Small Business Spotlight on Moda by Pasarela
Company: Moda By Pasarela
Executive: Viviana Valdes, Owner
About Moda by Pasarela and “Moda-Girl” Vivi.
Our mission is to provide you with an exclusive selection of handpicked goods such as shoes, accessories, and the latest clothing trends. We also have a wide variety of gifts and home decor!
Tell us why you do, what you do, for a living.
My first job was at a retail clothing store. Since day one at my first job, I felt I was meant to be there. I realized that merchandising was one of my passions. I loved and wanted to create collections depending on the season. My first job ended up being my passion and now it’s my career. Helping clients with their choices and giving them advice came easy to me.
I met my husband, who also happened to be in the retail apparel business while working as a store manager and buyer for 4 years. In 2008, we decided to open our own clothing store. Since the opening of our store, we have been working together and doing what we love the most – offering our clients the most exclusive designs and home decor collections.
Tell us about the factors that shaped your career and business aspirations.
My father has always told me that I am a very strong woman and that nothing in life is free. If you really want to achieve something, you have to work for it. My mother, her love, and advice give me the strength to understand things that we don’t understand. She taught me how to love my self in order to love others. She also taught me how to make myself a priority but always without hurting others.
I have a huge love for fashion and a creative side thanks to my mother. She wanted to be a fashion designer. She attended fashion school and held a fashion show with her own creations. I was and am still amazed by her creativity. She would make our dresses…for my younger sister and me. All of the Christmas ornaments at my childhood home were made by her as well. She is one of the most creative people I know. My husband, my soulmate, he helped me to shape my aspirations to be a business owner.
What is a typical day or week in your everyday professional life?
In the fashion industry, we always have to think a season ahead. So basically, what I do every day besides working at my boutique is place orders and create the next season’s exclusive collection. I think about colors, the fit, trends, fabrics, accessories, etc. Right now, because of COVID-19, we were forced to close the store to enforce social distancing. However, we are still taking online orders. It feels weird to work from home because I’m used to providing very personalized customer service.
Share how you balance your work-life challenges. What have been the rewards?
It took me a long time to understand that we are going to have challenges every day. It would be boring not to have any challenges. We just need to learn how to live with them and accept them. I believe they come our way for a reason. The best reward for me is to earn my clients’ trust. I would be nothing without them. They reciprocate love and it is priceless.
Please share your personal and cultural background.
I was born and raised in Colombia. I migrated with my dad from Colombia in 2004 at the age of 20 Two years later, my dad decided to return to Colombia and I decided to stay to pursue my dreams.
What is a typical day or week in your everyday personal life?
The first thing I do in the morning is to thank God for another day. I then enjoy my morning coffee. I am currently working from home because of social distancing orders arising from the COVID-19 virus. This allows me to spend a lot of time with my husband and my fur babies. I am taking advantage of this time at home to build a website for our business.
Did your ethnicity create any obstacles for you?
Not at all, I think the work a person does and their abilities goes beyond your ethnicity. I think that in general, most if not all, the Latinas like to look good all the time, so it is kind of an advantage to have my business in Miami, where we have so much diversity of Latin cultures.
What advice would you have for other Latinos in the business sector trying to make it day after day?
To never give up, never stop trying, never stop learning, and to be patient.
What inspires you in your work life?
The happiness on my clients’ faces every time they see a new collection. I love to make them feel good and happy. They are my inspiration. When I do the buying, I always think about them in a very personalized way. It is how I make our clothing collections more exclusive.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Save money, invest wisely. We all age quicker than we’d like to believe. Today will quickly turn into tomorrow.
Do you think you have ever truly “made it” in life?
No, I feel that it is a long journey. I am very blessed to work in the industry that I love. But it takes time to get to the level I want to be…there is always room to grow.
If you could have dinner with any Latinx person – living or dead – who would it be? Why?
Silvia Tcherassi, Colombian fashion designer, and Edgardo Osorio, Colombian luxury footwear designer. I love the way they both use colors in their collections, I would love to know what inspired them.
What is your favorite quote/saying?
Make yourself a priority.
We would love to have the readers visit the town of Miami Lakes in Florida, Come to the shops on Main Street. It is a beautiful place where you can find places to eat, shop, etc. Please stay safe and we hope to see you soon!