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Meet Vanessa Valiente

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Valiente.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Vanessa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have a bachelor of arts in costume design for television, theatre, and film. I began my career as a costumer for television shows in 2006 working with up and comers like Joe Manganiello, and old school celebrities like Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild, among others. In between shows, I began styling commercials and editorials, and acquired my first private client as a personal stylist in 2007. That year, I also started my now popular fashion blog, V-Style. Interesting fact, I actually started the blog because I couldn’t afford a web designer to build a proper website.

Over the next few years, I continued to work in the entertainment industry adding numerous celebrities to my resume including Tony Hawk, Eric Dane, and Jennifer Flavin. At the same time, my clientele as a personal stylist grew substantially. I eventually reached physical capacity and decided to pull back on commercial work to focus on my private clients and fashion blog. Currently, I still work on larger projects like fashion forward editorials and the expansive San Diego Hat Co catalogue, but the main hat I wear is Personal Stylist. Today, I have over 300 clients, a two-month waitlist, and V-Style is the best blog available for well-researched shopping advice.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My first year in the television industry was relatively difficult. My education did not prepare me with any on-set protocol or etiquette, and the low budget show I started on was sink or swim. I was frequently harassed by crewmembers in higher positions, put in Sisyphean situations, and generally surrounded by unpredictable personalities. Let’s just say, I became an expert of learning on my feet, and the skills I acquired growing up with stressful family members were more useful than my costume design degree.

When I started personal styling, one of the biggest challenge was the lack of information. Ten years ago, if you Googled “personal stylist,” the results were useless. Page 1 had a UK definition of the job, a suspicious looking styling school, and one cheesy trunk club stylist before Trunk Club was a thing. Socially, personal styling was only referred to as a service for celebrities, not one for everyday people. With no information about the job available, I needed to make it all up. To my surprise, creating the personal styling process came quite naturally to me. It turns out, discovering the complexities of a character’s style is the same as discovering anybody’s style.

The real difficulty was never being able to talk openly about what I didn’t know as both a personal stylist and an entrepreneur. My clients expected me to be all-knowing from where to find the best of anything to the proper care of everything. As for running such a niche business, I didn’t know any other entrepreneurs, let alone someone else providing a personalized service. When I did discover fellow stylists, they were often cold and competitive. As a result, I had no one to turn to for advice or discussion. I didn’t even have access to general business resources. Even if I had known where to find the assistance, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it. I was very much alone.

I had to learn everything the hard way from building websites and getting press to accounting and economics. I would often sit in Barnes & Noble reading books on business, writing, fashion and blogging. I was also a regular in Apple classes and html forums.

Another struggle was having to financially assist my family throughout it all. I started giving money to my family when I was 19-years-old.

It was insanely stressful at a time when I could barely afford to take care of myself.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am a personal stylist that specializes in efficiency and the only one that offers a virtual closet. My virtual closet entails a unique, password protected URL that holds a searchable archive of all the images of outfits we have created. It is easy to communicate with my client through it, add notations, and delete garments and outfits we no longer love. My process in general is also uniquely thorough, and I am the only stylist that offers an in person complimentary consultation.

I am known for keeping my clients. From what I learned, I have the most repeat clients of any stylist. Once you enjoy the efficiency of working with me, folks don’t go back. I think I am also known for moving quickly and being a little funny.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I am very lucky that San Diego had a healthy production industry in 2006 – 2008. Today, there is next to no production in San Diego. Had there been no work in San Diego back then, I would have gone to LA and succeeded as a costume designer. With constant production in LA, I don’t believe it would have occurred to me to pursue personal styling. Even if it had occurred to me, with its steep competition and spread out geography, LA could not have provided as much success for me as a personal stylist.

Basically, I most definitely consider myself lucky to be working for myself in America’s finest city, instead of working 18-hour days for production companies in the city of traffic jams.

Pricing:

  • $150/hr on weekdays
  • $175/hr on weekends

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Robin Dayley
Peter Carney
Vincent Knakal
Pacific Plus Studios

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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