Clover Charles: Weaving into Community

In the collaboration room at Vector Space I was lucky to have an audience with entrepreneur and creator Clover Charles. With makers clicking, clacking, and creating in rooms all around. Clover- an entrepreneur, licensed cosmetologist, certified hair loss specialist and fellow at Vector Space - took time to weave me into her thoughts on working with Vector Space, running a business in Lynchburg, and co-creating with her daughter.

Clover runs two businesses rich in the art of caring for others. Oasis Caribbean takeout restaurant, taking care of people’s hungry tummies, and The Beauty in Serenity salon, a medical and cosmetic wig business taking care of people’s dignity. After five years of working through accreditation Clover is proud to now be offering insurance covered services for clients who have experienced medical trauma. Clover’s caring nature doesn't end with her, she has passed that loveable trait to her daughter, Cadejha Samuel. Sharing the responsibilities of the business, Clover takes care of clients and her daughter quite literally ties up loose ends, sewing incredibly intricate wigs to suit their clients needs. One of Clover’s greatest joys in serving clients is knowing that “when you look well, you feel well, and you are able to heal”.

All of her passion helps but doesn't fully account for the difficulties you undertake when you open a business. Like many business owners Clover has felt discouraged, unprepared at times in her entrepreneurial journey, and suffered from “that woe is me mindset,” she says. Quickly though, she discovered a community in Vector Space that helped fortify her own inner strength. Clover told me of how “coming here (VS) and seeing people and hearing people is the difference between me being down here and me leveling up”. She went on to explain that without having come to Vector Space and participating in CO.STARTERS, a ten-week entrepreneur training program, she wouldn’t have been able to hear about other artist and business owners’ hiccups, hardships, and red tape problems. Knowing that she wasn’t alone in trying and struggling to seamlessly step into business ownership gave her new strength to face entrepreneurial challenges. She describes how she couldn't do what she is doing now without having come to the makerspace and joined with people making things, talking, and solving problems.

Now, with four months under her belt as a Maker Fellow at Vector Space, Clover is nearly ready to unveil the newest stitch in her portfolio. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak into an invention of her very own! Unwrapping the details of her creation to me, Clover talked about how she’s identified a need in her line of work to prevent and mitigate carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis. I can't say much more here as this is a provisional patent at the moment but what I can say is that Clover intends to part the rows and move forward when she sees any tangle keeping her from getting her invention off the ground.

In our time together Clover spoke a lot about how coming to the makerspace changed her by empowering her professionally and therefore emotionally. It “opened my eyes to a whole new world, after you see something you can’t go back to being a regular person anymore.”  

Clover says empowerment happens in ways big and small, “like when me and my daughter wanted to come here to make bags for our business. It’s just that easy to move forward, all the tools are here.” I think it’s safe to say that Clover Charles is as special to Vector Space as Vector Space is to Clover Charles.

Learn more about Clover’s one of a kind services on her website or at Oasis Caribbean, 450c Oakley Ave (now serving seamoss infused drinks!)