Although Tina Jackson is only a sophomore in college, this Samford graphic design major is giving business graduates across the country a run for their money.
“This is more than just a dream come true,” Tina said. “I’ve never felt more blessed.”
Tina’s older sister and business partner, Erica Jackson, has integrated her public relations expertise with her passion for design and fashion to create Velina’s chic company image. In a very short time, the powerful duo have turned a simple hobby of bead collecting into a prestigious jewelry business that is grabbing the attention of both men and women from coast to coast.
“I could have never expected this to happen, “ Tina said. “It was just something I loved to do in my spare time and now to see my bracelets being carried in boutiques— it is absolutely mind-blowing.”
With two collections being carried in local boutiques: Laura Katherine and Lucca, the launching of a men’s line, and an upcoming spring-summer 2012 collection, downtime is hard to come by for these sisters. Tina professed that she is in absolute awe at the positive feedback from her clients and says Velina wouldn’t be what it is without their encouragement.
“I get my inspiration from the people around me,” Tina said. “Everyone is unique and beautiful in their own way and I think their jewelry should be nothing shy of that.”
Tina claims each bracelet is designed to have its own personality that suits everyone differently and that she loves seeing who orders which ones. After only a few minutes of talking with Tina on Samford’s campus, it becomes evident that her thoughtful creativity and diverse talent has not gone unnoticed by her peers.
“When I first saw her collections, I couldn’t believe a college student actually made them,” revealed a fellow classmate. “They’re just so high-end and well-made; clearly she’s beyond gifted, and as you can see—“ she points to her own collection of Velina bracelets on her arm, “we all love them!”
These unique accessories are appropriately defined by an equally trendy title. The distinctive name for the company, Velina, comes from the Jacksons’ mother’s Italian nickname.
“I wanted something different, something people couldn’t easily get tired of—I figured why not make it about someone who means the world to me,” Tina said.
Tina claims her family is her number one supporter and that the name, Velina, is a constant reminder of that. The Jackson sisters feel that the bracelets are more than just a business, but a passion that has formed into a diverse form of self-expression for both themselves and their clientele.
In addition to the support from her family and friends, Tina claims her clients’ positive feedback is her main motivation and wants to ensure that they will always get their money’s worth.
“The stones come from all over the world, so they’re extremely versatile; yet, I make sure I pick the very best quality possible, especially if my name is connected to it,” Tina insisted. “I have this instinctive appreciation for good-quality jewelry and intend on representing nothing less.”
From boyfriends to brides, clients from California, Kansas, New York and even Canada have ordered Velina bracelets. When asked about how high her expectations are for the company, Tina sincerely replied: “I would love to see Velina progress even further. In my mind there is no limit. If it takes off and does something crazy like go international, for instance, I would be beyond thrilled. However, at the same time, if it stayed a local business, I would be as equally pleased because regardless of the outcome, I get to do what I love and get to inspire others while doing it.”
Tina hints that she is currently working with her sister on gathering inspirations for new lines, hopefully to be released later this summer.
Whether the exquisite bracelets are seen in classrooms or over seas, Tina Jackson has demonstrated that with a little creativity and determination, no idea is too small to be turned into something big and beautiful.