During our time in North America we got together with Victoria to talk about her business, what keeps her grounded, and where she gets her strength when times haven’t been the easiest.
The future is unknown. But there is comfort and rest in knowing that God will provide for whatever my needs are.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Victoria Senges and I am from a suburb outside of Vancouver, BC, Canada. I completed the Graphic Design Associate Certificate Program at British Columbia Institute of Technology after two years of prior education in general studies at Simon Fraser University on a volleyball scholarship.
I know you started your company because of your mom, do you mind sharing with us how it all happened?
Yes! My mom is my biggest inspiration for starting my company. In my last year of high school, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2010. In June 2013, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. In March 2014, she was diagnosed with bladder cancer. And in March 2015, she was diagnosed with lung cancer – four cancers in five years. Those five years included multiple surgeries, treatments, and tests. I am happy to report that she is doing well and has entered remission! Her life truly is a miracle. During her fourth diagnosis, we really clung to scriptures and songs as a source of comfort and strength. This is when I decided to create ten prints that represented her favorite verses and song lyrics while having them embody her signature black & white classy style. My mom started blogging as well during this time to keep friends and family up to date on her journey. So I thought I might sell the prints on her blog while donating a portion of the proceeds to The Canadian Cancer Society. This is when she encouraged me to start my own business and sell them online through my own site. And soâ€¦ thatâ€™s what started it! I titled the ten prints â€œThe Journey Collectionâ€. Once the prints started gaining traction and support from others, I decided to try and sell a few notepadsâ€¦ and the rest is history! My mom is now my â€œvolunteerâ€ sales rep and stationery packager. This spring we will celebrate two years in business and canâ€™t wait!
What was one of the biggest challenges about making the jump from a line of designs to starting a whole company?
One of the biggest challenges was making the leap from being â€œthe designerâ€ to being the sales rep, the businesswoman, the accountant, the marketer and advertiser, the quality control person, the problem solver, and the person who needs to know what to reorder and when to order it. I do have some help from my mom in many of these areas, but at the end of the day, it all falls on me as the head of the company. I am very entrepreneurial, but most of the time I am learning as I go for the things that donâ€™t come as naturally to me as design does.
If there have been times youâ€™ve wanted to quit, what has kept you going?
I donâ€™t know if I have ever wanted to quit, but I have definitely doubted whether or not my company has what it takes to make an impact in a very competitive market. What has kept me going and pressing forward is my passion for what I do and knowing that God has put this business on my heart for a purpose. I donâ€™t think it has even scraped the surface and I am so excited for the future â€“ whatever that may look like.
What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field?
To tell you the truth, I am working majority of the time! However, when I can, I enjoy doing yoga, catching up with friends, and exploring the city. As well, something that I am heavily involved in is a church plant. We have been going for just over a year and it is amazing seeing God provide in ways I never thought imaginable. We are in an area that is in desperate need of Jesus and it is my desire to serve in this area.
Is there anything that influences your work thatâ€™s not directly tied to its practice?
There are so many amazing women in business all over the world. I gain so much inspiration from seeing entrepreneurial women excelling in their passion. In Vancouver, there is a fierce community of women taking their creative outlet and making it a business and they are owning their space. It is wonderful to be apart of and to see. It helps to motivate me to keep pushing through even when it gets tough. It also inspires me create products that help these women become more organized in their day-to-day lives and in business.
What scares you?
What scares me is pouring my absolute everything into this business and not knowing the future of it. The future is unknown. But there is comfort and rest in knowing that God will provide for whatever my needs are.
During some of the darkest of times, we saw light. During some of the most stressful times, we felt peace. And during those times of fear, we were given hope.
Where do you see your business going?
I am loving the current situation we are in. We are selling to local boutiques and shops all across Canada, as well as selling online. But my true desire is to grow the company to a national level and sell all across the world and in big-name retail stores. For now, I am comfortable with the pace we are going at and making sure everything is done properly and with excellence. But one dayâ€¦ itâ€™s going to happen!
What does success mean to you?
Success can mean a variety of things to so many different people. But to me, success is measured by being truly happy with your work and your life. I can strive to make my company financially successful but, at the end of the day, it doesnâ€™t mean anything to me unless I am happy and I am doing what God has called me to do.
What is most important to you in life?
My family and my faith. I wouldnâ€™t be where I am without the loving support of my family. They support my crazy ideas and endeavours. And my faith and relationship with God is what grounds me and keeps me going. I also wouldnâ€™t be where I am today without Him.
How does your faith play a role in what you do?
My whole company started with artwork containing a faith-based message. Ultimately, my faith and reliance on God during some of the most difficult times is what sparked the start of my company. Though not all of my products represent my faith in an obvious way, I think that my faith is what inspired this crazy ride and itâ€™s what keeps me motivated to keep going and reach people.
What is one thing you could tell someone that might be going through a similar situation your mom, and your family experienced?
My family and I have said this many times, but we do not know how we would have gotten through those five years without God. During some of the darkest of times, we saw light. During some of the most stressful times, we felt peace. And during those times of fear, we were given hope. Each and every situation is different. But, if you can cling to God during the times that you question Him and are angry with Him, He will ultimately win the battle for you, even if you cannot see it at the time.