Stephanie Voltaire is the dynamic entrepreneur behind the fashion brand V-Lure Designs. The fearless business woman has built a venture around startlingly original designs. There’s the LaJoie Makeup bag for the high-maintenance sis, the Eggplant Clutch that’s purple like the vegetable and is perfect for a casual day out. and there’s the Coconut Clutch for the fashionable island girl. Let’s get the story behind the brand!
Kreyolicious: How did you come to be interested in fashion?
As a young girl, I grew up [with] a mother who knew how to sew and worked as a seamstress at times. Every time she sewed, I watched and assisted her in her work. Over time, I learned how to sew from helping and watching my mom. Fast-forward to approximately eighteen years later, while in graduate school, my roommate had a sewing machine, and out of boredom, I decided to bring back my skills and decided to make a clutch. I made two clutches which I was very proud of and excited about. Out of excitement, I sent photos of the bags to my friends and family. I received great comments and feedback such as, “Girl! Where did you get this from?” And, “Get me one.” “This bag is hot”, and so on. After a few weeks of being happy with my clutches that I made, I decided to take a leap of faith and turned my hobby into a business and that is how V-Lure Designs was birthed. V-Lure Designed by Voltaire is a Boston-based line of fashionable handbags.
Kreyolicious: I like the name V-Lure. Where did it stem from…?
Thank you! It took me a while to get used to the name, but I love it now. The “V”, is for my last name Voltaire. “Lure” comes from the word “Allure” meaning “the quality of being powerfully and mysteriously attractive or fascinating”. Our idea is that when you wear V-Lure Designs by Voltaire bags, you are attracting eyes to you. Our bags are unique, handmade, and serve a purpose. When our customers wear our bags, it’s usually a conversation-starter.
Kreyolicious: As a creative, do you find it a challenge to handle the business side of creativity?
Absolutely! I don’t have a business degree or a business background. My mind is solely set on the creativity as opposed to the business side of things. When I first started my business I looked at it as a hobby, however, overtime I realized that it was growing as a real business and that I needed to improve the business aspects of things. I have done a lot of research and I definitely use my resources to assist in this aspect. I am still learning the business aspects of things.
Kreyolicious: During your journey as an entrepreneur, did you ever think of giving up? Sometimes when you’re at the beginning of your journey, and you just don’t see how things are going to play out…this might give way to doubt, and just plain wanting to give up. Did you endure such times and how did you handle them?
Man! I’ve had many of those moments…so many that I can’t even count. When you start a new business especially in this industry of small businesses and entrepreneurship you are up for a challenge! When you are introducing something new that people are not used to, it’s hard. Most people rather support “big” designers as opposed to their local small businesses. Everyone’s taste is different. For example, with my bags I may create a bag that a few friends and I think is going to be a top-seller, but when I post it on social media and the website I don’t get the response that I am looking for. During those times I’ve thought of quitting. There have been times where I didn’t receive any sales for a few months, and I started to panic and wanted to quit. Every time I started to get this feeling of “quitting”, I [would] get an order, or a request for a custom order and that changed my entire mind. So at the end of the day, I am grateful to my customers for their support. These orders and requests in times of despair is confirmation that I need to keep going.
Kreyolicious: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a fashion entrepreneur?
My advice would be to go for it. If this is what you want to do, don’t doubt yourself. Take the leap of faith. However, I would advise that they do their research, write a business plan, set clear and smart goals and objectives for the business…long and short-term business goals. This will help you to stay on track with your plans. If you can’t start big, start small, and level up! Keep God first, and everything else will fall into place. I would also advise that they network with fellow entrepreneurs in their area.
This concludes PART I of the interview with Stephanie Voltaire of V-Lure Designs. Watch for Part II. Meanwhile…
CLICK HERE to visit V-Lure Designs and purchase Stephanie’s beautiful designs.