“Loungewear for the girls that like to daydream, drink too much coffee, and think champagne is always a good idea.”
I am starting this post off by expressing how thankful I am to be given the opportunity to interview so many amazing individuals who have started their businesses from the ground up. Entrepreneurship is one of my favorite topics to speak on and write about. I love hearing different stories behind each individual’s brand I interview and the amazing advice each and every one of them provides. With that being said, I spoke with entrepreneur Valentina Quiroga of ValDesigns a few weeks ago. ValDesigns is an online lifestyle clothing brand that carries mostly loungewear.
Quiroga’s online company started around five years ago as the online shopping world began to expand. Quiroga’s dad encouraged her to start her own company. She said her dad” was the one who really pushed me to branch out into this since I have always had a love for fashion and my parents had the manufacturing side of the business.”
Quiroga began selling parody designer shirts and other products on Etsy and eBay. “The first item I made sold out in 24 hours while I was on a flight to London. That was the best surprise to land to,” she said.
Quiroga was born in Medellin, Colombia and moved to Miami, Florida when she was five. She is now 22 and has graduated with a master’s degree in marketing from Florida International University.
Quiroga and I talked even further. She shared strategies that have helped shaped her business and some of her favorite items at Val Designs.
Jarquita Brown: Tell me about your products at ValDesigns. I see you carry merchandise for men, women, babies and pets, which I love. What made you want to lean towards selling loungewear to a wider audience?
Valentina Quiroga: Loungewear is such a big thing right now. People literally live in loungewear now, even at work, that expanding to other markets just seemed right. All my products are made to order, and I only use the best materials. I do not believe in settling for less.
JB: What are some ways you go about branding yourself and what are some strategies that have helped you grow your business?
VQ: Branding myself, I always dress pretty nicely, well what I would consider nice, and I enjoy taking pictures and posting them on Instagram. For ValDesigns, I like to brand it as your everyday loungewear that can be dressed up with nice jeans and heels or a pair of yoga pants and nice fashionable sneakers. I think my Instagram captures the essence of the versatility of my products with either my items being modeled at home on the couch or out in the street in a denim skirt.
JB: And exactly at what point did you begin to realize the growth of your business?
VQ: I began to see the growth of my business back in 2015. I had just graduated high school, and I started using Etsy more and just decided to run with this idea. Like before that I had items, but the effort was not there. Once I graduated and had more time I just came up with more hats and bam, it grew like crazy literally, overnight. OK, maybe two days, but it was so fast I was in shock.
JB: Two days? That’s amazing. I know for many, it could take months, maybe even a year for their business to start booming. Since your business began to grow within a week, what are some habits that make you more productive as a business owner? Can you give a few tips or some advice to those who are trying to grow their business?
VQ: Habits, umm, writing down tasks. This has to be the best thing to being productive. Literally, I love my agenda and would not be able to live without it. Tips. Don’t give up. Honestly, that might sound crazy cliché, but it gets so hard at times that you just have to constantly remind yourself to keep going. The more you persist, the more you’re going to get out of it at the end. You just have to follow your gut.
JB: What are some of your favorite items at ValDesigns and which designs do you have that usually sell out the fastest?
VQ: I love my “Eye C U” hoodie with the triangle cut in the middle, which I am actually wearing it right now. I love my new “Girlboss” and “Keep The Snakes Away” shirts. Since everything is made to order I do not sell out since I do not keep inventory. When something just seems to have passed its life expectancy and does not get traffic anymore or just goes out of trend, I disable it from my website.
JB: So, what inspired you or inspires you now to continue moving forward?
VQ: The future inspires me. Is that weird to say? Knowing how far I can go and seeing the potential in my business really makes me work harder or continue to work through those hard days every day. When good things happen, I take that as a sign to keep going and just doing what I’m doing. So the future inspires me, my parents inspire me, my boyfriend inspires me, the people around me who believe in me when I slack inspire me.
JB: Last question, since loungewear is what you mostly sell, what is one trend that excites you now?
VQ: Athleisure wear. I love Lululemon and could live in nice sneakers, a pair of yoga pants, and a cool t-shirt for the rest of my life.