Leading up to the highly anticipated Refashion Vancouver event, we had a chance to catch up with Victoria, the event's founder and female entrepreneur extraordinaire. In between finalizing vendors, marketing and those last minute event details, Victoria was kind enough to share her story and advice with YWiB and for other budding female entrepreneurs.
the path your career has taken hasn’t necessarily been linear – you tried a variety of different roles and industries, and ultimately wound up working for yourself. what would you say was the biggest challenge you overcame, and how did you do it?
The biggest challenge was realizing that I didn’t have to follow the conventional path of working for someone else if it didn’t make me feel happy or fulfilled. I tried working in different industries and in different-sized companies hoping that I’d eventually find a job that I loved– I wanted to be excited from the beginning of my day to the end of it. But no matter what I tried or where I went, that happiness and sense of pride in my work was never 100%, and I didn’t like feeling trapped in a cubicle. It took a me a long time to realize that you can do what you love and what makes you happy for a living. I thought I had to work the standard 9-5 – but when I realized that the only person imposing that rule on myself was me, it became easier to recognize that it was just something that was keeping me from taking a leap of faith and following my dreams. Whenever I have a mini crisis of faith about whether or not I’m doing the right thing by trying to take everything I love and monetizing it, I look at other entrepreneurs for inspiration. There are so many amazing entrepreneurs who have paved the road that I’m currently walking down.
besides running your own company, you’re also ____- (fill in the blank w/ your other activities). how do you find balance between all the balls you juggle?
a rock climber, a book-reader, a sunny-day-admirer, a photographer, a lover of cooking, a sci-fi nerd and so much more. I’m not going to lie: it’s hard. Very hard. When you’re doing what you love, it’s difficult to make yourself stop, even for a moment, because you’re so excited by the work you’re enveloped in... it doesn’t even feel like work. But I recognize that I need to make time for the other things I enjoy that aren’t work-related, so I make myself take self-imposed breaks. I absolutely will always make time to cook dinner – I love finding new recipes (thank goodness for Pinterest!) and trying them out de-stresses me. When the weather is beautiful I will bump my schedule down by a couple of hours so that I can enjoy the sunshine. It mean’s I’ll be working in the evening as the trade off, but the sheer fact that I can do that makes me so happy. I love that I can choose when and where I work, and I don’t have to ask permission to go out on a sunny day and have a coffee.
what do you find the most challenging & most rewarding about being a young female entrepreneur?
The most challenging is finding a way to turn what you love into a thriving business. You can read a ton of books to save you from making some common mistakes along the way, but sooner or later you’re going to face set backs that make you question what you’re doing, and whether or not you should be doing it. The most rewarding is the other side of that coin – being able to take a passion and make your living from it is an incredible thing. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling I get when someone purchases something from me – they’re putting their trust and faith in your product, when there were literally a million other ones they could have chosen.
why do you think YWiB and the YWiB philosophy is important for young women in the community?
I think YWiB offers something absolutely essential to young women entrepreneurs, and it’s something most women probably don’t realise they’re missing until they stop and think about it – a sense of community.When you’re an entrepreneur it’s easy to become a bit of a hermit – getting so wrapped up in your business that you forget that there are other people who can help you through the challenges. Friends are fantastic, but if they aren’t entrepreneurs themselves they likely won’t understand the things that you consider to be major victories and major set backs. Having a supportive community that regularly offers you the chance to learn from successful women makes a huge difference in the mindset you have when tackling problems. Being around a ton of creative women helps foster your own creativity when you might be facing a challenge that you haven’t quite figured out how to overcome.
Refashion Vancouver takes place THIS SATURDAY (April 20) at Yaletown Roundhouse. Thanks so much to Victoria for her insight and we wish her all the luck in the world, even thought we know she won't need it. ;)
If you're interested in helping out, YWiB's Ladies in Pink Volunteer Group will be onsight lending a hand. Email Harveen@ywib.ca for more information. See you there!