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Meet Jasmine Hill-Carter of Velz Monroe in Inglewood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jasmine Hill-Carter.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started Velz Monroe at the 18. I always found myself shopping for accessories and either I would pay way too much money or buy cheap accessories that didn’t last. Growing up wearing juicy couture and owning almost every single chain, and bracelet they sold, I felt that it was time to wear something more my style and more unique. Juicy would cost me $50-$80 for a necklace and would eventually tarnish after 1-2 months. I decided to start a brand that had more affordable items where the quality matched the price.

I started my business young and people always ask me how and here’s some advice I would like to give. When it comes to starting a business, I would highly suggest everyone always do their research. When I say research, I don’t mean google and click on two links and you’re done. I mean thorough research. Read google, look on YouTube, scroll through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Understand each platform and know your competition. Understand what a SWOT analysis is. Also my last piece of advice is never compare your business to the next person. There are over 100 bread companies and they are all on the same shelf. People have preferences and when you have a clear target audience, you wouldn’t stress anyone not shopping with you.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has not been smooth sailing at all. I been through the motions. I’m still not where I want to be.

I would say my two main setbacks were:

1: Getting comfortable once my business started to peak. I started another brand and didn’t realize that my business needed the most attention at that time.

2. Starting a relationship that required so much of my time while trying to complete my bachelors. Relationships are work. I’m not saying that being in a relationship can’t happen but when you’re in your peak season, it’s not a recommendation I would give. Especially if you don’t have an assistant or if you have a partner that requires most of your time.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Velz Monroe story. Tell us more about the business.
Velz Monroe is a non-gender fashion-forward accessory brand created by Jasmine Hill-Carter. It can be dressed up or down and can be an everyday essential to your outfit. Velz Monroe was created in 2010 and launched in 2012. The brand started with vintage women’s jewelry then went to celebrity inspired pieces but now provides not only quality jewelry for just regular day but for important events as well. During the first four months, I didn’t actually get any sales. A elementary friend purchase a chain from me and that’s when I started to switch the concept of my brand. I then had the opportunity to work with two popular influencers from NYC, Karin Jinsu and Ella Bands, who I would love to thank for promoting my chains. To just throw this out there, I dropped the ball when working with them. Here’s another piece of advice, PAY your influencers. Influencers really can bring your business so much money and exposure when you have the right ones.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck hasn’t played a role in my life at all.

I’m just blessed. I’m blessed to be an overall creative and being able to cut ties with people and things that don’t serve me as a person or as a business owner.

Starting a business wasn’t easy. Being a business owner is actually hard because you really don’t know what can happen to stop your cash flow. I’ve had people lie and say I’ve never sent their merchandise out when new competitors came on the scene. I’ve had chargebacks and disputes.

If I could go back in time, I would start my business over with complete insight. I didn’t properly research. I start my business right before college started, my dad was sick, and I was working full time as an assistant manager while looking for another job. When starting a business, you want to make sure your mind is clear.

Three important factors to running a business is:

Communication (cannot run a business with proper communication

Understanding (have to understand your customers/clients)

Patience (if you don’t have patience, you won’t see results)

What keeps me motivated though is that my grandfather is 70+ still working 14 hour days. That makes me want to work harder because I don’t want to see him working in the next five years.

Being a creative helps me develop ideas on the regular. However, when I listen to podcasts and sermons, it gives me clarity and allows me to put in work. I need a clear mind to get things down. Bathing and going to the beach is also refreshing for me. Water is my safe haven.

I had to become a loner. It hurts at times but isolation really helps me out when it’s time to produce what I need to produce. I also had to trust myself. Sometimes we bounce our ideas off our friends which is great but our friends have lives as well. So trusting myself and not depending on others input is a sacrifice I made as well.

Remember, nothing last always. So apply pressure and pivot when necessary.

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Check out the VoyageLA Podcast:
Episode 1 with Content Partner Lisa Taitelman, Founder of Hiking & Wellness company Find Your Trail.

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