Victoria VanBuskirk is a twin sister, daughter, friend, peanut butter aficionado and co-founder of Flora Stationery. Flora Stationery is helping fund the futures of young women in Eastern Europe through the sale of their stationery products. When you buy or donate, you’re helping provide an opportunity to empower a young woman to pursue the education she desires. You can help fund futures at FloraStationery, or find them on twitter and Instagram.
Ogunte: What do you do differently?
VvB: We sell stationery to help fund futures in Eastern Europe, currently in Kosovo. Our ‘give back’ model is 40/60. Of all of the profit from each product we sell, 40% of it goes directly to our scholarship fund, and 60% goes back into our business in order for our operations to stay sustainable. We are also a 501©3 which enables us to maximize how much we are able to give to the women in the scholarship fund. Because of our nonprofit status, we also accept donations that go on to grow our scholarship fund as well as assist in our programs we are developing for the future of Flora in Eastern Europe.
Rather, we empower them with an education while enabling the consumer to be a part of this inspiring process of funding futures.
O: What do you know now that you wished you had known from the beginning?
VvB: Don’t get me wrong, I
absolutely love working on Flora. However I never realized that this part-time
passion would turn into a full time job. The amount of time that both Ashley [Victoria’s co-founder]
and I spend on Flora, especially Ashley in packaging and shipping all of our
products, is truly a labor of love. Which would not be difficult if this was
both Ashley and I’s full time job, however we both work regular 40-hour work
weeks in addition to doing life and Flora.
So yes, we have both spent an enormous amount of time working on Flora Stationery, unpaid. But the reward of supporting these young women and seeing the success of the organization is completely worthwhile.
O: How do you close the gender gap in your day to day activities?
VvB: Although this idea of a ‘gender gap’ is something that does exist in our culture today, I think that it is also something that our culture perpetuates frequently to make into a ‘gender war.’ In reality, I don’t believe gender should be the platform in which we compare ourselves, but rather use our different abilities and skills that we bring to the ‘table’ as a means to push others forward. If I am better at a particular element of my job than a co-worker, then so be it. But let it be because of my abilities and my work ethic, and not my gender.
O: What is your ideal social conference
panel in your line of work?
Lauren Bohn, who is on our
Board of Advisors and is a woman who is on fire creating social change and
sharing powerful stories amidst crisis globally.
Dru Collie, founder of Sole
Hope, an organization leading change for those in poverty in Uganda through
And Nora, one of our partners that works for Women for Women International in Kosovo, her heart for others is inspiring and contagious.
O: What was a pivotal moment in your life as a woman social entrepreneur?
Last summer, after our story was published in a local newspaper for the first time, the journalist reached out to me asking for my address. After sending it back to her, I received a letter a few days later from a 93-year-old woman, Gloria, who wished to order a journal, but did not have a computer to order our products online. Experiencing the determination of Gloria’s heart and the effort she took in order to support our cause was a moment that I won’t soon forget. Her determination to pursue a cause she believed in was something that still inspires me today.
In addition to Gloria, I am continually encouraged by hearing the stories of the women that we support. Their tenacity and drive is inspiring. You can read more of their stories on our website
O: How does your world look like in 2030?
VvB: I hope that 2030 looks a lot like love in action. I think that we, especially my own millennial generation, think we need to accomplish monumental and highly publicized things. From Blake Mycoskie of Toms to the most followed celebrity on Instagram, this pull to do something big and be recognized is such a pressing reality to our generation. In 2030 I will be 38, and I hope and pray that although I may not be living a life that is publically recognized in a big and exciting way, I am living a life of love in action. More of seeing others for who they are and less of what they can do for me. More ‘doing’ and less ‘waiting’.
Victoria would love to hear how you would answer this question for yourself! To share with you more about Flora Stationery and what they do, feel free to reach Victoria here