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Brandy

Bella Vita Jewelry

Little Rock, AR

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Personal Story

I was born into a creative and entrepreneurial family who make Arkansas’s Ozark Mountains their home. My dad’s parents have sold antiques since before I was born; dad chose to join the “natural state’s” top industry, becoming a farmer. My mom’s parents owned a rainbow trout farm/gift shop as well as an Italian restaurant; mom became a nurse. Growing up running around all of these places made for an ideal childhood that nurtured both my creativity and an ingrained a familiarity with the “small business.”

Around my tenth birthday, my grandmothers, through their businesses, brought out my interest in jewelry making, leading to years of making friendship bracelets and earrings for my school friends. This hobby led first to my first outside-the-family job at a local bead store, and then to selling my designs on consignment.

I dabbled in jewelry design and continued to work at the bead store through college, but was drawn to Interior Design. Interior Design gave me a chance to express my creativity in a new way, and led me to relocate to Little Rock in 2007. The economic downturn caused me to fall back onto what I knew so well - beads and jewelry. It became obvious to me that this was my calling. Fast forward six years (filled with lots of traveling, art shows, and personal development) to today and I am ready to grow my business.

Business Description

Bella Vita officially began 5 years ago as a small pop-up booth at local craft and art fairs. Now, I’m immensely proud to join the ranks of artisans who make a livable wage from their creations.

I often go "treasure hunting" around the country, searching for natural and vintage elements to use in my work: old lockets, gemstones, chains, long forgotten baubles...these materials inspire my designs and give Bella Vita creations an authentic feel - like the unmistakable look of a patina formed over generations.

How I curate these elements into designs and craft what they become is a story I like to share. Raw materials, unfinished pieces, snapshots into my studio and bits of inspiration are just glimpses into my artisan approach.

For me, Bella Vita is about an appreciation for style and craft. It lets me work with my hands, curate and blend objects and elements, and create a way for people to express their natural style. For my customers, it's about sharing their story through the pieces they wear. It could be the story of their people or places as they take a bit of their loved ones, or their home state, with them wherever they go. Or maybe, they just love that the piece already has a story.

Bella Vita has grown a passionate group of supporters and I am both excited and hopeful to give them more of what they want: more wholesale relationships with small businesses nation-wide (and possibly farther!) and a designated “home” retail space providing regular shopping hours and local jobs. In the mean time, Bella Vita is supporting Little Rock’s Main Street revitalization project by investing in studio space tentatively scheduled to open in January.

What is the purpose of this loan?

This loan will allow me to continue working towards my goal of expanding Bella Vita’s wholesale clientele by participating in a regional wholesale market in Dallas, TX. I have already reserved my booth for the January 2014 Market.

$1600 - $2500 Booth Fees
$700 - $1000 Displays and Fixtures
$1000 - $1200 Graphic Design and Photography
Remaining balance will be applied towards travel to and from as well as lodging during the four-day show.

Participating in this show will give a whole new audience the opportunity to learn about and fall in love with Bella Vita. The benefits of participating in the show are a potentially tremendous expansion of wholesale business and the possibility of adding more jobs to the economy by hiring skilled workers to assist in filling orders.

Receiving the loan will allow me and my family the blessing of truly celebrating in the moment without the hindrance of worrying about finances. Displays, fixtures, graphic design and photography for the show created by local artisans and small businesses will be made with the future Bella Vita studio space in mind so that they can be used for years to come.

Brandy's loan is endorsed by Argenta Bead Company. The information below explains why her trustee thinks Brandy is a great candidate for a Kiva Zip loan.
How long have you known this person?

More than 5 years

Tell us about your relationship with this borrower.

Brandy and I met when she stopped in my shop during a community art walk. The next week she inquired about a job and I hired her immediately. Brandy worked with me part-time as she started and grew her jewelry business. Even when she moved out of state for her husband to attend graduate school, she continued to work with me producing a newsletter. Now that she's back in Arkansas she has helped out at the shop during the summer and continues to fill in as needed. We are in touch several times a week discussing business issues and her development of classes for my shop.

Tell us about this borrower's personality and character, and why you are endorsing him or her for a Kiva Zip loan.

Brandy is a conscientious, creative and forthright woman. She is incredibly talented in not only jewelry design but in the management of her business. I’ve witnessed her thought process on structuring and expanding her business and am impressed by her thoughtful evaluation and risk assessment of decision she makes. I’m endorsing Brandy for a Kiva Zip loan based on the ethical and meticulous way she chooses to run her business.

Tell us about this borrower's business, and why you believe a Kiva Zip loan will contribute to his or her success.

Brandy has done an outstanding job of taking her jewelry design business from it’s infancy of creating many different kinds and styles of jewelry to a mature approach developing distinctive jewelry lines based on customers’ wants, desires and budget. Brandy is prepared for the next level of growth expanding into producing and selling jewelry wholesale. I believe the most challenging issue Brandy will face is competition in the wholesale jewelry market. However, I also believe Brandy has developed, and will continue to develop, a jewelry line that is not only fashionable but classic, enduring and priced appropriately. I have no doubt she will succeed.

190 Total , 4 invited by Brandy
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PAYING BACK

A loan of $5,000 helps me to pay for booth fees and other expenses associated with setting up at wholesale market in January.

Disbursed Jan 4, 2014
Repayment Term:
24 monthly payments
Grace Period:
N/A
Listed:
Oct 14, 2013
Disbursed:
Jan 4, 2014
Paying Back:
Jan 4, 2014

About Bella Vita Jewelry

Industry:
Clothing / Jewelry / Accessories
Years in Operation:
3 years - 5 years
Website:
bellavitajewelry.net
Follow:
Facebook Twitter Etsy
Badges:
Badge_connectedness_gold_small

What are Borrower Badges?

Borrower Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward borrowers’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

This loan is endorsed by

Trustee Type:
retail
Location:
North Little Rock, AR
Badges:
None
On Zip Since:
Oct 14, 2013
(6 months)
Loans Endorsed:
1
Total Value:
$5,000
Fundraising/Raised:
0
Paying on Time:
Not enough data
Paying Back Late:
Not enough data
Repaid in Full:
0
Defaulted:
0
Repayment Rate:
Not enough data
Why are you endorsing Brandy?

Brandy is a conscientious, creative and forthright woman. She is incredibly talented in not only jewelry design but in the management of her business. I’ve witnessed her thought process on structuring and expanding her business and am impressed by her thoughtful evaluation and risk assessment of...

What are Trustee Badges?

Trustee Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward trustees’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.
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