B5 LINE NYC (A woman entrepreneur)

truckI have watched Tami Gia, the founder/entrepreneur behind B5 Line NYC for 16 years.  I have written about her before but just in case you never read about her I will give a little background.

insidethetruckTami is the daughter of Lene, who has worked for us for the past 16 years.  Lene is retiring this year.  It is a big shift for all of us.  Lene has been an important backbone of our family from the time Josh was 3 years old.   That is a long time.  She knows all including our friends, extended family and every secret under our roof.

braceletsLene got to the US with Tami by crossing the border in the back of a truck.  Lene worked in a variety of jobs before landing in NYC where Tami graduated high school.  As we all know, people who are not citizens can graduate high school but they can’t go to college without a green card (or visa).  Lene married a US citizen but the paperwork to make Tami a citizen got lost for years in Florida and by the time it was found, she was too old for Lene’s husband to adopt her.

toolsFast forward, Lene sends Tami to Brazil to go to college without realizing she won’t be able to return.  It was devastating.  She knew nobody in Brazil even though that is where Lene is from.  She goes through four years of school and graduates.  She begins working in creative jobs on films, in the arts and of course the waitress job thrown in for cash.  Bottom line, she misses her Mom and she misses her home.  Her home is the US.

displayDuring the entire time I am talking to our senators office about getting Tami back to the US.  Eventually her number comes up.  The people who interviewed her in Brazil to give her a VISA were not exactly charming.  I won’t share what they said but I wish she had a tape recorder on her.  They continue to delay her paperwork.  I make a call.  We have been financially supportive of our senators but have never asked for a thing until this.  Literally the next day I walk into our house and Tami is standing there.

display`It took Tami about a year to get her bearings.  She is an entrepreneur, always has been.  She has always been drawn to making jewelry.  Her father was a jeweler and Lene can make jewelry too.  She starts trying to figure it out.  She comes to the Women’s Entrepreneur Festival.  It wasn’t long after that event that Tami really started to figure it out.

photosofclientsFast forward, Tami bought this truck and created a shop inside of it.  She started to go to shows,  would open it up on the streets too and she just landed a pretty large order from a major retailer.  It has been so fantastic to watch her grow.  I am insanely proud of Tami and what she has accomplished.  Tami is the poster child for why immigrant reform must be changed.

Tam is driving to Las Vegas right now for a big show.  If you are out there, stop by her shop.  She is warm, funny and scrappy. It is apparent how much she just loves what she does.  She is one of my favorite woman entrepreneurs.  The photos through out her truck are from her clients who have posted their purchases on Instagram.   They love her too.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Rohan

    Really sweet story.I wonder if the immigration process will get any easier any time soon.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I hope it does. So many kids think of the US as their home and to ship them off makes zero sense to me.

      1. Jess Bachman

        Policy makers and sense makers are a mutually exclusive bunch.

  2. Laura Yecies

    So happy for her and the collection looks totally cool. My experience living in Brazil is that their women are super entrepreneurial.

    1. Gotham Gal


  3. gsilberman

    that is an amazing story …I can’t believe I didn’t know this ….I’m with you regarding immigration legislation….it does have to change and soon !!!!!

    1. Gotham Gal

      unbelievable story.

  4. Pointsandfigures

    One thing Americans forget when they criticize our own immigration policies is how screwed up they are in other countries too! Bribery is rampant and so is favoritism. I love my country so much I want to try and share it with everyone. But I realize even if our immigration policy is perfect, there is always another side that can screw it up. Good for you for stepping up. Arduous painful frustrating process. Talk about feeling helpless

  5. Thâmara Gia

    thank you so much joanne, and everyone for your kind words. this battle went over 8 years of all our lives. there was 8 birthdays, mothers days, fathers day, Christmases, new years… my college graduation that my parents could not attend. so many things in my life lacked the physical presence of those i loved because of laws that made no sense. Joanne was my Knight in Shining Armor, and fought for me with ardor, strength and love… of all which after a long fight i lacked myself. but it is because of her that my feet touch this amazing land of the USA today. a place i have called home since i was 13 years old. and everyday that i wake i give thanks to this amazing woman for everything she has done for me. and it is because of her i succeed. her strengths were not lost in me, and i thrive to make her proud. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

  6. TanyaMonteiro

    amazing story, i’ve always known there is so much to you Joanna. Really truly so many many people in a similar situation, just great to hear how fabulous the outcome was, eventually. Brazilians are super creative, I wish her ever success she desires!

    1. Gotham Gal

      thanks Tanya