February 8, 2012
We’re excited to announce the December/January Amber Grant winner… Valorie Nash owner of Kavalena Clothing in Rosellle, Illinois… Congratulations to Valorie. We fell in love with her story – and we’re sure you’ll be inspired by what she shared with us below.
As a quick heads up, we’re now taking applications for the February WomensNet.net Amber grant. Please be sure to tell us your story if you want to be considered for our women’s business grant.
And now here is our latest grant winner, Valorie Nash.
WNN: Valorie – congratulations on being our latest Amber Grant winner. We were wowed by your application.
VN: Thank you! This grant means a lot to me, not just because it would immensely help my business, but the reason for the grant is the same reason I started my company. When I was 19 my dear friend Kate Vaudrey (also 19) died suddenly of a brain aneurism. She was the most vivacious, loving, caring, and wonderful person I ever knew. She lived life by the motto of “Don’t waste a minute of your life,” and since the day she left us I have strived to live my life the same way! Kate truly lived, and left a lasting impact on everyone that ever knew her. Her life’s legacy has far outlived her, and still lives on. I started Kavalena because I want to do something with my life that will outlive me, and I believe helping people by providing for their basic human needs will do just that! I don’t know how many days I will have on this earth, but I do know that I will dedicate every second I am here to helping and loving the people around me and the people around the world!
WNN: We saw on your website that 50% of your profits will go to helping the needy and underprivileged. Please tell our WNN readers what inspired you to start Kavalena?
VN: Kavalena has been in business for a little over 3 months now. When I graduated college I was excited to get into the corporate world and make my mark. However, the economy had a little different plan. After searching and searching for a job and having no luck I decided I would hire myself and
start a business I could be proud of. I had visited an orphanage in China over a Christmas break, and was gripped by the wonderful work they were doing. It was an orphanage for children with severe physical and mental disabilities. The children were so sweet and the founders of the orphanage were doing
the very best they could on the limited budget they had. After meeting those children and the founders of the orphanage I knew I wanted to help them financially, but had no idea how. Now, over a year later, I knew exactly what I wanted my company’s purpose to be “to help provide for the basic needs of
as many people around the world as possible,” starting with the children at the orphanage! Now everything I do with this company is based on that goal. I love waking up every morning and getting to do work that is directly going to help feed, educate, and strengthen the children at the orphanage, and
eventually children around the world. I am excited to use this grant money to grow the company so we can continue to expand our reach to help provide for the needs of people around the world!
WNN: Tell us about your business. We love the scarves you create…
I’ve combined my love of fashion with my knack for sewing to create hand-made infinity scarves for both men and women. You can order them directly from the kavalena.com website. We’re working hard to build Kavalena into a brand the whole world can get behind so we can make a real dent in world-wide problems like starvation, deaths from preventable diseases, and children having no access to clean water or education. It is an uphill battle, but every time I look at the pictures of the children I met in China a year ago and remember all the children I saw with bloated bellies because of hunger I know every challenge, struggle, and all the hard work is worth it!
WNN: Have you always had a passion for owning a business? We ask this because we
are true believers that companies that are built on passion, survive over those that
people just do for “a job.”
VN: I have always wanted to own my own business. Growing up I watched my dad start and grow his heating and electrical repair company. He loved what he did, loved the variety of every day, and especially loved being his own boss. Now owning my own company I feel the same way. I love learning new things every day, working hard to accomplish my goals, and then being able to see all my hard work pay off. Kavalena is literally a dream come true for me. I love the work, but even more than that I love being able to help others through my company. Every time I get to write a check to help meet a food,
water, health care, education, or freedom need my heart jumps with joy knowing that someone’s life is better because of my company and everyone that purchases from us. 3. What have been great business decisions that you have made and what were the results?
WNN: What has been your best business decision?
VN: Seeking out advice and knowledge has been one of the best things I have done since being in business. The more I learn the better equipped I am to make smarter business decisions that help the company grow. I’ve discovered how willing people are to share their knowledge and experiences,
and have learned immensely from each of the informational meetings I have had with experts in the industry. After each meeting I usually leave with a long list of ideas, people to talk to, ways to market more efficiently, and so much information I almost don’t know where to begin. The knowledge I’ve gained from talking to people who have already been through my situation is one of the most valuable things to my company, and has helped grow our marketing, improve the quality of the goods we sell, connected us to important business leaders, and even helped with legal advice.
WNN: With the above being asked, we have to ask….what have been your worst business
VN: All of my worst business decisions have come out of hasty actions. I’ve learned that if it is a good idea today it will still be a good idea tomorrow or even months down the line. Every time I have rushed into something, and not thought it through, looked at the market, or done research on the topic, it has
backfired on me. When I first started my company I was so excited about it I wanted to expand right away, so I launched a line of crocheted headbands. I came up with my own pattern and style without looking at the trends for headbands right now. I bought all the materials, made up the headbands, and
put them on the market. Only one sold. Needless to say, that was a huge flop, and taught me a rather pricy lesson to do the research and not jump right into anything without thinking it through beforehand.
WNN: What will you use the $500.00 Amber Grant for?
VN: $100 of the grant will be used as prize money in a logo design contest for college students majoring in graphic design, art, or marketing. $200 will go to purchase a serger machine. This machine will give our products a finished, professional look, and will give a higher quality feeling to every item we sell. The final $200 will go to purchase the materials needed to create a mini-line of clothing goods that will go on sale this summer. This line is what will generate profit to sustain the business, as well as provide for food, water, health care, educational, and freedom needs of people around the world.