Joy And Valerie
The 125 Collection
Joy And Valerie’s story
Joy Fennell I was born in Virginia and then moved to Georgia to live with my grandparents after my parents divorced. After living with them until I was 13, I then went to live with my mother in Landover, Md. After finishing college at the University of Maryland, I made my way to NYC in 2005 and have been here every since. I settled on Harlem as my permanent residence and love it! I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I decided to take a chance and take the semester off in college to pursue a career in makeup and move to NYC. Since then, my name/work has been featured in some of the biggest magazines and it’s all because of the chance that I took some years back. My dreams for the future are to see a world filled with happiness, love and most of all compassion and I want to contribute to this dream through my actions, my work, and my business. Valerie Wray I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and later moved to Louisville, KY with my mom and sisters after my parents divorced. Being the middle child, I had a sense of comfort from having 2 siblings very close to me in age so individuality was extremely important to me. After college, I moved to New York to pursue my masters at Columbia University. After grad school, I worked in the corporate world yet always found myself creating small businesses to produce additional income streams. I often referred to these businesses as my “creative outlets” until one day my desire for doing what I loved superseded my desire to work a “stable 9 to 5”. I decided to put more time and money into my passion and left the corporate world to take a full-time job that allows me the flexibility I need to grow my business. My dreams are to continue growing The 125 Collection, give back to the people and communities that helped me and to travel the world and live life to the absolute fullest.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
Joy and Valerie met 7 years ago through a mutual friend in NYC. With common backgrounds in the fashion and beauty industries, we remained friends over the years and created a growing lifestyle brand that fuses fun, style and individuality into everyday life. Our first line of products to debut were our pure soy “Quote candles” in November 2015.
We decided to start the business while chatting over ice cream in a park in Harlem. We both absolutely love candles, home décor and things that are stylish so we put our passion and creatively into The 125 Collection. We burn candles all the time so we wanted to create a line where people have the ability to show their individuality in a stylish way while enjoying the fragrance of a non toxic candle. Our customers are people who love self expression and likes to reflect it in the accessories and home decor they choose. We started our business by hand selecting candles scents and getting them hand poured in small batches. From there, we started selling in a pop up market in Brooklyn (and are still there) which helped us create an online store www.the125collection.com.
What is the purpose of this loan?
There are a number of things that we would be able to use this Kiva loan for. First, product improvement, production, and inventory. We would like to use a different manufacturer to help improve our product and keep it consistent as well as drive the production cost down; however, this manufacturer requires minimums that are higher than what we typically produce. Lower production cost will not only keep our product at a competitive price but will also yield a great profit margin. Secondly, we will do a complete overhaul of our website. We will be able to get professional pictures taken and that will allow our site to look more appealing to consumers and also allow us to create an additional platform on the site for collecting wholesale orders for our vendors. A $10,000 loan will help start these improvements right away.
Years in operation: 6 months – 1 year