Valerie Diaz & Gelsandra Guzman of Posh Palma Styles on creating a brand that empowers women to be themselves and go after their dreams
Describe your business in a few words?
Posh Palma Styles is a Latinx lifestyle brand and community, here to welcome the free-spirited soul, who embodies pure romanticism and feels great in her own skin. We are here cultivating a space where women can just be themselves and gain confidence to go after their dreams. We are cultura, herencia y amor.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
Ever since we were young, we always dreamt of running our own business. We both grew up with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and were always motivated by the power that came from becoming the CEO’s of our lives. The need for a space for Latinas like us, that shared similar experiences and struggles, was the main reason that we decided to start this crazy fun journey. It was instilled in us to create more room for creativity and women of color and today the space is not only ours, but also part of the beautiful community we have cultivated.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
As creators, we both shared different backgrounds. Gelly Guzman, has a background in Fashion. She studied Fashion Merchandising at The Fashion Institute of Technology and has always been highly passionate about all things confidence and all things female. Valerie Diaz has a background in Marketing. She studied International Relations and Marketing at Clark University and has always been driven by the digital space and uplifting businesses digitally. As we like to say, we bring the best of the two worlds together and we are your go-to dynamic duo that is here to inspire and create.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
As it was previously mentioned, entrepreneurship has been part of our DNA. Gelly grew up with her father, who has played a tremendous role in her becoming an entrepreneur and going after her purpose. To the effect, Valerie has three order brothers who always pushed her to be an entrepreneur and live life to the fullest.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
The beauty behind the time when we were working the initial stages of Posh Palma Styles is that we had time in our homes during the middle of the pandemic to learn the ins and out of what it meant to run an online business. Our strategy was based on diversifying our content and building a strong community that not only inspired our audience but also provided great resources and top quality products. We utilized and maximized our resources by using email marketing campaigns, creative curated content, blog posts and by taking advantage of the creative features that Instagram has to offer such as IG lives, Instagram polls and so on. We are still learning and everyday we enjoy how powerful it is to connect with our Jefas digitally.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
Over the course of time we have learned so many impactful lessons from our girl, Lolita. But in all honesty, there is nothing more rewarding than doing what we love on a daily basis. Getting to know more about our client’s shopping experience and patterns has been challenging. Putting together the product and making sure that we are translating her style across our platforms has been like a roller coaster filled with ups and downs. A particular experience was when we launched our holiday collection and we encountered multiple roadblocks in particular timing. After sitting with the inventory and reflecting back, we understood that things take time and that we have to allocate the proper time when it comes to launching new products. Now we know better, but we wouldn’t have been here today without this major business lesson.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Posh Palma Styles is rooted in community, womanhood and a ton of hustle. We worked very hard to create a space where everyone is welcome, respected and protected. We take the most pride in our people. The community that supports us and that chooses to celebrate and believe in us. We are so honored to know our followers, the people that interact with us and choose to rock Posh Palma Styles.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Well… We literally launched the company in the midst of the pandemic. In full transparency, we do not know what it was like to be a business owner pre-covid. We have become accustomed to the hurdles and setbacks that COVID-19 has presented to us. But what we would say is that running a business is not an easy task, but everyday we choose to embrace it and celebrate it. We are here because we love what we do despite any obstacles that might come our way. Our love for Posh Palma Styles and our people is what keeps us going.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We have big plans!!! We are manifesting so many incredible things this year. We are being intentional about what we hope to achieve. This year we will launch our private label co-designed by our creative team and ourselves in the Dominican Republic. We also have amazing initiatives digitally. We kicked off an IG LIVE series called #Jefatalks and in the upcoming year, we are hoping to be launching our very own podcast in honor of this series. We also dream of having our very own creative studio/co-working space where we can come together with creators and makers.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
So many lessons learned! Everyday we sit back and reflect on how far we have come. One of the major lessons we have learned, that once you are an entrepreneur, you are an entrepreneur. In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you must be involved and aware of all the aspects of your company. We do not have the luxury to play games, so when we show up, we have to take up space and be informed. For instance, we both have carried the majority of our lives with a toxic relationship with money and despite the many reasons we have to not want to touch based on the finances of the company, we have the executive decision to be active with our Chief Financial Officer. To be the CEO, you have to act like one.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
If we could have a conversation with ourselves prior to launching, we would say to place a greater emphasis on the importance of integration between being strategic and humanizing your brand. Despite the many business plans in place and long strategic sessions, nothing beats having a dope soul and love for the hustle. At the end of the day, being human is crucial for building a business and oftentimes, we tend to forget. Being authentic and showing as the true you, comes with power and it has the ability to inspire people that you might not even be aware of.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
Being in tune with our intuition, bodies and people we love has been crucial. Really checking up on each other and creating spaces for the good/bad days has helped us a lot. As a team we keep each other on check. We have daily check ins and we make sure that we are motivating one another to remember our WHY.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
To be honest, one of the major realizations we have had is that there is no such thing as work life balance. That does not exist. Period. What it really comes down to is establishing a healthy integration between what you do for work and your personal life. Here are some of our favorite tips:
- Set boundaries! It will get to you, if you don’t.
- Take small breaks in between so you do not burn out.
- Schedule time to plan out your week.
- Forgive yourself. You won’t always get what you want and get it right.
- Give yourself permission to just be.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
Two things. One that we co-run a marketing collective, Raices Media, that was born out of the beautiful work we have been doing with Posh Palma Styles and our passion for uplifting brands digitally. On a day to day basis, we split our days between our work for Posh Palma Styles and Raices Media. The second surprise, is that we are launching our very own private label designed by our creative team and ourselves in the motherland, Dominican Republic. This collection is a dream come true and this summer, we are elevating our brand to the next level.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Block your days! Set time aside per project and tasks so you can be more realistic.
- Take 10-15 mins. breaks between time.
- Listen to your body. Consume what does good, drink your water and rest.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
An Entreprenista is taking full control of your life to be at that healthy and happy place where you are fulfilling your dreams and living life on your own terms.