Creations from a crisis: Handbags with matching scarves, face masks

Imelda Roque Roberts is the president of Blue Dreams USA, a specialty farm boutique in Maryland.

When Blue Dreams USA, a small farm boutique located in Frederick, Maryland was temporarily closed due to the pandemic, Imelda Roberts and Jeff Snively, co-owners, decided to find creative ways to sustain their business.

To power up its online site, Blue Dreams USA is introducing a new product line called BSM-ART Wear by Imelda Roberts, a collection of handbags with matching scarves plus limited edition three-layer face masks, essential accessories in a time of the Coronavirus pandemic. The reversible clutch bags, available in four designs, are inspired by nature and other elements in the farm, said Imelda. It also includes a hand sanitizer.

Imelda Roque Roberts was a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2006. Her creations were inspired while she was in isolation in their 24-acre farm. She worked weekends and nights to bring to life designs with vibrant colors and artistic details.

“During isolation, I rediscovered hidden designs and reimagined how I can convey my message of love and care through my creations,” she said. “My work represents the signs and needs of our time. As always, the farm has become my creative playground and inspiration with lavender, roses, tea, butterflies, bees, birds, and other living elements as my constant companion during these challenging times. Given the unprecedented times, I also reflected upon the challenges in our communities where it felt like a jungle out there. Despite this, it is important to still find beauty amidst chaos.”

Signature bags designed by Imelda.
With then Philippine Ambassador Albert del Rosario when she received the 2006 Ellis Island Medal of Honor presented to outstanding American citizens.

Imelda works as a Human Resources director for a non-profit organization in Washington D.C. serving local jurisdictions in Virginia and Maryland. She started her career in Manila with San Miguel Corporation’s HR department.   With her experience, she became a Cabinet official for former Frederick City Mayor James Grimes.

“Like many immigrants, Imelda had humble beginnings but worked hard to provide for her family back home,” said entrepreneur and childhood friend Apollo Bala, who spoke to The FilAm. He and Imelda attended the same school, Ramon Magsaysay High School in Sampaloc, Manila. In 2012, she founded RMHS Global, an association of Ramon Magsaysay alumni worldwide  supporting the school’s repair and other projects as well as students in need of financial assistance. He and Imelda sit on the board.

Her company supports the Tondo Millennium Challenge, a project addressing the needs of the poorest city in the Philippines where Imelda grew up. She also personally supports So Others May Eat, a homeless shelter for individuals and families who do not have a place to stay in Washington, D.C.

“Imelda’s collection is a work of art and passion. The original designer bags have timeless designs and versatile useful features,” said Jeff Snively, co-owner of Blue Dreams USA farm.

To show Imelda’s affection for the communities where she lives and works, she included designs for the states of Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. She also designed one for New York to honor the place where she received her Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Like many small businesses that were affected by the pandemic, Blue Dreams USA is finding other ways to adjust its business strategies. “This was a chance for rediscovery, reimagination and reflection on what it can become despite the adversity presented by the pandemic,” said Imelda.

Blue Dreams USA is doing its very first Kickstarter campaign to seek funding support and to expand its network of supporters.

NaFFAA continues to update its list of newly elected, re-elected Filipino American officials in 2020. Email for information.

© The FilAm 2021

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