Valentina Voight, 23, couldn’t have picked a worse time to open her online women’s fashion business.
Voight by Valentina was scheduled to launch a bikini line a week after the world shutdown because of COVID-19.
Like many business owners, Voight became concerned as she saw stores closing and thought it was over.
“How am I supposed to sell bikinis to people who aren’t even going to be outside?” she said she thought to herself, “we’re not going to wear them.”
After delaying her bikini line launch for a month, she decided to go ahead anyway.
The collection sold out in one day.
“My business exploded during COVID,” said Voight.
Now Voight by Valentina is a dream come true.
Voight is from Cali, Colombia., and came to the United States when she was 10. She attended a vocational high school in New Jersey and studied fashion design.
Instead of pursuing that after graduating, she decided to major in management information systems at the University of Tampa.
She dropped out after two years because it wasn’t fulfilling her creative needs. But Voight doesn’t regret those years in college. By taking business, art, coding and communication classes, she prepared herself for business.
Voight started with $500 while working as a waitress at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort in Aventura and at a high school.
As Voight was investing in her company, she remembered what a professor said about handling expenses.
“Businesses go bankrupt in their first year because they decided to live off it in the first year.”
It’s been around for a year and a half now and the brand has reached new heights.
She has expanded into sweaters, shorts, jewelry accessories and lingerie.
But the pandemic has also had negative effects on her family.
“My mom lost both of her jobs, my family in Colombia was struggling, and so was my family here,” said Voight.
Voight said she has felt guilty releasing her new products, but knew that she had to continue working. “It’s bittersweet.”