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  • Q&A: ANNA VICTORIA


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    i'm extremely excited today to be kicking off a new series of interviews with young entrepreneurs working in a wide range of industries. starting and running your own business is hugely challenging, and some of the people i've learned the most from during my own entrepreneurial journey are other entrepreneurs.
     
    there is no one on the planet who i'd rather have help me kick off this series than my own sister, anna, designer behind the Anna Victoria clothing line. anna started her business before i launched mine, and so she's been a great source for me whenever I have questions about things she's already done or experienced. I've learned a ton from her, and we've been able to work together on some projects - photoshoots, in particular - which is always a lot of fun.
     
    read on to learn more about anna and her experiences with Anna Victoria, then head over to her site to shop for lust-worthy dresses, tops, and more!
     
    and, if you know of any entrepreneurs who you think would be a great fit for this series, have them send some information to info@emmamckinstry.com to be considered!
      

            
    tell us a little about anna victoria. how did you get started? what inspires your designs?
    i started Anna Victoria in 2012, after graduating from college. thankfully, my family was incredibly supportive of my decision to start a business. i spent the last semester of my senior year putting together a business plan, drafting out the first collection (spring 2013), and researching potential store accounts.
         
    this past year, i've started to design custom prints each season, which has been a lot of fun. i'm usually inspired by fabric and color first, and then the silhouette design will come together once i have the fabric. i've really enjoyed designing my own prints, as i'm now 100% responsible for the overall look of the line - i'm not dependent on other designers' fabric options.
     
    each piece and print is inspired by the feeling i imagine my customers will get while wearing Anna Victoria. the shapes i use are fairly classic, but each finished piece is always bold and playful, as well.
      
    what's your favorite part about being your own boss? the most challenging?
    my favorite part is being able to control my own time. starting your own business is hard work, but i like that i can set my own schedule and goals.
     
    the most challenging thing has to be balancing multiple things at different times. i am a big fan of to-do lists, but in any given day, unexpected tasks can arise and my focus for the day will be shifted to something completely unplanned. learning to multitask efficiently and to stop myself from getting overly stressed when things do pop up unexpectedly have both been so important!
     
    i know from experience that there can be quite a substantial learning curve when starting your own business. how do you learn to do things with which you have no or little prior experience? are there any websites, blogs, resources, etc. that you turn to for advice or information?
    yes - i love fashionbrainacademy.com. it is a great website with resources and support for people starting businesses in the fashion industry. jane, the creator, has had both a clothing line and a store, so she understands the design and retail sides of the business, which i find to be very helpful.
     
    aside from that, i've found that just going ahead and asking questions whenever i encounter others in this business has been a great way to learn. many of my retail buyers have been n the industry for quite a long time, so getting hear about some of their experiences has been amazingly helpful!       
        

      
    walk us through a typical day (if there is such a thing...) at the anna victoria studio.
    i typically start by waking up and checking my email and social media sites. i'll post to instagram / facebook and will then move onto my first big priority for the day. if i'm in the middle of putting together a new season, i will either spend a chunk of time editing and refining the prints to be sent out for samples, or will go through the line sheets to edit anything that isn't final yet. (i often send lookbooks and line sheets to my sisters for their feedback before finalizing a collection.) other days will be spent updating the website / online store, putting together lookbooks, or working on marketing campaigns to stores during each big buying season. no day ever looks the same, but that keeps things exciting!
      
    what advice can you share with other young or would-be entrepreneurs? is there anything specific you wish you had known before starting your business?
    surround yourself with positive, supportive people! starting your own business is really tough. it takes sacrifice, and you will work hard than you ever have before. if i'm having a rough day, the thing that pulls me through are the people around me who are rooting for my success.
     
    LIGHTENING ROUND:
    1. favorite (non-Anna Victoria) designer: rebecca taylor
    2. in ten years, Anna Victoria will...be a household name! (at least with the women...)
    3. number one song on your workday playlist: i've been listening to eminem lately. he will pump you up, but it's also inspiring to think about his success.
    4. jimmy fallon, jimmy kimmel, or stephen colbert: jimmy kimmel. (is that even a question?!)
    5. life motto: i've always liked this quote, which is greatly motivational and inspiring for entrepreneurs in competitive industries: "a successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." (david brinkley)
       
     
    shop Anna Victoria here!

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