Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vanesa Rodríguez Maza > http://lavidadeserendipity.com/

Vanesa Rodriguez Maza, Founder, International Magazine & La Vida de Serendipity Blog.

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
I think that in order to become an entrepreneur you need first of all, all the experience you can get. Working for other people in order to know how to be a boss, facing the market, learning how a company works from the bottom up gives you all the knowledge you will need to start your own business, experience is really important from my point of view. Then you’ll need all the will, constancy and discipline you can get, because it isn’t easy.

What did inspire you to start your business?
After working for so many years in a couple of companies in different areas, and after having a brain surgery, I decided that life was too short and that I needed to do what really made me happy (even thought I didn’t really know what that was at the time). I started a blog just to have a place to express myself, and everything slowly came out of that.

How did you finance it?
My parents helped me a lot, and at the same time I had other free lance jobs in order to maintain myself.

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
I think that because of being Hispanic and working in fashion I get influenced by the whole world (fashion magazines, blogs, runways, etc) and my struggle comes when trying to adapt what I see to the Latin American market, and of course, to what I personally like.

On the other hand, being Peruvian and the richness of our language gives me the opportunity to be as casual or as formal as I want. When it comes to my readers, I get to be really friendly using their expressions and knowing what they want, when dealing with designers, I have to be more polite and serious and I believe that Spanish is one of the languages that really allows me to do that.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
Keep going was my only chance, I never considered going back and working for others, I worked really hard to succeed.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
On one side, hiring people and having to let them go, that was really hard because I never had to do that before. On the other side, since the business was basically online and the market really new (in Peru), it was a slow beginning that required a lot of patience.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m the kind of person that thinks that everything happens for a reason, and I learn my best from every experience.

What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to be famous! Kidding apart, I would be lying if I said that I always knew what I wanted to do. I finished school and studied marketing because it sounded like a good choice and on my way I discovered that I really liked it. I loved fashion at the same time and it is just now that I get to do both things.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
I admire my dad, he is a really hard worker that managed to give to his 3 children everything he could and he still does. As well as I my mom, who runs the house in a really smart way, and trust me, running a house is whole business.

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
I prefer breakfast because I’m a morning person. I wake up really early so I like to start my business day the same way, although I also like the different aspects of a business evening, specially being on fashion where image is so important. Getting dressed for a business dinner or drinks is quite an art form on itself.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I had to stop shopping! I had to reduce my personal debts (a.k.a credit cards) while telling people what was in. It was quite an ordeal talking about trends, what to wear and not to wear while I couldn’t afford to follow those trends or take my own advice in shopping. I also had to quit most of my social life with my friends in order to stop spending money that I could later need for my business. That was in fact quite frustrating.

What is your favorite quote?
Know your body, know your closet and then go shopping.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
It was hard trying to explain what I do to most of my friends, especially when most of them work in huge companies, and have a big monthly paycheck. Most of them thought I stopped trying –especially while they noticed I stopped going out- to get work in somebody else’s company.

Biggest mistake made?
So far I wouldn’t know what to say, I’m really proud of what I have accomplished and if there were mistakes on the way, they happened for a reason.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I think that my business is innovative but I consider myself as a hard worker. I would’ve worked just as hard in any other business I would have decided to have.

About the Company
International Magazine is a small company that specializes on fashion. We develop trend reports and collections for fashion designers as well as specialized copyrighting and personal styling. But what got me to magazines like Vogue, TV shows and made me a “known person” is actually my fashion blog, "La Vida de Serendipity" and I’m planning at some point on living from it.

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