil or South Africa. This partnership can become the building blocks to providing sustainable materials for my company and economic relief to the miners. The loan also would allow me to create jewelry collections that individuals would be able to choose for their designs. I would be able to provide marketing and hire a staff that could provide the customer service needed for each client. I also would like to set up an internship for my company with Lehman College or any other institution with students that share in my vision of sustainability and global partnerships. The cost for everything can be anywhere from 8,000, to 10,000 dollars, marketing expenses are around 3500 to 4000 dollars. Jewelry Contractor’s cost anywhere from 25 to 30 an hour depending on the design they are producing. traveling to a mine can be anywhere from 2000 to 3000 dollars.
The impact that this loan will have on my business is that it will begin to open up doors for me and firmly establish my presence in the jewelry industry. If this loan is funded and I can accomplish these goals along with the major marketing shows I have in 2016. My business will grow exponentially. It is difficult to juggle running a business and a household, there have been many sacrifices that my daughter and I have had to endure over the years, as I have pushed the business to grow. I have burned the candle at both ends trying to provide a stable home environment for my daughter and to meet her needs and wants, sometimes working two extra jobs and the business to make ends meet and put in funds for the company. This loan would take some of the financial burdens off of me and help push the vision of the company to fruition.