Arielle Holdip walked on to the set of Planting Seeds and pitched her brand Zaveza with no hesitation at all. She was called to appear on Planting Seeds at the last minute, due to a cancellation by another entrepreneur, and the team actually extended the deadline to accommodate her, as her business plan was never officially submitted. She had a period of two days in which to submit, but she rushed the document through and sent it in.
As fate would have it, she walked on set and gained an investment on the show from Kristine Thompson, co-owner of the Chuck E. Cheese franchise. Thompson purchased a 25% equity share in her company in exchange for an investment of TT$100,000.
Zaveza is a fashion company that currently creates unique, painted wooden earrings and the brand promotes beauty for the dark-skinned woman, who is often neglected in the industry.
Prior to Zaveza, Holdip worked as sales clerk in the retail industry. After being laid off from her job, she began to make jewelry as a means of creating an income. She had been making small buttons and earrings to modify her uniform at the office, which she was always given compliments for. This birthed the idea of making earrings using fabric, as it was a more cost effective alternative to the regular materials used for earrings.
She turned all of her attention and efforts into her hobby, and after mailing Caribbean magazines and making cold calls, she finally got a response from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam, who made an order for her earrings to be used in their gift bags for media and VIP attendees.
This was her first big break and from there the opportunities continued to flow in. By the end of the year she was overwhelmed, with many international accolades, sales as far as Europe and Ghana, and her earrings even becoming one of the top-sellers in the French Caribbean.
But, like all new businesses understand, success comes in waves, and a new down period came again. Most of her income was re-invested back into capital. Earlier this year Arrielle experienced the lowest period of her personal and professional life. The sales plateaued, and the lack of a salary, exhausted savings, and creditors banging on her door made it increasingly difficult, but she was not discouraged. She continued to search for more opportunities, which brought her to Planting Seeds. As Holdip describes, “One of my customers/friends sent me a link to sign up for a potential investment opportunity. I did it, because you don’t let opportunities pass you by.”
Perseverance paid off when she pitched her company for investment and secured it. Today, with the help of EY Partner Maria Daniel, she is structuring Zaveza’s production process to take increased orders and is now branching off to a line of sandals, expected to be launched early next month, with plans to take the Caribbean and UK by storm.