Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Acosta.
Vanessa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I had been working in the apparel industry for over a decade under companies and locally based brands. I hit a wall after 10 years and realized I didn’t want to work under anyone anymore. I had picked up a camera and start shooting my own original designs on regular ole’ girls. That picked up and immediately garnered attention by shops and magazines and I took the plunge to go freelance at the beginning of 2017. This is my second year of being my own boss and it’s been a lot of work but I wouldn’t do anything else. I built my clothing brand and my photography business that go side and side with each other.
Women of Color know me as a fellow WOC who knows how to photograph all skin types, and the WOC community also shops my clothing as well. I cater to all women but being a Women of Color, WOC love to support their own. My inspiration is deeply rooted by my culture and it’s colorful, rich, vibrant and unapologetic. I design for all body types, offering custom fits, and in funky prints, and I find a balance to manage my clothing brand and photography business.
As this is my second year in doing this, my clothing brand is in talks with selling at several stores around the US and my photography business has built a client base of well-known brands as well.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely hasn’t been a smooth road. It’s been a bumpy, rough road but I like it that way. There are some smooth parts and because it’s so much work, the rewards that come along the way feel even more special. Being the sole person for your company is hard. You are the only one to blame if things go south.
And for now as I grow and evolve it’s a one-woman team so I juggle with a lot and the biggest struggle for me was finding that balance to let myself have some downtime. I overworked myself when I started because I was hungry for growth but I stepped back and give myself some days off now to relax.
Wasi Clothing and From A Bolivian – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I manage my own clothing brand of handmade women’s clothing. I source my materials from my ancestral land of Bolivia and bring back indigenous textiles to design clothing here in Los Angeles. Wasi Clothing is known for the matching sets I do and the use of Bolivian textiles in cute culotte pants. My most popular product is my Frida Kahlo Matching crop top set and shorts for $95.00 It’s all handmade, eco-friendly and socially conscious. I handmake everything myself. From designing the patterns, sourcing the fabric, cutting the fabric, sewing and marketing everything.
Along with my clothing business, I also manage my photography business that has a wide range of clients. From influencers to magazines to companies like Peets Coffee. I’m known as a Woman of Color who shoots other Women of Color well. I have an eye for color so people tend to gravitate towards my usage and play on bright colors and combinations. It works out for me because Photography and Fashion go hand in hand and each compliment each other. I photograph my own designs for my clothing and style it all. It’s just easier for me to be the jack of all trades when it comes to running two businesses of your own.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I used to define success with money. But now I define it with how happy you are. I worked for fashion companies and had the position my teen self always dreamed of but at the end of the day, I was not happy. Now I manage two businesses and have to hustle and work hard on my own to get the income as a one-woman team but I’m happy to do it. I’m happy to do the work because I’m doing what I love on my own terms with my name behind it.
And hard work pays off. I’ve been lucky to land some pretty great gigs and work with amazing companies and people which is also a success but a lot of hard work had to go into it for me to get these rewards. But now at the end of the day, I’m happy and that’s what I care about most.
- Frida Matching set $95.00 Fits Small to Large
- Photography session (budget friendly) package: $100
- 1hr session with edits package: $300
- Website: WASICLOTHING.COM and fromabolivianphoto.com
- Email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/fromabolivian and instagram.com/wasiclothing