Vanessa Seide did. Not exactly in that scenario, but she went for it, putting White Plains, New York on the fashion map.
Vanessa is the founder and CEO of Very Lovely Soles, a ballet flat line inspired by her love of flats, comfort and style. She felt there was a need in the market for a shoe that was made well, was affordable, comfortable and most importantly made unique by designs she herself hand-picked.
Vanessa spent fourteen years working for one of the most recognized names in footwear, and after parting ways with the company, she quickly discovered, this was her chance to make it on her own.
Very Lovely Soles borrows its initials from Vanessa herself, Vanessa Lynn Seide, a name chosen years ago when VLS was a mere dream sparkling in the creative mind of its founder.
Now that the footwear line has become a reality, Vanessa strives for perfection with every single design; she’s part of the entire process. Vanessa, as an entrepreneur wears all the hats it requires to define the term. From a design perspective, she handles it all, from the beautiful black and gold packaging, to the colors, seasonal inspiration, branding, soles, tissue paper… You name it, Vanessa has her hands in it.
Every day for her is different, which is what makes it fun and interesting. Since she’s running the entire operation, her day can consist of being in charge of sales, creating a marketing campaign for the new collection, shipping orders, social media, the list goes on and on. In her own words: “There is no average day in this business.”
Working for herself, Vanessa has the luxury to set her own schedule, answer to no one and work in the best way she knows how; however, she explains that those perks can double as a curse. It takes an enormous amount of self discipline to keep to a schedule every day and be motivated just as much as if working a regular nine to five. Some may wonder if she lacks inspiration at times, but the second she walks outside and sees the colors, and the patterns, her mind warps into quickly creating a mental design that she soon experiments with and contributes to the style of her flats.
When asked if she’s ever considered entering the highly coveted world of the heeled shoe, she is happy right where she is, enjoying her time firmly on land.
When creating the design for each pair, not only does she develop the vision of the fabric, color, and style, Vanessa looks at every shoe as a special individual that has touched her life in one way or another. When receiving a pair of Very Lovely Soles, you will get a piece of Vanessa’s world through the connection she developed with the people in her life. A special note comes with each purchase explaining the name of the shoe and why that person is important to the designer.
Growing up, Vanessa enjoyed shopping locally and getting to know boutique owners. With the ever-changing world of online shopping, where you can shop directly from your Instagram feed, she feels this is no longer something that Millennials experience anymore or even remember. Making herself prominent in each design will allow for the recipient to, in a way, even if virtually, get to know the VLS “boutique owner” and keep the familiarity of small town shopping alive online.
Vanessa has a message for all those dreaming about creating something uniquely theirs:
“Make sure you are 150% ready and you believe in what you are doing. If you have those two qualities, I truly believe everything will fall into place. That’s not to say the business will be successful, because you only have those two characteristics, but even if you weren’t able to obtain success in the venture, you will always be sure that you gave it your all. If your dream does become a reality, you can be happy to know you believed in every aspect of the journey and continue to make your magic.
Investors are always a nice thing, but if your drive doesn’t match the dollars behind the brand, you will not be able to keep up and eventually the company won’t make it. It’s your readiness to commit that counts, even on days when you just want to give up, it’s very easy to get off track.
An obstacle you will face will be the people around you. Everyone has an opinion and most often than not, they will let you in on their unsolicited thoughts. You can’t let this type of chatter get you down. Of course constructive criticism generally can be a good thing, but all you need to do is stick to YOUR path and execute YOUR plan.
For me, I’ll know I made my dream come true, when I walk down the street and see a stranger strutting along in my soles. That’s when I will know: ‘I made it in this industry!'”
2016 will bring some new avenues for VLS and flip flops is something we can all look forward to rocking come next spring! In the meantime, take advantage of 20% off for Pami + Me readers only! Use the promo code CALI20 at checkout and get started on some early holiday shopping!
To learn more about Very Lovely Soles and continue following the VLS journey, get connected!
All information, images and quotes are provided by Vanessa Seide from an interview conducted by Maria Caligiuri.