Vanessa is a spirited entrepreneur who inspires women on life, biz, motherhood and everything in between.
When did you fall in love with entrepreneurship?
Thinking about this question took me back to when I was in the 3rd. grade. As a creative person having the skills to write, draw and paint well from an early age I remember selling “art work” to my classmates for 10 cents a pop.
I would get mobbed during recess with kids asking me to write and draw out their names on a poster board. I figured why not sell them for extra lunch money. I was raking in 2-3 dollars a week doing something I absolutely LOVED to do. That was golden!
How do you define a successful brand?
A successful brand understands and represents it’s market’s lifestyle. It is undeniably connected on a personal level to its consumer because it serves them and it serves them well. A successful brand seeks collaboration because it knows it inherently creates brand loyalty. I love and help build brands that mimic human behavior and cater to a socially conscious lifestyle.
As an entrepreneur, knowing the road that is paved through this journey, I make it a point to support brands that think socially. It’s a beautiful and vast world because more and more people are boarding the entrepreneurial train. Those people also get behind brands that serve them in the same way and they bring their family and friends who also do the same. It comes full circle.
What does a typical day for you look like?
I can’t say that I have typical days. I think that that is one of the beautiful aspects of entrepreneurship, you get to design how your day, week, month…what your life looks like. However, I do have a loose structure in place but ready for last minute changes in plans.
In my industry and while managing a home with small children, it happens more than you would like. So you have to be resilient, adaptable and very much a forward thinker and team player. Entrepreneurship brings change on a daily basis and you either run with them or they run you.
How long have you been an entrepreneur?
Since I was 8 years old 🙂
If you weren’t with your current brand what would your occupation be?
What it was before I fully committed to entrepreneurship, I’d be teaching English Literature.
How did you take your leap of faith into solopreneurship? What has the journey been like?
The leap of faith came while dealing with postpartum depression back in 2009. I had begun making jewelry while he napped as a way to task-switch from diaper changing or cleaning. I knew I wanted to do something to change the way my life looked like at that moment, but I didn’t know exactly what.
One day while out getting my nails done, a woman approached me and just gushed over the earrings I was wearing. When she asked where did you get them? A light bulb went off and I asked myself, “I am making it, why am I not selling this?” It was a done deal from there on and it’s been one hell of a ride!
The journey has taken me to places and to meet people I only dreamed of. I should’ve started sooner.
In 10 years, what do you envision your life (work and personal) to look like?
I look to the future but do not dwell there for too long as I live for today. I am currently living things I envisioned in my life 10-20 years ago and my hope is that I am able to continue to do what I am doing on a global scale. My big (secret) dream is to own an entrepreneurship academy back in my homeland the Dominican Republic.
What is the most important lesson you’ve had to learn as a solopreneur that made you a better person?
At the end of the day, old school antics about integrity are not old school antics. Do what you say you are going to do. (If I can curse…I’d say this…Don’t be an a$$h*l#!)
What has been your biggest challenge in life and work?
Overcoming the “Am I good enough?” spiel we’ve all been fed at some point in our lives. But I have to be honest, I’ve accepted it with loads of humility and gratitude. I think that because I am willing to be so open and honest about my insecurities is what has always drawn people to seek my advice or work with me. I’ve accepted who I am and have only strived to be and do and give better. I help and support women get there too.
How do you overcome, or try to overcome these challenges?
It’s a cliche but so true: there is no better way than by surrounding yourself with people who are also on the same journey in their own lives and business. They get it and they help you get out of your own head which is what keeps us from taking risks.
What has been your most prized accomplishment?
Becoming a mother. With the birth of my first son also came the birth of my first ‘official’ business. I could not have asked for a more beautiful and blessed life.
What is your most favorite quote?
“Everything happens for a reason.”
I have repeated this mantra since I was a kid not knowing the truth and power it holds for me to this day.
What is your personal style like?
I like fabulous, unique things coupled with the right amount of boldness and class. I invest in pieces that will uphold with time: accesories. They make a pair of jeans and a $5 tshirt look like a million bucks. I’d say I am a subtle hypster (if that is even a term).
If you could go back to your 9 year old self, what would you tell her?
I’d say the same things I told my 16 year old self in your Imperfect Blogging Challenge:
First of all, you need to stop, breathe and listen. You are not as alone as you feel and more people than you think are worried about what you’re going through. Your mom specially really wants to talk to you. She just can’t seem to find the right words sometimes. Know that she is always here for you, no matter what.
You are not worthless, nothing God creates is. Your pain will become light to help others shine. Take care of yourself and get more sleep!
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change a thing.