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Name: Loren Velasquez

Business: Just Materials, designer and vintage consignment

Industry: Clothing & AccessoriesE-Commerce

Location: Long Beach, California, U.S.

Reason for starting: I needed something more profound in my life. My self-esteem was very low due to a bad breakup with an abusive boyfriend, so, one day, instead of cutting my hair to mask the pain, I decided to sell and give away all my material goods in able to start a business entitled “Just Materials.”  After all, they’re just materials…. I wanted something I could hold onto forever, unlike my ex, or a regular day job elsewhere.

Related: Read about another Clothing & Accessories entrepreneur here.

How do you define success? My success is growing my business to its fullest potential. This means an office space on a busy street, employees, clients and customers from around the world knowing my business. I also want to give back to young girls by helping them get and stay motivated to succeed. Once I’ve done this I will feel successful.

Biggest Success: My biggest success is creating and maintaining my store. Having been open for a little over a year and half, I didn’t imagine how many customers I would have to deal with and talk to on a daily basis. They adore my store and really admire a young girl who didn’t fear jumping into it. I can’t believe I was able to manage a full time college schedule and start my own business- but I did it and I continue to do so now!

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My top challenge is being a minority woman, a bit timid, and aggressive. I’m addressing being a minority woman by reaching out to other business resources to pitch my business and get more help. I’m addressing my timidness by pushing myself to just do it and just believe in myself a little more. Last but not least, I am addressing my aggressiveness by taking it out in the gym with running and dancing in my spare time. I am very eager to see Just Materials grow in this world and stick around for the long term.

I also take care of myself, so I have to save the majority of my money for daily living. Therefore, I’m not able to invest a lot of my money at a time into my business. Additionally, since I am finishing up college, it’s tough for me to accomplish all the tasks in a timely manner although I get everything done. On a personal level, the closest people in my life have not shown me much support for my business. I’ve had family tell me that I wouldn’t succeed and that I should just get a regular job. This makes me want to break out of my box and go and meet people who see the potential in my business and want to invest their time, energy, and money into seeing it grow and benefit the world.

Related: Meet the 25-Year-Old Powerhouse Behind Malala Fund

Who is your most important role model? My most important role model would have to be Tyra Banks. During her younger years of trying to become a high fashion model, she was turned down many times, but she kept on trying, trying, and trying. She even told her audience to do the same thing, so I have that stuck in my head to motivate me to not give up on my dream. I thank her for that, and all her success.

Twitter   @JustMaterials 

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Edited by The Story Exchange