Interview with January 2012 Amber Grant Winner
We recently caught up with our January 2012 Amber Grant winner, Valorie Nash of Kavalena Clothing. We thought you’d like to hear her update below. She should inspire women entrepreneurs everywhere!
WN: How is Kavalena doing these days?
VN: Hello Christina. Thank you so much for reaching out to me. I can’t even tell you how much it meant to me to be awarded The Amber Grant last year!…Business has been going great. We just finished out an amazing Christmas season and have continued to grow and be able to impact more and more people. As a part of the grant, we were able to purchase some much needed equipment to better our product, as well as do some much needed branding for the business. We also were able to use some of the money to kick start our internship program which has been an incredible success. Directly and indirectly the $500 Amber Grant has hugely benefited this business.
WN: What’s on the business horizon for you?
VN: As I look to the future I am so excited to continue to grow and be able to help a larger network of people. I’m thrilled about a new initiative we are working on to build a fresh water well in Latin America with Living Water International, and look forward to the day when I can see the faces of children in a village that have clean water because Kavalena exists. Long term, I want Kavalena to be able to provide for more and more people’s needs, and to hopefully inspire others to use their lives to make a difference in the world around them.
WN: Can you tell us the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting Kavalena?
VN: What a huge question. I think I could fill an entire book with everything I have learned since starting a business. One of the lessons that I feel like I’m continuously having to re-learn is that the business doesn’t have to be huge overnight in order to be a success. I always find myself getting frustrated because we are not growing as fast as I would like, but I have found that some of the most meaningful things that have happened have had nothing to do with growth or sales. The people you meet, the relationships you build, and the impact your business has to encourage and inspire is just as significant as all the sales and growth of the business.
Of course another wonderful thing I learned was how great it is to meet with people who have been through what you are going through. It makes a huge difference to find people who have been through starting a business and will share their experiences with you. The best part is that most people want to see you succeed and will help you with any knowledge or information they can pass your way. If I were to give any advice it would be first and foremost, YOU CAN DO IT, stick with it even when it gets hard ( and it always gets hard).
You never know what you can accomplish if you don’t try things you don’t know how to do. When you feel overwhelmed and in over your head, while it feels like a sign to just give up, it is actually the opposite. Keep going, and you will always come out the other side smarter, stronger, and better for going through the experience. Starting a business is hard, some times very frustrating, and most often extremely overwhelming, but it is a challenge that will always make you better in the end. Rise to the challenge and never give up, you will be glad you did! I absolutely am glad I did!
WNN: Anything else you want to share?
VN: I would just like the thank you and everyone at Women’s Net for awarding Kavalena the Amber Grant last year. Being in the beginning stages of my business I was getting a bit discouraged, and feeling very much in over my head. When I was awarded the Amber Grant, not only was it a huge financial benefit, but it truly gave me the encouragement I needed to know that I was not crazy for starting this business. It was the defining clarification that I was not the only one who believed in Kavalena, but someone else ( Women’s Net) believed in Kavalena too; enough to give us a financial tool to help us grow! And grow we did! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing in Kavalena and helping us achieve our goals! I cannot even tell you how much I deeply appreciate Women’s Net, and the wonderful work you are doing to help, encourage, and inspire women in their goals to create their own businesses.Thank you, thank you, thank you!