Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Rebecca Michaels, founder and designer at Violet Love, explains how this image represents her business.
Violet Love began in 2006 with an idea to create the perfect headband that was not on the market: Something cute, comfortable, functional and affordable. At the time, I was an avid runner who had a love for fashion and was making my career as an engineer. I did what most engineers do — when something can't be found or isn't to our liking, we go on to create our own version.
I sewed a few headbands myself, wore them out and about as well as for a few long runs, and I realized I had just created the exact thing I was looking for. I went on to commission a local seamstress to sew fabrics that I purchased into the headbands, met with local stores to carry my new creation, and within a few months was selling the headbands to more than 20 retail stores. I then applied for a contest with Surf Expo, who was selecting the top 10 new products of the year, and won! Making a leap of faith, I quit my job to focus all my energies on the upcoming Surf Expo show, where I would be featured among nine other new products. It proved to be the right move, and after 10 exciting years, the brand continues to grow and I still get to create it.
Violet Love has come into its own as a brand that embodies light, love and anything that makes you happy. The laid-back vibe can be seen and felt within each product category, from colorful and beautiful scarves and headbands, to witty and playful tanks and hoodies, and rounding out with the fully-functional and simple premium bandeaus. This is just a start to what I have in store for the upcoming product offering for 2017.
The above photo was taken of me while shooting the Fall 2016 collections in Venice, California. It was a candid photo that represents my business and me perfectly, because not only do I live and create in Venice, but I recently have taken over the photography for the brand within this past year. Being able to style and shoot photos for the brand has really made everything look and feel more cohesive, not to mention it's so much fun! Additionally, the way I personally was captured, in my casual beach attire, flip flops and huge, happy smile, is the way you can always find me. I love making art and am beyond stoked to get to live my dream every day. My life and the way I live it is the brand, which makes the business. It's all connected.
As an entrepreneur with no business experience or experience in the fashion/retail world, I have taught myself everything along the way. I've met business challenges like finding a good bookkeeper, relocating myself and an entire office to big-city Los Angeles from a small beach city in Maryland, finding great employees that get the brand (and me) and come with no drama, and ebbing and flowing with the ever changing tastes in fashion and new technology. It's all been and continues to be a learning experience. But that's what keeps it exciting. The engineer still exists inside of me. I love a good challenge and figuring out the solution.
Edited for brevity and clarity by Nicole Taylor.