We could all do with a big dose of positivity and joy to start 2021. And there’s no one better to help us do this than entrepreneur and founder of Victoria’s Joyful Creations, Victoria Reaves. Her radiant face will instantly make you smile, as will her luxury paper flower designs which are the perfect way to brighten up your office or home space.
Based out of Thousand Oaks, California, Victoria is a Black, home-based business owner who originally started her company in 2017 as an event planning and luxury paper flower design business. At the start of 2020 she lost her day job due to COVID-19 and pivoted to focus on growing Victoria’s Joyful Creations full time.
Flowers have always been a part of Victoria’s personal identity – in fact, she was frequently known for wearing a flower in her hair during her early 20s – and she is drawn to the intricate design elements of floral creations. Each flower arrangement Victoria creates is handcrafted and curated to her customers specific requests. Whether it’s a retail display, an interior decorative element, a spectacular social affair or giving a helping hand with concept and design, Victoria’s goal is to create customized pieces that will last a lifetime! To reach her customers Victoria has partnered with West Tenth, an all-in-one digital marketplace that helps connect people with local home-based businesses in their communities.
When Victoria isn’t working or taking care of her daughter, she hosts design sessions at a local retirement community, teaching the residents how to create poinsettia wreaths for the holidays. She is also passionate about supporting other black women-owned businesses and in the future, she hopes to be able to invest in other business owners to help eliminate the disproportionate barriers they currently face. We spoke with the creative entrepreneur about her business story, dealing with COVID, and why supporting other Black female owners is important to her.
Tell us the story of how Victoria’s Joyful Creations initially came about in 2017?
I started Victoria’s Joyful Creations originally as a full-service event production company, doing business as Joyful Creative Events and Production. I started my business as a means to do the type of events and work that I had been told for years I was unable and unqualified to take on. I was at a point where I felt creatively blocked, and I had no outlet.
At the time, I was working a full-time job in Marketing and finishing up our last annual conference. But my role was changing into something I didn’t enjoy. Honestly, it seemed every time I started a new job since 2013, I felt further away from the dream and my ultimate purpose. I felt like I had to do something about it. After years of encouragement from many different sources, I took the leap and started my company.
It has since evolved from event production to luxury floral design. A path that I accidentally ran into shortly after launching my company. These designs made out of card stock paper was fascinating to me. I thought I would learn as a means to up-sell my event client not realizing this was the very thing that started to feed my soul. It became a new obsession, if you will, and then I started to garner the attention from a brand-new customer base. Then I knew I was called to be a creator, a curator, an artist and designer.
I struggled with fostering meaningful business relationships and felt like a small fish in a HUGE pond. Fast forward to Spring 2019, I met a wonderful young lady at an event that she and I were both working. After getting to know one another, she presented me with an opportunity to join a women-led, online storefront app, called West Tenth.
Being a part of this community has opened up so many more doors and opportunities to network and collaborate with other business owners in my local community as well as establish a new client base. The creators of this app are dynamic and the women I have gotten to know are truly amazing.
As with many businesses and entrepreneurs this year (especially moms!) your work was affected by COVID-19. Can you share more about what happened and how you moved forward?
My business was affected tremendously because my designs were specifically requested for all kind of events, retailers and interior decor. In addition to my customers placing their orders, they also requested I installed it. Unfortunately, because of the social distancing guidelines, I didn’t have an opportunity to do either. Because I was in a position where my sales were limited, I used this time to work on business development in areas that would help strengthen my business such as marketing, also I expanded my product base to include different floral designs created with various textiles.
Can you tell us about your love of flowers and why this is a huge part of your personality as well as business?
Flowers always represented beauty to me. They are intricate, complicated yet delicate and profound. Kinda like me. In my early 20s I had low self-esteem and I didn’t feel beautiful. It was as though; others saw my beauty before I did. One day, I wanted to feel beautiful and I wore a flower in my hair. It made me feel special and beautiful. Ever since, it’s been my thing. I’m branded as the girl who wears different beautiful flowers in her hair almost every day.
