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Love. Travels. Imports. is making great strides in the city by connecting Detroiters to amazing, handmade pieces created by fair trade artisans from around the world. Founded by Yvette Jenkins in 2013, the shop has operated as a pop-up and online marketplace, spending time most recently in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood at the Grand River WorkPlace Retail Shop .
We’re excited to have an entrepreneur like Yvette working in Detroit – she is passionate about her work, her mission, and is dedicated to making her mark on the city. We asked her a few questions about what she’s learned since embarking on her journey with TechTown.
What motivated you to start Love. Travels. Imports?
The desire to do “good work” with “great people” “where I could make a positive impact” directly with people and their community. I am a relationship and results-oriented person who had spent a career connecting people/clients with what they needed and/or wanted. I had just left the corporate world which was going through the struggles of a changing economy. It was time for me to totally love what I was doing with my life.
Based on your journey, what advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Be prepared to continuously learn and to be curious. Do your best. Set a standard of excellence for you and your business. No matter what happens, always continue to believe in yourself and your dream. There will be bumps in the road. Rest assured of that. Therefore, have your team of supporters on speed dial. Shake off the dumb stuff, adjust if you need to, and keep moving forward.
What was the most surprising lesson you’ve learned as a new business owner?
Not everyone is your customer AND that is okay. I think that there is a tendency when you first start out to try please everyone and say “yes” to a lot of things. You can be kind and gracious to everyone you encounter. However, it is fair to know when you have done everything you can reasonably do and be satisfied with that.
What has changed since we spotlighted you last year?
I have continued to grow as a business owner. I have had a wonderful experience operating in the Grandmont Rosedale community. Having a good landlord makes it so much easier to focus on growing your business and not having to spend unnecessary energy dealing with unacceptable building conditions. I have traveled around the country and internationally and re-connected with many of the artisans I work with. We have started monthly events (talks, films, workshops & more) to engage the community and connect them to fabulous artisans, amazing speakers and more. We are enjoying Detroit more.
What’s next for you?
Building more traffic to our website: www.lovetravelsimports.com and growing the eCommerce part of the business. More sharing of the stories about our artisans. More “fun”. I have been working pretty hard the last few years. I love Detroit. I am of Detroit. Finding the right location/building for Love. Travels. Imports. to be all it can be. Sharing unique and wonderful products with our amazing clients. I just love doing that.
Be sure to look for Yvette and her one-of-a-kind pieces at Eastern Market this summer!