My husband and I were chatting during dinner, trying to brainstorm our very first blog post. There are so many inspiring women that I can't wait to feature, but we decided it made the most sense to kick things off with 5 quick questions pointed at me, the woman behind Voloshin. I hope my thoughts are illuminating, and help set the tone for the stories to come.
Leo:What’s important to you professionally - why?
Amy: Something that I value professionally is creative work, first and foremost. It’s what I find most fulfilling. I’m really enjoying developing the Voloshin fashion line because it’s been really interesting to have the opportunity to build the type of company that I want to be able to buy clothing from. Our line is conscious about ethical production as well as the environmental considerations when choosing printing methods. I’m happy to be supporting artisanal processes in workshops in India, including block printing and hand embroidery.
Leo:What are you most passionate about personally?
Amy: One thing I’m most happy about in my career over the last ten years has been the opportunity to intertwine what I’m passionate about personally with what I’m passionate about professionally. For me, being creative with my hands is really fulfilling. Dyeing fabric, creating fashion illustrations, drawing and painting out the next season’s patterns - those are all things that bring me a lot of joy. I’m also personally excited about being able to contribute to social causes that are meaningful to me. Earlier this year we developed our Womankind collection of feminist t-shirts around Philadelphia Fashion Week, and were able to donate a portion of our sales to Planned Parenthood. In our upcoming Fall and Resort collections, I’m looking forward to working with organizations in India that support the education of women, because I believe in supporting the communities in which we are creating our clothing. We will be having some special events to build awareness around these great causes that bring education opportunities to women in rural India.
Leo:What has been the most challenging thing about starting this fashion line?
Amy: A lot has changed since the last time I designed clothing. I used to design for Free People and Urban Outfitters, and I also had a t-shirt line in the early 2000s. That was all before the Internet and social media really took off. There’s so many different things to think about in terms of forming a brand now - especially in terms of social media presence. We’ve really had to consider which social platforms we need to prioritize as a small emerging brand.
Of course, the other most challenging aspect has been managing all the tiny pieces - the hundreds of details, thousands of emails, late night skype calls and countless other steps that go into the making of even the simplest garment.
Leo:What pieces of wisdom you learned from running Printfresh Studio are you bringing to Voloshin?
Amy: Probably the most important thing is that at Printfresh Studio I learned the importance of defining core values and beliefs, in conjunction with starting a business. From the outset of Voloshin we really set out to establish similar guiding values and beliefs with every vendor, employee and contractor that we sought to work with. Values such as Integrity, Respect, Environmental Consciousness, Perseverance, Work Ethic, Creative Drive and Success are really important to me, and really define our brand. I’m a big fan of Maya Angelou and she says “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
Leo:What’s something surprising that most people don’t know about you?
Amy: One thing many people are surprised to learn is that I’m actually really introverted and afraid of public speaking. It’s something I’ve been working on for the last few years but I still get really nervous before I go on stage whether it’s an audience of 10 people or 1000 people. I’ve practiced a lot, and try every quarter to accept a speaking opportunity to keep practicing.