I had taken two massive suitcases of my clothing and other goodies on the trip as I was going to vend in a festival up North. In my exhausted state I left them in the car since we did not have the energy to drag over a 100lbs of stuff up a steep flight of stairs (We travelling vendors usually have to leave a lot of our heavy merch in our cars and I had done just that countless times before). On that night however, that was not the right decision to make :(
The next morning we found the back passenger window busted in and my bags missing! I immediately started hyperventilating. A big chunk of my livelihood was GONE! Years worth of work I had loved designing and collecting had vanished just like that. As you can imagine, my mind was racing super fast as I looked through broken glass into an empty car. I thought of all the hours I'd spent travelling, sourcing my products in villages and markets, hours spent looking for the perfect fabrics and seamstresses, I thought of all the kind and hardworking artisans who had become my suppliers and friends. At that moment, all the time, energy and money spent was now represented by the loss of two red suitcases (luckily the bags were cheapo DTLA brands lol)
Over $6,000 worth of my best pieces was missing and I did not know what to do. We immediately called the cops and they asked us to drive to the police station and fill out a police report. We did so and they promised they would "investigate" but I did not feel very confident they would do much. As nice and as helpful as they seemed they wanted to be, they did not even ask to look at the car itself before they checked the box that stated "prints or other evidence not present" with an X. Right then I knew it was going to be up to me to figure things out.
I spent the next few days driving around the neighborhood searching sidewalks full of shopping carts and homeless encampments, peering inside and beside dumpsters, giving street hawkers and their product extra looks, walking into local thrift stores. For hours I drove holding in my tears, trying not to lose it but through it all keeping the faith.
The insurance company rendered me the next big blow when they told me they did not cover stolen items but would gladly cover the damage to the car (it cost $175 and less than 30 min to replace the window and since there was a $500 deductible we didn't even bother them with that claim)
PS. I have since learnt that if I had renters insurance, that might have actually covered a portion of the loss so I implore all of you to definitely make the investment to get some if you already don't. I am getting it asap!
As a small business owner this has been a huge smack emotionally, mentally & financially and I was feeling the stress with every mile covered. I have been blessed to make a living selling my products to smiling faces across the country and as a solo one woman wrecking machine entrepreneur, my only source of income had taken a huge and almost unrecoverable loss.
It has now been almost a week and nothing has materialized from the search. Through it all though, my amazing community has SO loved, uplifted, encouraged and supported me during this ordeal and for this I will always be grateful! I know this is not the end but only a bump in the road and soon I will be back in biz!
Many of my loved ones suggested I do a crowd-funding campaign because they wanted to support me and this again just goes to prove that I live in such a beatyFull world. I am so appreciative of the kind words I've received; and for those who are in a position to help me financially, I want to thank those who encouraged me not to feel ashamed to set up this gofundme and know I can lean on you in times like these.
With the money raised, the goal is to replace as much of the stolen collection as possible so I can get my business back to booming. Summer is my busiest time sales-wise so this couldn't have come at a worse time but I believe all is not lost and I believe I will be able to salvage the end part of the season and stay afloat! It has been an absolute humbling honor to be able to dream, create, collect and share my work with so many and I hope to be able to do just that for many years to come. Every penny counts in helping me get a new start. I am also looking forward to inviting everyone to the 'Wamuhu Bounced her Biz Back' Celebration! :). I will be offering discounts and/or other thank you gifts to all my supporters.
Thank you so much for your time, your kind words & thoughts, your contributions, and most of all for your love! If you are so inclined, please share this gofundme to get the word out about my stolen merchandise as well as the campaign.
Sincerely and with much appreciation,
I've included photos of some of the styles of clothing that was stolen so if any of you happen to see a big bag of them being sold please contact me or LAPD. This collection is from Bali so many of the fabrics are super colorful and vibrant. Lots of cotton batiks, sarong style as well as silks.
Thank you and Infinite blessings your way!
- Ikeke Robertson
- Jessica Young
- Linda Yudin
- Joe Mcguire
- Paula Rivera
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