[HAMMOND, La] – Hobbies may seem like a thing of the past, but recent Mississippi State University graduate Victoria Burke makes her hobby into a thriving business every day.
Burke began her journey of entrepreneurship at the age of 18 during her freshmen year of college around Christmas time. From then on, her business, now four years in the making, has grown into what is now known as “Victoria’s Monograms & More.”
Encouraged by her crafting Burke explained what led her to explore monogramming as more than a hobby.
“I’ve always been into crafting and stuff and I always printed stuff out for my binder with my monogram stuff on them and what class it was,” Burke said. “Then I was like ‘Oh I bet I can do stickers and they’ll last longer and not use all my printer ink,’ and it just kind of went from there.”
Since she has started on this path her clientele and inventory has been growing.
Most of Burke’s clientele includes mainly women in college and recently some males. Common themes of her designs include Disney, holidays, current songs and popular television shows such as “The Bachelor.”
“My coffee mug that I have says ‘Hello it’s Tea’ and it has got Adele on it, it has been one of the most popular things,” said Burke.
Burke now has a wide selection for her clients to choose from, and is willing to continue to broaden her collection and try out new ideas to satisfy them. Repeat customer Kristen Paige Hamil explained her experiences with Burke throughout the years.
“We were in a sorority together, Zeta Tau Alpha, and everyone knew her as ‘the monogram girl’ because she literally had her monogram on everything,” said Hamil. “She started posting on her Instagram that she could make monograms for people and since I knew her, I wanted to support her and I started ordering T-shirts and stickers from her.”
Hamil additionally said that Burke works with her customers if they want custom items made, and will continue to work on one item until the customer is pleased with the results.
Hamil described Burke’s dedication to her customers.
“She is so patient and wants her customers to be 100% satisfied,” said Hamil. “I felt bad this past Tuesday because my cousin and I could not decide on which color scheme to go with, but Victoria was patient with us and kept sending proof after proof. I think she sent about six different proofs before we finally picked one.”
Since client satisfaction is one of Burke’s main goals, she faces the task of revising her designs often.
Burke said, “When I do make a mistake I do try and work to make it better. When I can’t and there are still a couple of people I didn’t make happy, it still weighs on me.”
Her friends have also helped her throughout her journey in different ways.
Zena Jackson has assisted in events surrounding “Victoria’s Monograms & More.”
“Victoria has done work for several events we’ve held for our sorority, like cowbell painting parties,” said Jackson. “For those events I help her get set up and help organize everything she is cutting and selling. A lot of times I’ve helped her prepare the stickers for customers by peeling excess vinyl from the cut. Recently a lot of girls ordered stickers while she was visiting Starkville and to save some on shipping costs she sent me their stickers and shirts to distribute for her.”
Burke explained how she advertises her products and where that has led her in today’s design market.
“A lot of it is just friends telling people and social media, “ said Burke. “I do like the advertising on Facebook and Etsy. On Etsy it’s like people who search for similar things and it pops up, but I have gotten enough to get my own website just through Etsy and social media advertising,” said Burke.
Mona Burke expressed how proud she is of her daughters’ achievements and how she sometimes lends support.
“I quickly realized this was the perfect job for her and she learned time management and quickly grew her business through word of mouth,” said Mona Burke on her daughters’ behalf. “I believe I do contribute some. She sometimes has questions on how to handle situations when they arise, and she asks my opinion on new things she wants to try.”
Burke acknowledged what she hopes the future will hold for her within her monogramming business.
Burke said, “I hope to try to get bigger and I eventually want to get a store front, but I don’t have enough traffic for that at the moment. I don’t plan on closing it up anytime soon.”