Each day, between now and July 23rd, we will be introducing you to one of our current Entrepreneur Training for Success students. These women are artists, artisans and creative entrepreneurs with talent, passion, vision and entrepreneurial drive to start-up their own businesses and lead change in their communities. Read about the amazing work they are doing and join us on July 23rd as we celebrate their graduation.
First up, Meet Velma Crawford, creator and owner of Veez Ties that Bind, a one-of-a-kind apron company.
A year ago my life seemed hopeless and I thought I’d never get well, I’d never be able to do much of anything worthy with my life, like the starfish I felt washed up. Since being a part of Empowered Women International (EWI) I have unlearn and relearned many times over. My sense of self has greatly improved. The love and genuine care that the staff of EWI shows and gives so freely has made me a lubricant vessel that over flows with creative ideas and burst with enthusiasm to give from any resource I have available without hesitation.
In the four months of being a part of EWI, I have grown in so many ways, I’ve met so many interesting, warm and wonderful people that I would never have met had I not been a part of this organization. EWI has been a healing balm to my mind, body, soul and spirit. EWI has been a beacon of light when I could not see during dark moments along the way. To me Marga, EWI’s Executive Director, has been like the young man in Joel Barker’s story walking along saving as many starfish as possible. Thank you Marga for picking me up and throwing me pass the breaking waves to a safe place in my “New Normal”.
At a very young age Velma’s grandmother began to teach her the art of quilt making. As a little girl she sat at the feet of her grandmother learning how to cut out quilting blocks. Once skilled at the art of cutting blocks she quickly picked up the art of quilting.
Then, four years ago, while attending a Training and Development course as part of her graduate program at The Catholic University of America, Velma found her niche. As part of a course, Velma developed and taught a class on “The Art of Basic Apron Making”. After the class, she received several orders for aprons from her students, and in the spring of 2008 she launched Veez Ties That Bind, inspired by the love and strength of her grandmother Mattie and her grandmother’s seven daughters, whose bond of family proved unbreakable. Velma’s aprons are “not your typical Grandmother’s aprons”. They are uniquely designed and very functional. Most are reversible and can be designed to fit any occasion. Velma considers each of her aprons beautiful works of art and confesses that while creating them, each one speaks to her spirit.
Velma joined EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success 2011 to learn how to market her aprons and further expand her business. In less than 4 months she received an overwhelming response from customers selling more than 30 aprons at EWI’s markets and special events. She also started to teach sewing classes and offer custom-made apron designs.
You can find Velma’s aprons online at EWI’s Etsy shop.
RSVP for the graduation gala, Women Architects of Change.