Special Feature: Tina Hambly of Valentina Shoes
As Tina Hambly sat down with me at Mozart’s to discuss Valentina Shoes and her upcoming appearance at the Texas Conference for Women, she explained that she was going to need to keep her phone available because her son was going to call. It would be his first time coming home by himself after school and she wanted to make sure he arrived safely. I knew immediately that the two of us would have much to discuss.
Valentina Shoes launched in July of 2011 after Tina did her homework on how to properly start a successful fashion business. She says her return to fashion was about coming home to her passion after a long hiatus as a successful event marketer in the tech industry. After surrounding herself with an advisory board, developing a business plan and designing shoes that represented a strong voice for young girls, Tina got picked up immediately by two representatives who saw promise in her designs and her vision.
Inspired by her daughter, Tina’s designs give girls between the ages of six and fourteen the ability to express themselves through their shoes. With their bold designs and a creative twist on traditional footwear, Valentina is a brand that gives girls a voice.
“My daughter Stella is a constant source of design inspiration,” says Tina. From what she chooses to wear each day, to her artwork, Tina’s daughter is always triggering Tina’s design ideas.
When asked how she handles being a mom and an entrepreneur, Tina reveals that it’s not always easy. Along with designing the shoes, Tina is the sole person in charge of production and marketing, working with manufacturers across the globe. She astonishingly has also kept her full time job. “I’m not ready to give up the paycheck,” she says.
So when it comes to dealing with the struggles that happen when trying to juggle it all, Tina says, “I’m very open with my children about my world. I want them to know that there will be bumps in the road and that some things are totally out of your control.” She’s referring to a late production season, where, due to her manufacturers missed deadlines, Valentina missed the fall and back-to-school season release this year. “I could have crumbled,” she says, “but I just had to reset so I could deal with the problem and work to improve for the next production season.”
“I tell my kids that it’s okay if mommy cries. Everything is going to be okay. I love my kids seeing what I’m building. Exposing my struggles is reality. In the end I’m showing them you can do whatever you want and you have a choice. That’s the example I want to be setting.”
You can see Tina Hambly at the Texas Conference for Women on October 24, 2012 where she’ll be speaking for the Young Women’s program, which provides junior and senior high school girls the opportunity to gain insight from a wide range of speakers and encourage them to dream big and work hard to make those dreams come true. Valentina Shoes are available online and in boutiques across the country.