Kayla Eber, MBA '22
Founder, Victori Jewelry
What was the inspiration to start this business?
"In 2018, I tried to build out my personal jewelry collection and I was frustrated by the quality of jewelry, the price, and its murky origins. I was taking a night business class at a community college and the professor said ‘People always go into industries that they are passionate about, but if you go into an industry you dislike, you can see where it needs to be fixed.' I turned to the last page of my notebook and wrote out a list of things I disliked about the jewelry industry. I have a B.A in Design, so I started designing my own jewelry that met my standards and got some great feedback, so I decided to give it a go! Since then, I've developed a real passion for jewelry."
How did your entrepreneurship classes help to move your business forward?
"My entrepreneurship classes have helped me tremendously in figuring out what my exact product offering was, what pain points I was solving, how to differentiate myself in a highly saturated market, and how to communicate it. Dr. Cox formats the classes so that we can build out our business organically through completing milestones. I now have multiple pieces, a website, a brand story and strategy, an advisory board, and an understanding of my finances. We've also read some really useful articles and books that influenced how I shaped the business."
What have been the challenges you've faced so far?
"I was always inspired by the Robert Frost poem ‘The Road Not Taken', “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” Well, along the entire process of starting this company I've learned WHY this road is less travelled by. The jewelry industry is very set in its ways, and I had a lot of jewelers look down on my suggestions because ‘it's not the way things are done around here.' They've all been trying to encourage me to outsource and take shortcuts to cut down my costs (and my quality), but I don't want to do that because it's why the jewelry industry became so frustrating for consumers in the first place. Navigating an entirely new industry and finding jewelers who meet my quality expectations has been the biggest hurdle."
What is your hope for the future of your business?
"IIdon't really think far into the future, I'm just focusing on what needs to get done in the next few weeks, because that's more reliable (and more in my control) than something that will happen in a few year's time. I'm also open to seeing how my company organically transforms over time. Who knows, I might uncover an even larger business opportunity during this process."