|Occupation (or skill set)|
The journey to developing this business began in 1999 when Tonya was the tender age of 14. She worked part-time at the infamous Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA where she met Mrs. Mary, the owner of the Oriental Shop. Mrs. Mary offered to teach Tonya how to make jewelry on multiple occasions, but Tonya was hesitant due to her not having the funds to purchase the necessary materials to do so. However, Mrs. Mary was persistent and continued to offer to share her love of jewelry-making with Tonya, who eventually gave in and learned to make jewelry. As a student at George Wythe High School, Tonya was able to earn extra income by selling jewelry to her peers, as well as use jewelry making as a positive outlet for managing daily stressors. Tonya was able to continue to extend her customer base as her passion for jewelry-making was apparent to everyone with whom she came in contact. Later she created jewelry for others while attending Winston Salem State University. Despite excelling with creating various creative jewelry pieces, Tonya decided to take a break from her hobby after graduating from Winston Salem State University. She began to rely on this positive outlet again once she entered the counseling profession in 2009. She first entertained the idea of turning her hobby into a business in April 2011. At that time, she was not motivated to “run a business” even after she purchased the materials to do so. However, in May 2012 she began receiving encouragement from others to start her business. She then truly began to focus on the wonderful possibilities of turning this idea into reality, which resulted in her applying for her business license in December 2012 and Unique Cr8ations LLC was born. After applying, Tonya became a Raw Artist in 2014.