So I thought I'd finally get around to introducing myself, and sharing - being open and honest - with you all on where I am at the moment ☺
My name is Harmonie, and I am the Founder and Creative Director of VALOYI Africa.
I live in Cape Town, South Africa, where I am the one woman show running around and doing everything for the brand, except making the bags. I leave that to the incredibly talented artisans I get to work with.
It's taken me so long to introduce myself and put myself out there because I've never wanted the brand to be about me, at all.
Then I finally realized the importantance of not hiding behind it and getting out of my self limiting bubble; because not doing so was indeed self-sabotaging and an avoidance stalling tactic that really actually came at the detriment and disservice to myself as well as this business. Especially because I share so much of my own opinions in my Stories, it felt like I was creating an unnecessary disconnect.
We have to overcome ourselves sometimes I guess. And honestly, that's what this year has felt like.
I started this brand with the mission to showcase African cloth and craftsmanship, teach people of its historical richness, and to do my part in maintaining its cultural relevancy to our modern world. And that is what I aim to continue to do.
I tend to set very high standards for myself and anything I create. So when I don't achieve something to the level and pace I intended, self-doubt creeps in, I start to question, withdraw, and get very hard on myself.
Eventhough this pandemic has hit all of us in one way or another (many more than others, for sure), I still wasn't able to fully set these tendencies aside.
But, boy, it has for sure humbled me, A LOT.
Things haven't and aren't unfolding as I hoped it would, everything is taking longer to get going than anticipated, and when I can't help but look and compare myself to my counterparts who look like they have more support during this time, it's just feels as though I am getting left behind.
But, as much as all of this has been an emotional upheaval, instead of breaking me, it has instead lead me to a path of greater self awareness.
I've always been a hopeful person, my own grit truly surprises me at times.
Those two characteristics are probably what has saved me countless times.
So what I'm working hardest on right now is stepping away from limiting thoughts and beliefs of myself that no longer aligns with nor serves me.
This business is my baby, I truly believe in my mission and vision for it, and I will continue to develop it at a pace I best can for now till I can acquire the funding it requires to properly accelerate its growth.
I don't believe nor feel I should throw in the towel on it simply because of how this pandemic has made things go for it, for many of us! It's too young, it's too early, and there's still so much I want to do and can be done.
For now, what it means is that putting out entire new collections is challenging because the cashflow isn't there to fully support it. It means accepting the fact that there is only so much I can do for now.
Because all of this is self funded and has actually been my only source of income, it could also mean me possibly getting another job or supporting another brand till I can financially recover and get back on my feet in order to do this full time again.
It's been a tough year, but we keep keeping on.
Regardless of this current slowed pace though, I really hope it's alright, and that you'll still stick around.
Thank you to every one of you who have supported and rooted for the brand in any way. Be it in purchasing, simply tuning in, or bringing awareness to this space by sharing the brand or spreading the word.