Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shanté Renee Roline, Founder of Vanity Couture, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Vanity Couture is an affordable luxury women's brand that embodies glamour and femininity with a touch of sass. We initially started off with a collection of swimwear in 2017 that was inspired by Marilyn Monroe and then gradually introduced loungewear, essentials, and dresses. The type of women we attract are those who are confident in their skin, care about their appearance, and love to stand out. One of the greatest joys about being a woman is the opportunity to dress up, look fabulous, and own being one of gods greatest works of art, authentically and individually beautiful in our very own way.
Tell us about yourself
I have always had a deep love for fashion stemming back from my childhood years. One of my favourite things to do was play dress-up in my mother's clothing with my little sister and have our own runways shows. Fast forward many years later, I took garment construction and pattern design and learned how to design clothing professionally. I would wear looks that I made at school out to events and would always be approached about where my outfit was from and how it could be purchased. I felt so proud and liberated that others could connect with my personal style and wanted to have it be a part of their lives as well. I had no doubt in my mind that Vanity Couture needed to be a real thing. To be honest, the biggest motivation for me when it comes to my brand is my customers. Every time I get a rave review, a compliment on a style, or I see a woman looking like a total knockout in one of my styles, I get a natural high. It brings me so much joy that I glow from the inside out. I love helping women look and feel empowered through fashion.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am so grateful that I have been able to take part in fashion shows, including Miami Swim Week, and create a collection with well-known celebrities/socialites, but I would have to say the biggest accomplishment so far has been to grow my business to a point where I know I will be able to live life by my own rules by spending my days enjoying my greatest passion. To me, that is true success.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I would have to say one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is working through the rollercoasters of ups and downs and separating your emotions from it. You definitely need to have an endless amount of faith in what you do and patience. Things don't just happen overnight but over time with consistency and hard work.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I would say my top three tips for any new entrepreneur is to:
- Find a mentor - Mentorship is one of the most supportive and influential things you can have when entering the business world. One of my mentors has given me the best level-headed advice and helped me to see things from a different point of view that I would not have thought about on my own. They share their knowledge and wisdom from life experiences with you. This can be especially helpful if you are a person like myself who didn't have access to parental guidance in many aspects of my life.
- Choose a niche or product that you are passionate about and are proud to represent. When you truly love something, it radiates from you, and your potential partners and customers can feel that.
- Trust yourself. Do not listen to others who may not believe in your dream and try to steer you off your path. I had a brief experience with a partner that completely tried to change my whole style and idea for the brand. This actually made me shut down for a while. I felt so uninspired, unmotivated, and frazzled because it just simply wasn't me anymore. The second we parted ways and I got back to doing what I thought would be great for the brand, things turned around tenfold, and we actually started selling more.
- Research, research, research... Research!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We are actually super excited to share that we have opened another sector of our company that is dedicated to helping others start their own fashion lines and providing design and supply chain services. This sector is called WHT Label and handles everything from initial branding, fabric sourcing, and style development to labeling, packaging and shipping out finished products. WHT label is launching this September. I'm looking very forward to sharing my knowledge with others and helping them achieve their dream of owning their very own fashion brand.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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