We had the good fortune of connecting with Valeria Amaral and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Valeria, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I graduated college I knew that I wanted to start my own business. As soon as a graduated with my BA in Fashion Design I went ahead and opened my own online clothing brand – Valeria Amaral. I also knew that since I no longer was going to be attending school I needed to stay connected to everyone in the industry I met in my years at Miami International University of Art & Design. At this time blogging was starting to take off and I decided to also start a blog related to all things fashion as my own way to stay connected to my industry. Little did I know this too would soon become a business, so I decided to open a second business! I never for a second thought this was crazy or too much, I was so excited to do what I loved that I was ready to take on the world!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Both my brands have grown and struggled in different ways. Valeria Amaral my clothing brand has definitely had seasons, great seasons of success and very slow seasons. The biggest challenges I have had with my clothing brand was how to expand and grow. When I first started I was designing, sewing, marketing, selling and doing all the logistics and this worked well for some time until I sold out of all my pieces and I had to start all over. What was happening was I was spending too much time creating a new collection. By the time I was marketing the product and trying to sell it I had lost the momentum of sales. I had to start all over. It felt like after a few years I kept climbing up the same hill and battle. I quickly realized that I was going to need to manufacture my clothes. This in itself was another challenge. As I wanted to make everything in the US but I also didn’t have a lot of cash flow to meet minimums. When I found manufactures that would work with me their work was not up to my expectations. I found myself having to do it all myself once again. Then the pandemic hit… and that in it self was a whole other challenge. The key for me has been to just never stop. Even though somedays it feels like there is no change I know that my efforts won’t be in vain. What keeps me hopeful is the growth I have seen with my blog! When I started my blog it was to keep connected to my industry colleagues and friends. This started to become an amazing community and it was so easy for me because I was sharing things I truly love with others. I was already doing this with friends and family, why not tell the world. Soon brands started to see what I was doing and started sending me product and then I began to get paid partnerships. Even though the world of blogging and influencers is now huge it has not stopped me from continuing to work with brands and creating content for them. Seeing my blog- Chic by V continue to grow even though I don’t have hundred of thousands followers has been amazing! The hardest thing with growing my blog and my instagram account has been finding the time to create more content. Even though I have had to take pauses and breaks from it I have never stopped. If you never stop you will reach the success you seek.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love my city! Miami is so beautiful and full of amazing fun things to do and see and eat! If my friend was visiting for the first time for a week I would make sure we did all the best things Miami has to offer. For sure going to Miami Beach would be a must! While at the beach I would make sure we go jet skiing and go on a boat. I would definitely recommend she stay at the 1 hotel or the Fountianblue. I would make time to go shopping for sure, in Bal Harbour, Brickell City Center, Dadeland and the Falls. I would also take her to 8 street to eat at Versailles and cafe a colada. If we weren’t in a pandemic I would also take her dancing to Ball & Chain, the best salsa club in Miami! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My journey has been a very long one and still has a long way to go. I feel that there are SO many people who have encouraged me and believed in me to be where I am today. The first person who deserves a huge recognition is my mother, Fanny Farfan! She has always raised me to believe that I am capable to do anything and everything I can think of or desire. In the moments I ever doubted myself or became complacent she always encouraged me to do better and to be better. She has always been tough on be in the most loving and encouraging way. I was a fearless child and now a confident adult because of her. In my career in the fashion industry I have a lot of people to thank, but I have to first thank my first boss Melinda Scherer. She was the mom of one of my close childhood friends and she believed in me at a very young age to help her take on the fashion industry. I worked alongside her for Tommy Bahama and I got to travel and learn so much. She really mentored me and took me under her wing and taught me so much about the business side of the industry. I always knew I had a passion for fashion and that I wanted to be a designer but after 2 years of working with her I knew I had to just go for it. I quit my job and went on to study for my BA in fashion design. I couldn’t afford not to work but I could not be traveling constantly while I was in school so I decided to get into retail. This was another amazing journey of learning another side of the fashion industry. I was truly blessed by having some amazing bosses who taught me so much and gave me so much room to grow. In a short amount of time I was managing stores in my early 20s. While I was working full time in retail I was also going to school full time. This was definitely difficult but I had some amazing teachers who really recognized my efforts and my determination. They encouraged me and told me I would be successful because of my work ethic. These are words I held on to every time I have found myself exhausted in my career and wanting to give up, or quit. Success is definitely not achieved by just one person. I may be the only employee in both my businesses but I don’t believe in being self-made. I am where I am today because all of these amazing people God has placed in my life throughout all of my years!