I am proud to say that Vanessa Dagnino, latina entrepreneur and founder of Via Dagnino, and I go way back. I cant remember exactly when… our families know each other, when we were teens we had the same group of friends, but most importantly for me is the friendship that does not care about time and the deep, deep admiration that I have for her.
As you will read a little bit later in her own words she moved out of Venezuela with her family in 2005, as many of us immigrants do, following their dreams and she decided to embark in a big adventure called VIA DAGNINO , a kids accessory brand that communicates much more than style and has principles that are based on teaching children to be confident, adventurous and to never stop dreaming.
She does not know it, but I have been watching her closely via social media and admiring her organic growth. In over two years she can be found in more than 130 stores in the USA, including the exclusive boutique Tiny Treasures at Wynn Las Vegas, with distribution in South Korea, China & Canada. Increible!
So as soon as I found out that Vanessa and her family moved to South Florida, I jumped at the opportunity to interview her, que honor…and here is what she had to say about her stylish and colorful company:
1) How did you start Via Dagnino?
After Alessia was born, creativity was born and my life completely changed. I started taking sewing classes and I finally attended the Art Institute to take courses in design & color. I’ve always considered myself an entrepreneur. This is my fifth venture. I started working at Nordstrom to learn from the inside everything I could about the retail business and fashion. From my perspective the world is overloaded; I would love to inspire people to value simplicity and minimalism. I founded Via Dagnino as a way to express much more than style. Its principles are based on encouraging children to be confident, adventurous and to never stop dreaming. Our goal was to build a brand that can be identify by the beauty in the details.
2) Where are you from originally? Where do you live?
I’m a proud Venezuelan with a hint of Italian as I called it – maybe is just because I’ve spent most of my life saying my name along with the spelling of my last name.
Spent most of my summers in the Venezuelan Plains “el Llano” riding horses and fishing Bass. Close to nature, family & friends.
I lived most of my life in Venezuela, Moved to US back in 2005. I’m an expert mover, I have moved homes 14 times in the last 10 years! I lived in Boston, Charlottesville and 7 wonderful years in Seattle, the experience of the West Coast and the green city couldn’t be better…
I earned a Master in Educational Psychology from UVA in 2008 just few months before graduation Ignacio was born, It was quite a challenge by the way.
Its been a year since we moved to Florida and the change couldn’t be better, now we are closer to family & friends and our company has evolved pretty nicely the past 12 months. Since we moved here I feel very supported to pursue my dreams feeling at home.
2) What are your plans for the company in the near future?
I have ambitious plans for the company, I want to increase our reach to new customers and expand our distribution in the US and abroad. We have distribution in 4 countries and we plan to add 4 more this year. Our long term goal is to become a recognized lifestyle brand
I am a firm believer of sustainability this is why I decided to create products that were eco friendly as possible, for example our clips are made of cellulose which is an organic material that is refined from the pulp of plants. Our colorful and spunky leg warmers are made with natural Pima Cotton from Peru, known as the softest cotton in the world. (Trust us – we’ve tried it!)
3) How do you choose the colors for the season on your accessories?
While we have our own signature styles, we do pay close attention to patterns and Pantone color forecasts in the kids industry. I lead the design process for most of the pieces but leave the heavy lifting of design to the experts! I think the success has been a combination of luck finding great talent and my good taste
Sometimes we use the color pallete of a brand we collaborate with. For example last year we collaborated with Egg by Susan Lazar and we worked together to design hair pieces that coordinated with their collection. We have plans to make more collaborations in the near future with incredible brands.
Via Dagnino had an amazing experience this past summer at K+J in Germany, during the show I met Linn Behrendt she is a Winner of Red Dot Award 2013 and a Nominee for German Design Award 2015. She is our lead designer for SS16 Hair Accessories.
4) Who is your biggest inspiration?
The success of Hello Kitty and the cachet and style of Fifi Lapin. With Via, I wanted to create a character that inspired other girls to follow their dreams. Our brand name is actually our character’s name, first name Via and last name Dagnino.
She is a girl that loves fashion and wants to be a designer. She travels around the world looking for inspiration and her favorite travels are to Europe & Asia. Although her designs are minimalistic she embraces color and sometimes you can see soft pinks mixed with neon with a splash of a crazy pattern.
I have a passion for aesthetics, chases me wherever I go . I always want to make things functional & pretty, (on a subjective way I must say).
Ultimately to be inspired and hopefully to inspire others.
5) Who is your Favorite Designer?
Favorite Fashion designer: Stella McCartney
6) Where can we find Via Dagnino?
Our website www.viadagnino.com
Via Dagnino is available in USA, Canada, South Korea and China
Social Media Facebook – Instagram – Pinterest
PS: I am in Love with the legwarmers..can’t deal! son de muerte.