Student and alumna share culture and fashion through small businesses
The idea of sharing her culture through açai has been in Kathleen DosReis’ head ever since growing up in Brazil. And on the other side of the world, Katie Galley dreamed about having her own boutique. However, it was not until college that those two dreams started becoming true.
“I didn’t want it to be just a food place, I wanted it to be a culture experience to people,” DosReis said. “Yes, they can eat the food, but they can also learn the context of that food,
DosReis opened a food truck that serves açai bowls called Rio Açai Bowl last year. She said she was passionate about opening a safe place for people to hang out and share about different cultures. As a student, she said this vision posed a lot of challenges.
“The hardest part is everything as a student” DosReis said, “I had to balance it out. Do I want to just completely drop the business, or do I want to just completely drop school? So, I balanced them out.”
DosReis said for her it came down to fulfilling the vision of what she is passionate about. In the same way, Katie Galley enrolled to Liberty University with the dream of opening her boutique. During her senior year she took the first step toward creating the business plan for one of her classes.
“I tried to focus on my studies and understanding that the book knowledge that I was earning was going to pay off at the end,” Galley said.
Galley is now the owner of Woven Devotion, a store located in Cornerstone where she sells women’s clothing, and where she also features different local artists that create accessories. But she said her responsibilities as the business owner are really broad. She is now learning to rely on people.
“I juggle a lot of balls, and I wear a lot of hats here at Woven Devotion,” Galley said.
She learned she needed “help along the way” because she was not perfect. She looked for employees who could help her with the weaknesses she had.
As she first began to work toward her goal of opening Woven Devotion, Galley said she was grateful for all that she was taught in her classes, and that it was really useful for her to have that knowledge.
“I would be lying if I say that the transition was an easy one, taking your book knowledge, and then having to apply that in the working world, it was a challenge,” Galley said.
However, for DosReis who is studying psychology and wants to go into counseling, the process to prepare to start her business was different. She simply went to Google to find the information she needed.
“Don’t let anyone say that you are too young or that you are too un-knowledgeable because if I can do it, anyone can do it,” DosReis said.
Although her vision was not to have a food truck at first, she said she found in it an opportunity to help people in Lynchburg who come up and talk to her while she serves them.
“I am supposed to be serving food, not serving Jesus, but I am,” DosReis said. “I am totally walking down what God has called me to within the food truck.”