Working Class Karma logo

When someone says they started their business by accident, they don’t usually mean an actual accident! But that’s exactly what happened to Loretta M. Dunn, President/Founder of Working Class Karma.

Loretta found herself out of work for six months after a serious injury to her knee. At the time she was a full-time international flight attendant with a major airline and was volunteering to transport orphans and disabled children with Airline Ambassadors.

After encouragement from a friend, she started painting to keep her mind off being unable to fly. She followed his advice and was able to sell her art and donate the proceeds to charity. Voila! That was the start of the germination of her business.

Working Class Karma opened as a charitable/educational nonprofit in March 2015. It’s made up of local creative people including artists, crafters, musicians, writers, filmmakers, actors, culinary pros, and more. They partner with local nonprofits that help in “The 757” to make a bigger impact through their community events.

Additionally, in the Vertical Vibe Gallery in Virginia Beach and online via their website their artists can show and sell at no additional cost and donate to charity in place of gallery fees. They also have networking events on the 27th of each month to encourage collaboration, friendships, mutual support, and overall success.

“We’re learning to return to in-person events and trust that the community will join us,” Ms. Dunn commented. “In light of the pandemic, we haven’t reached out to request sponsorship to cover the cost of events and grow. Fortunately, some have reached out to us, but we could certainly use more venues, more collaboration, and (of course) more donations. If we continue our mission and make a difference to others, the support will come.”

Working Class Karma photo

Their motto is “Working Together – for Good” which has a double meaning to them. First, “We are all working together to do good things.” Secondly, “We are working together to develop lasting relationships.”

Just making it this far and making so many lasting relationships is their biggest business success, Loretta mentioned. Vertical Real Estate opened up their office for their use as a Gallery and venue and Pembroke Mall also allowed them to use their venue and connect them with great people.

“We continue to be challenged with helping people understand what we do,” Ms. Dunn said. “Most people have an elevator speech. We do too, but it requires about 20 floors! We just have so many ways to do what we love and help others too!”

Vertical Vibe Gallery doesn’t have any traditional competitors as they are so “different” and rather than compete with galleries, they support them. They also don’t compete with nonprofits but support them too.

The organization is made up entirely of volunteers. Ms. Dunn has had many different jobs and a wonderful career as a flight attendant. Throughout it all, she has always volunteered.

“It’s just fun and the best way I have found to enjoy the wonderful people in our community,” she commented. “I’m amazed by the people that make up this organization and the people that have been helped by their efforts. The greatest part is seeing the growth and success of each person involved and the joy that brings to others.”

“I’ve seen our artists grow and collaborate, try things they hadn’t before, or “leap” headfirst in a new direction. I love to see the support and the resulting success of this community of people who do what they love while helping others too.”

Their members commit to being positive and proactive in the community while positively representing them, even outside of their events. They sincerely care about each other and the people who make up their local area too.

“My life, since I started “living my gift” has been full of more beauty than ever,” Ms. Dunn said. “There are things I personally have tried and accomplished that I would have never attempted before. At the beginning, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. We had a direction, made adjustments, set additional courses of action based on necessity and desire to try new things.

“I can’t really say I would have changed a thing. The experience of learning-as-we-go has really helped unify our members. Some people have been along for the whole bumpy ride and brainstormed and created what we are today! We’re like family. We’d welcome those who took a break to rediscover how far we’ve come.”

The advice she’d give to others who are interested in starting their own business is, “Do what you love. Maybe try the impossible-to-explain thing that is in your heart! LIVE your GIFT!” Her goal for the future is to eventually, with a lot of help, expand to other areas. “We’ll proceed slowly and with a great sense of purpose while keeping our mission at the forefront.”

Owner (s):   Loretta M. Dunn, President/Founder
Website Address:
Phone Number:  (757) 574-7460
Email address:
Street address:  (Mailing and legal address) 204 South Newtown Road, VA Beach, VA 23462

Vertical Vibe Gallery (guests of Vertical Real Estate)
1703 Mediterranean Avenue, Virginia Beach
Pembroke Mall – host at two of their larger events per year
4554 Virginia Beach Boulevard, Virginia Beach

Other Locations are in their future! They look forward to partnering with more LOCAL businesses and nonprofits

Written by Kylie Ross Sibert