“I put my armor on, to show you how strong I am. I put my armor on, I’ll show you that I am.” When I think about this sonnet from Sia’s melody “Unstoppable”, Myriam Vallot’s face immediately springs into my mind. It was sheer passion that drove this up-and-coming fashion designer-entrepreneur to give up her 9-5 corporate job and fulfil her true calling. She then created Papayarosa.com, which takes the ‘oomph-factor’ in fashion to an entirely new level.
Her enterprise is a new online shopping destination, catered in serving the most meaningful, easy-to-wear pieces that are ahead of the curve. Designers are often lauded for their ingenuity, in cranking out creative new lines. Let’s see what this designer has to offer.
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as an entrepreneur/ designer?
Myriam: It all started a couple of years ago with a breakdown at work. I had a neurotic boss who pushed my limits so far that led me to question my purpose in life. I started meeting a life coach who helped me discover and redefine my life goals and desires. That is when I started fashion designing courses, going to fabric markets, shadowing tailors and pattern makers, making samples with manufacturing companies while I still had my daily job. The more I learnt about the industry, the more I fell in love with it.
How and when did you get your unique start into the fashion and business industry?
Myriam: Living in a cosmopolitan city like Dubai, having friends from all corners of the globe and being able to travel to so many different destinations allowed me to getting exposed to the trendiest brands from US, to Brazil from Sweden to South Korea making me realize that many of my favourite brands were not available in this market. This gave me the idea of creating a shopping destination with the trendiest brands from different corners of the globe and focusing on combining 4 key selling points which as a consumer I felt were lacking in the market: 5 stars user friendly customer experience, quality material and longevity of garment life, diversity of styles flattering different body types and competitive quality/price ratio. In October, 2020, I made the big jump and left my 7 years of corporate career behind me to start this amazing entrepreneurship venture. I was extremely lucky as well to surround myself with 2 awesome business partners.
Where was your first internship and what was the most valuable thing you’ve learnt?
Myriam: To be honest, I have never done an official internship in the real sense of the word in the fashion industry. However, I’ve spent a lot of time around tailors, partner makers, fabric retailers to grasp as much knowledge as possible about the industry. Going back to this point, my official first internship was at the W Hotel in Barcelona and the biggest learnings from my hospitality career was to actively listen to your customers feedback and focus on their journey, which I strongly believe is key for any business success.
Who has been your biggest mentor in this industry and what was the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
Myriam: I am a huge fan of Sara Blakely, founder and inventor of Spanx. I was not only attracted to her product and brand but it is her story, her attitude towards life, fashion and business overall. One of my favourite quotes from her is “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” Also, I always get inspired by so many people within my family and friends circle, my business partners and team players but also by entrepreneurs and artists in different fields. I strongly believe we all have something to offer to the world and we can all be an inspiration for each other.
If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Myriam: As a start-up, many suppliers don’t take you seriously when you start. They tell you that what you are asking for is either too much or impossible. I learnt not to doubt myself and not to lower my standards, just to look for passionate people who understand my vision and truly want to be a part of this venture and who are also solution driven.
Where do you go for inspiration when working on a new design?
Myriam: At the moment, I am actually not designing but creating a platform for other designers. But when I choose the items, I always focus on fabric quality, ensuring items have lining as unfortunately, often you can find a lot of items which end up being transparent and uncomfortable to wear. I love zippers to be invisible on dresses as I always feel big zippers take away the attention from the design. Most of the items selected have invisible zippers, selecting items which are flattering on different body types is also something I am very particular about and picking styles which are multi-functional in which accessorizing those can transform the look for a different occasion.
How do you keep yourself updated with the latest trends taking place in the fashion industry?
Myriam: I follow several designers and influencers on their social media, read a lot of content about fashion, follow a lot of YouTube channels, and also ask a lot of questions to business owners in the industry.
What is your favourite part about being a designer and entrepreneur?
Myriam: I feel extremely happy when customers are in love with the designs and have an amazing customer service journey, also seeing the brand coming together and being able to finally share my vision gives me a great sense of pride. As a startup you go through challenges on a daily basis and those are always different, I love that as it has allowed me to grow exponentially as a person and helped me bring more value to the business.
How would you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?
Myriam: I want them to feel confident of themselves and inspired.
How do you think social media has impacted the fashion and business industry?
Myriam: social media has transformed the way of doing business allowing everyone to start their business at a minimal cost, being able to share their ideas with the world and easily connect with the people who can help you bring your vision to life.
What is your dream project?
Myriam: My dream project is to collaborate with women entrepreneurs in the fashion and creative fields, further helping them start and grow their business. I am a bit of an idea machine, as I always carry with me a notebook in which I note down all my ideas. There are a few more key projects that I would like to execute one day.
What advice would you give to women who are looking to enter the creative industry?
Myriam: Be bold and dream big!
Never follow the crowd just because it makes sense, try and find exactly what makes your idea or product special and amplify it.
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