B5 LINE NYC (A woman entrepreneur)
I 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.
Tami 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.
Lene 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.
Fast 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.
During 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.
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.
Fast 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.