Francesca Fidanzi

Lake Mary, Florida

Via Francesca
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Francesca Fidanzi, founder of Via Francesca, opened her first store only one month after earning her Bachelor's Degree in Business from the University of Central Florida.

"Making jewelry was my hobby and during college I decided I may as well try to make money off it while in school," she said. "Many projects in my business classes were writing a business plan or marketing plan, etc. and as classes progressed I realized it was something I wanted to pursue as a career."

Via Francesca is an artisan accessory and gift shop where everything is made by hand and often with repurposed materials.

"I use positive sayings in my work," Fidanzi said. "By incorporating the positive mantras on my pieces, the goal is for people to feel good when they walk to through the store and browse the items. Everything in store is handcrafted and I can customize everything the company offers, without using machinery. I specialize in hand stamping, and I hammer each letter into the metal. It gives it a different look and is truly handcrafted."

Fidanzi's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to maintain your motivation even through the low times. "You definitely have to believe in the concept full-heartedly," she said. "Once you get into it, don’t lose your motivation and passion in the concept if it doesn't work out as an overnight success because it takes a lot of time an trial and error."
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