Starting & Building a Brand as a Brown Girl

I started my brand, Valencia Vanna in the year of 2018 within the beauty and fashion industry. At the time of me starting my brand, I was 22 years old looking for my breakthrough....

image source: @valenciavanna_

If I am being honest, there were a couple reasons for why I started my brand, one of them being huge financial difficulty. As a Punjabi girl, living with my brother and single mother, finances were often tight. I remember times whereby my mum struggled to put food on the table as she barely had enough money to cover the bills so we had a roof over our head.

The other reason was that I found it difficult then and I still do, to find quality women’s everyday/loungewear that is simple but comfortable to lounge in or run a quick errand in but still look cute whilst doing so.

image source: @valenciavanna_

To start the brand it was really long, hard and extremely tiring at times. I had many sleepless nights and exhausting days worrying about if my brand would take off and be a success, as I put all of my savings at the time into building my dream brand.

The day I received my logo as a finalised copy, I was overjoyed. That day, I remember clearly continuing to refresh my emails waiting for the logos to come through. When I opened the documents it felt so surreal, like everything I had wished for was coming to life... Little did I know how much more difficult the brand building process was going to get.

I had my logo, my first tracksuit stocked along with the staple black t-shirts, so I started my Instagram page (@valenciavanna_) and launched my website. The next step for me was to start promoting my brand and for this I used my personal Instagram, business Instagram and my personal Facebook account.

During the very early days of promoting my brand I noticed I received little to no support from those I considered my friends which was already really disheartening but the worst was yet to come. I used this beauty Facebook page to link in my Instagram page and give some background to my brand, of course at the time it was more about getting as much traffic to my Instagram to increase likes and follows. The mistake I feel I made was using my own personal social media platforms to promote my brand. I received massive backlash following my Facebook post on the beauty page, negativity regarding my brand and myself. The comments I received were damaging and honestly very hurtful.

As a young entrepreneur I was looking for support, especially reassurance within the field. It damaged my confidence which was already pretty low at the time, due to there not being many Punjabi girls in the clothing manufacturing business for me to look up to/aspire to. My belief in my brand and myself was also knocked as at the time I was the face behind Valencia Vanna and as a result made me feel that I should detach my name, my face and my ethnicity from the brand I am building as I believed that it would be easier to post and not receive hurtful comments.


                   Valencia Vanna      Valencia Vanna

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My experience was and is a shame, I feel saddened that in the 21st Century some people can be so offensive and careless. However, following this experience I do believe I have learnt a lot and the main lesson learnt is I can’t change how people react to me but I can change how I react and how that affects me. long as I believe in myself I will be fine and I will be successful. So if you take anything away from reading this today, it would be just believe in yourself even when/if no one else does. You can succeed in anything you put your mind to. You are strong, you are capable and more importantly you are loved no matter what.

Valencia Vanna

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I am thankful to my mum and my fiancé who continue to support me by being my shoulders to cry on and always provide me with constant reassurance.

If I were to give you any advice it would be to go for it, we often become our own worst enemy and let's be real...there is enough room for us all to make it! So just go for it, whatever it is you chose to do! Finally, I would like to add where I am currently and how I feel now, I believe my brand is in a good place given the rocky and difficult start I had. Valencia Vanna is still growing and I will continue to be consistent with it as that is the key to accomplishing my goals. I only hope that one day my brand has my name and my face attached to it, as I would love to be a role model for young Punjabi girls dreaming of owning their own brand. I also hope, one day you will be able to know more about me on a more personable level once I feel confident to attach my name and face to the brand.

 "I have learnt a lot and the main lesson learnt is I can’t change how people react to me but I can change how I react"

But for now I am a Punjabi 24 year old girl setting out to bring women’s loungewear/everyday wear that is comfortable, simple and not compromising on the quality. We are passionate about sustainability and ensuring we can give back/do our part. So we recently started an initiative whereby for each product sold we will donate money to planting trees. We are a small business trying to protect the environment through initiatives outlined above and priding ourselves in being a slow fashion brand. Please like, follow and support.

Love to you always,

The girl behind Valencia Vanna x

P.S: if you are reading this and feel alone or have any further questions or
queries regarding business or anything else, I am happy and more
than willing to provide a listening ear. Pop me a message and I will be sure to get back to you.

Instagram handle: @valenciavanna_