Bay Area Beauty- Meet Aurielle, Our Kiva Entrepreneur for October
The City of Oakland, California has long been home to a thriving African-American community, which has shaped black identity in the USA for decades.
However, whilst it remains one of the most ethnically diverse major cities in the country, that historically renowned African-American population has decreased by around 10% (over 10,000) during the last decade.
The creeping gentrification taking place across much of North California, and the Bay Area in particular, has sent the city’s cost of living through the roof.
A booming tech industry and the associated influx of well-paid ‘Silicon Valley’ professionals means neighbouring San Francisco’s astronomical house prices have begun crossing the bay to Oakland. Many of the traditionally affordable rental areas have been bought up by property developers seeking to cater to this affluent market.
Coupled with the decline in the area’s industry, whereby poorly paid ‘dead end’ jobs have replaced the shipyards and other public sector employers, many working class black families are finding themselves pushed further afield, with fewer meaningful career opportunities.
Where others would have seen the changing neighbourhoods and scattering of the community as a barrier to growing their business, Aurielle, a young black woman who grew up in the Bay area, has identified an opportunity. She is seeking a $6000 loan via Kiva.org, the site we use to make our monthly ‘loans that change lives,’ in order to buy a truck and make her beauty business mobile - as she puts it, “a salon on wheels!”
Aurielle has been working in the beauty industry since she gained her cosmetology qualification 7 years ago. Her vision is to offer hair, make-up and fashion services from her truck- a full head-to-toe makeover.
Instead of the uncertainty of renting a shop in an area which may well be re-developed, and which her established customers may be forced to move away from, Aurielle’s truck would allow her to transition her business and be better able to serve the whole community, no matter how spread out. She could bring the whole package to them, rather than the other way round! We love the convenience this offers, and the innovative thinking it shows.
We are delighted to help Aurielle on her journey, and wish her all the success in the world. If you feel similarly inspired to help, you can follow her progress here -https://www.kiva.org/lend/1166894
About the Author: Alice Perry
Alice is Inkspiller’s project manager. She oversees all that we do, and thinks there is no task that can’t be improved by the making of a bulleted list.