WSU Almuna Ashley Vailea fulfills her lifelong dream, opens an online clothing boutique
Vrilla Boutique is the love child of former WSU alumna Ashley Vailea’s passion for the fashion industry and For all life dreaming of owning your own business.
Vailea said she has always been loved sharing what she calls “fashion chic” – a mix of casual and elegant styles. Despite her pressure to find stable income after graduation, her dream was always in the back of her mind.
“I knew 100% that the fashion world had been waiting for me since I was little,” she said. “My mom told me I was obsessed with playing dress up with my dolls and would always get my clothes ready for the week. ”
Despite the support of his family and friends, Vailea admits that she let doubt stand in the way of Vrilla’s creation for a while.
“Even though I knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to open this boutique, I think more than anything else it was fear [that kept me from starting]”she said.” But I realized I’m almost 30, I can’t let fear get in the way of my goals. “
Vailea spent five years focusing on her full-time job before deciding to dive into the industry as many do: fashion blogging. For those interested in fashion, in the blog could be a way to build communities, gain experience and learn about the industry before committing full time.
Aafter two years of fashion blogs, Vailea finally opened Vrilla Boutique at the end of 2021.
Vailea she said her time at the WSU was instrumental in preparing her for pursue his dream. She graduated in digital technology, knowing it would help her find a reliable job that would allow her to start Vrilla.
“My degree has helped in many ways, “he said.” Especially since everyone sells on e-commerce these days. I don’t have a brick and mortar so it requires a lot of technical knowledge. If you have that technical background, it really helps you get up and running.. “
Vailea said rrunning your own business is a learning process, even with her knowledge from the technical aspects of operation an online boutique. However, her mother’s continued support and advice help address these challenges head-on.
when Vailea was deciding where she wanted to go to school, she said her mother suggested that she focus on studying for a career that might pay her bills first, then eventually she might focus his attention on his passion without worrying about money.
“I think she had an influence on my decision, but I think she wasn’t trying to control what I was doing, “he said.” She was trying to make me think, not just improvise, make a quick decision. and then regret it later. “
Vailea said one thing that sets Vrilla apart is her desire to connect with people in her physical community, a feat that might seem strange for an online boutique. It has already started to take root here at the Palouse.
“I’m looking to get more involved in the Pullman community and the Moscow community, and I have a few [pop-ups] planned for Moscow, “he said.” During the holidays, I made gift bags for some fraternities and for Neil’s Coffee and Ice Cream customers. “
His desire to build community helps Vailea to grow and learn fashion industry. She communicate regularly with many fashion blogger she met through his work. He said it is a very supportive and useful network.
“I have a group chat with a bunch of bloggers and we just share feedback, share our thoughts on certain pieces and advise each other, “he said.
Vailea’s biggest tip for anyone starting out as a fashion blogger or entrepreneur, is doing the hard work to stand out.
“I feel that if you are going to open a business, you have to do the job, “he said.” When I started my business, it would have been so nice to have all the answers in one place. I think anyone would love that. But as an entrepreneur , you have to do the job. “
If someone gave her a list of trusted suppliers or told her how to approach partnerships with other companies, it would have been an easier start. But in the end, she said shortcutS. it would have likely hurt his business.
“If you were to give all the answers to someone, they probably wouldn’t be successful because they are more than just answers, ”Vailea said. “It’s knowing the story behind your business. It is knowing why you are opening your business. It’s knowing why you want to work with those suppliers. “
Vailea prides itself on its attention to detail, whether it’s the name of its business or the suppliers it does business with. He said he tries his best to buy from American suppliers and focuses on the quality of their materials, so he can provide the best products to his customers even if they cost a little more.
Her ultimate goal with the boutique is to connect with people through fashion. She wants to help other women dress their best and stand out in everyday life. As she continues to grow, Vailea said she hopes to eventually make the boutique her full-time job while she designs every piece she sells.
Meanwhile, Vailea said she was thrilled to connect with the Pullman and Moscow communities through her clothes.
“I’m not a designer like Gucci or anything, but it took a lot of work to get here, ”she said. “[My mom] he is very proud of me. I think she is proud of how far I have come. “