The Story Behind Valia Honolulu
One question I get quite often as an entrepreneur is "What's the story behind Valia Honolulu?" I typically answer with "It's something I've always wanted to do." I guess that's the easiest way to explain it without wasting 20 minutes of someone else's precious time since downtown shoppers are typically shopping on lunch break (one of the perks of working downtown). So what is the story behind Valia Honolulu?
I thought I'd share the 20 minute answer today. From when I was 5 or 6, I was obsessed with dresses (maybe obsessed is actually an understatement). My mama (grandma) used to buy me these gorgeous dresses with layers of toile underneath; I remember begging my mom to let me wear them everyday. I actually had to negotiate with her that I'd get to wear a dress every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or some similarly odd schedule.
I was always really into fashion and was quite courageous with my fashion choices as a kid (which led to some awkward childhood photos). A yellow lace jackets with matching shorts, pleather pants and royal blue tiger striped tank tops have had a stint in the closet and were (embarrassingly) some of my favorite pieces.
At around 15, I got into shopping at little boutiques and I had one go-to shop called Chelsea. It was in the neighborhood market place in Manoa Valley. It was way out of my price range at that age but I managed to convince my mom that I absolutely needed to have a Nicole Miller knee length dress for Senior Prom. I was lucky enough to get a job at Chelsea during my freshman year of college and stayed on as a seasonal sales associate and a part time sales associate all the way past graduation.
I joined the Retail Management program at the University of Washington and majored in History with little intent to ever pursue anything in that field. After college, I spent 8 years working in retail management in Waikiki for top fashion brands like Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and MaxMara.
My sister and I started a little online business called Second Sunday Boutique which was a fun hobby for a couple of years and a great way to get my feet wet.
And then I saw I was turning that big (but no so big) 3-0 and thought, "If I don't do this now, I might never do it." So was born Valia Honolulu! Valia is my feminine interpretation of the word valiant. I wanted to encourage women to feel confident and happy in the clothing they purchase at the boutique (and maybe slightly for myself, in conquering my fears and finally taking the plunge into entrepreneurship)!