A shoutout on national television forever changed Aurora James’ life as an entrepreneur.
In 2013, James founded Brother Vellies — a sustainable luxury fashion brand — which has been worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Zendaya, Nicki Minaj, and more.
While promoting her new memoir, “Wildflower,” on “The View,” the Canadian fashion designer and creative director revealed a time when Whoopi Goldberg was her saving grace.
On the daytime TV show, James recalled having no money in the summer of 2015 after launching Brother Vellies with $3,500 at a flea market. During her season of struggling as a new business owner, her prayers for help were answered thanks to Goldberg’s support.
“One summer, I was literally about to get evicted from my apartment and you wore my shoes on TV,” James told Goldberg. “And you came out on stage and you started talking about them, and our sales went through the roof and I was hysterically crying. All day I had been praying for a miracle, and it was you wearing those shoes.”
James added, “Every single day as consumers we make choices on what we wear and what we buy. And when we support small businesses, it makes all the difference in the world.”
Along with running her award-winning fashion company, James ensures to reach back to other Black business owners as the founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge. As previously reported by AfroTech, the non-profit organization pushes for major retailers to pledge 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.
“We work with companies to comprehensively re-evaluate their org structures, ways of working, funding, and resourcing in order to implement meaningful change and create greater equity for Black businesses,” Fifteen Percent Pledge’s website explains.