Today we’d like to introduce you to Yasmina Travaly.
Yasmina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
It is mostly my cultural narrative that motivated me to start TRAVALY. I was born in Belgium to a Rwandan mother and a Senegalese/Guinean father. I grew up speaking different languages and was culturally in between different places. Hence, I always grew up being the “foreigner” or as they say in French “le cul entre deux chaises”. Growing up away from my country of origin, always had me insisting very strongly on the expression of my cultural pride. That’s the state of mind I was in when I started TRAVALY. At first, I just wanted items to represent my colors. Quickly, I realized there was a market opportunity for a lot of different diasporas (Latin, Caribbean, etc.). People from different places were very much appealed by this concept for their own colors. Hence, why, I decided to make it a one-stop-shop & lifestyle brand for people from everywhere that are eager to represent.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has definitely not been an easy road but, it has definitely been worth it. The biggest struggles were carrying out creative collaborations, getting the level of sales expected and, negotiating with suppliers. For one, I have always been afraid to negotiate and bargain (terrible but true lol). That is something that has costed me a lot in the beginning. Now that I finally understand when and where negotiation skills are applied, I realize that I overpaid for a lot of things when I first started.
Another challenge was that likes don’t transform into sales. People won’t start buying your things until they see it appear repeatedly on their feed. Additionally, the people I’d collaborate with weren’t always delivering the quality of work that was expected, which would also strongly impact my motivation. So the beginning was somewhat a disappointment. Once I started focusing on a positive attitude and became more assertive about what I wanted, everything went a little better. I am still learning but with a constant improvement.
My best advice for anyone starting would be to be strict on the vision but flexible on the plan. Because you will have to face a solid amount of challenges that will derail certain stages of your plan. If you keep your eyes on what your vision for your business is, you will always be able to find ways to put yourself back on track. Also, don’t be complacent and, keep faith in your endeavors. Once you start you’ll realize there are more reasons to get discouraged than there are to stay motivated. It is your faith that will carry you through that discouragement.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I own TRAVALY. The brand creates and sells apparel that is inspired by national flags of different countries. Right now, our main catalog includes swimwear and backpacks (working on our expansion, so stay tuned!). The concept of flag-inspired fashion has been seen before. However, what makes us stand out is that we focus on a wide range of country flags to cater to different communities.
What I am most proud of so far is that the positive return has been amazing. People have complimented the brand for its creativity and its endeavors to shine light on a multitude of different countries. Although we don’t have all the countries we want just yet, it makes me really proud to see the message is coming across the right way.
What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
I actually have several pieces of advice I’d like to share. First, you have to be strict on the vision but flexible on the plan because you will have to face a solid amount of challenges that will derail certain stages of your plan. If you keep your eyes on what your vision for your business is, you will always be able to put yourself back on track. Also, don’t be complacent when things get harder and people don’t cooperate. Lastly, keep faith in your endeavors. Once you start you’ll realize there are more reasons to get discouraged than there are to stay motivated. It is your faith that will carry you through that discouragement.
- Website: https://travalyshop.com/
- Instagram: @_travaly
- Facebook: @travalyshop