Former Miss Trinidad and Tobago Yvee Clarke has less than seven days to pay over $100,000.
A GoFundMe account which was set up to help raise $US30,000 to save her boutique, has since been deactivated due to technical difficulties.
This after last week Friday a video, which went viral on various social media platforms, showed Clarke crying as court officials seized items from her business pace.
On Wednesday, Clarke, who said she has considered ending her life after the video went viral, gave her side of the story, via a “live” that was posted on her Facebook page, in which she said she has been enduring months of financial setbacks.
Clarke said when she started her boutique three years ago, she fulfilled a dream as a young entrepreneur. However, a series of financial mistakes forced her to borrow $63,000 from her friend, which with interest and other fees has reached to $110,335.
I launched a GoFundMe campaign, but I deactivated it because I was having technical difficulties with that. From that campaign, $US325 was raised. Those funds would have been returned to the senders.
“I started as a young entrepreneur. The Style Affair was launched and opened in December 2018. The actual boutique was first at another location. I fixed up a space that didn’t work out and I lost everything and had to move out and find another space from scratch with funding from savings towards the dream and two small business loans from two financial institutions,” Clarke said.
“I had a friend at the time that I confided in. At the time what I needed was $63,000, not $100,000, not $150,000, as I am seeing online. The initial loan was $63,000 that I got from this friend, who was very supportive at this time.
“He agreed to lend me the money at a-20 per cent interest rate, which I agreed to because I needed to open at the time as I was already operating at a loss, with no income coming in. This is someone that I loved dearly, someone that I considered a lot, and I think that is part of why I am so heartbroken by what is happening now,” Clarke said.
Clarke said she made several attempts to repay some of her debt, and tried many avenues, including participating in a sou sou and losing money.
Clarke said Covid-19 was also an obstacle in trying to repay the debt. “When something goes to court, you can’t just pay on it just like that, and there would have been communication happening and at the time when I was taken to court, it was during Covid-19 time and we were in a lockdown and I was making zero dollars.
“My attorney and I filed to pay via instalments. I couldn’t fulfil that commitment because of the lockdown. All I could afford to pay at this time was $1,000 during that time, and as things progressed and it was refused, they said they wanted the full amount, including charges and legal fees, which brought the amount to $110,335.
Referring to the sou sou, Clarke said she also invested money and lost it all. “I invested my last, thinking I was going to get a return on my money. I wasn’t foolish because I was trying to solve the problem to avoid what is happening now.
“There are people right now who owe me large sums of money and I had to step back and say, I never thought I would have been in this position I am in now, where I would have to plead for help. I have gone easy on them lending money and trying to save the world.”
Clarke has learned from her mistakes. “The first mistake I made in business was lending money. It gave me a bad start. The second mistake that I would have made was having a business set up and not being able to open for so many months. I started with setbacks and operated at a loss. The third mistake I made was I had such a strong vision for my business, but I executed that vision at a high price and in many ways that large opening at the start was very expensive. It was beautiful, but it was expensive, and I didn’t need to do that on such a large scale. I wanted to be the best and give the best, and show my clients what I had to offer. That was a mistake because I would have had additional capital to be off to a better start,” Clarke said.