Through my journey of self-love and self-care, and now in my mid-30s, I no longer wear them as a means to boost my self-esteem. It’s now a representation of who I am. My personal relationship with flowers and my business are kismet. I did not intentionally create a business to design floral, it just kind of happened to me and I know that it wasn’t by chance. I feel like it makes what I do and the things I create so much more enjoyable.
Giving back to your community is also important to you. Tell us about the local retirement community you work with and what you do with them:
During the holidays, a girlfriend of mine, who is also a black-owned West Tenth storefront owner, and I do the holiday decor throughout the entire facility and complex. In addition, I instruct and teach sessions with the residents. Most of these classes are project based, which they love and are typically centered around the holidays throughout the year. When they construct these projects the looks and glow on their faces when they’re done is priceless.
The mere joy they get out of being creative and knowing that I taught them what I know gives me so much happiness. Especially during Covid! I have had the opportunity to teach 2 socially distanced class sessions. Considering that they can’t see their families truly bum them out and they don’t know they next time they will see them. Having that opportunity to work with them during these tough times and they get to participate in something that feeds their soul makes the risk so worthwhile.
Given the number of people who have had to shift their business model to working from home while juggling family needs, what would you say are the pros and cons of your current situation?
The pros of working primarily from home is that I get to set my own schedule and have flexibility. With school now being taught through the distance learning model, I get to spend more time with my family. It is also easier to shift because I don’t have to worry about pick up and drop off times, leaving the house for parent/ teacher conferences. The flexibility makes things easier.
On the flip side, “mommy time” is hard to find and the self-care activities are more intentional, and it is not easy to get in. When your child has 100% accessibility to you at any time of the day, it’s very hard to set boundaries. It can be stressful and impede on your mental health. For me, I practice mindfulness, regularly meditate and work with my trainer to help me set those boundaries daily, which helps tremendously.
You are also passionate about supporting other Black women-owned businesses. Can you talk more about this?
I want to show up for them the way I don’t feel my community showed up for me when I was growing up. I needed support, cheerleaders and a group of peers that looked like me to uplift me and tell me, “You got this.” I never got that. The only way that we are going to succeed is if we show up for each other and support one another.
We live in a society that was not set up for women of color to prevail. THIS IS OUR TIME! I want to motivate, collaborate, uplift and support my sisters. I want us to win together. I truly believe that the good and positive energy that you give out unselfishly and with no expectations of immediate return, will be rewarded back to you tenfold. So I know when I show up for them, I know they will show up for me.
I also want to give the little brown girls something to hope for. I have a daughter who is bursting with creativity, and I want to harness that energy and motivate her to go as far as she can go with the things that she holds dear to her heart. And I want her to approach each goal, dream and mindset with much passion and vigor. I hope to inspire many by what I do and what I can share with the world.
What are some of your favorite materials to work with in your creations?
I work with so many types of materials it’s beyond me. Since expanding my products, I love working with hardware, light fixtures and the variations of foam. Although paper card stock can be easier to work with, using and manipulating foam is fascinating. There is more artistry and imagination involved with working with those materials. I feel like anyone can work with paper, but when you introduce different elements such as light wiring, pex-al-pex aluminum tubing, steel plates and construction insulation foam, it is a more elevated experience and expertise.
Looking ahead in 2021, what are your goals for Victoria’s Joyful Creations, and you personally?
For 2021, Long-term, my goal is to find a moderate size studio that will act as creator’s space as well as showroom/ classroom. In addition, I will be participating in sales training this coming January that will help me to increase sales generation and integrate a more robust marketing and adverting plan.
Lastly, I’m in the process of building a coaching program centered around women like me with the use of my floral creations, which I plan to launch in the first quarter of the of the year. I want to reach women of color who have endured creative blockages due to family suppression, a lack of encouragement and help them tap into their creative energy. Why not teach them what I know?
Creatively I have written poetry, taken dance and choreographed routines, planned and designed events and now this. I want to show these women that there are no limitations for what you can do. Whether it is to learn from me how to be a textile floral curator like me or help them find out they were painter or screenwriter in the making.
You can learn more about Victoria’s Joyful Creations and get in touch via the West Tenth app on iOS and Google Play.