I had to find out from a few girls in my class that Sonia Valls was an entrepreneur. Sonia had been creating handmade bracelets, necklaces and rings for her friends and was slowly spreading the word. At first I thought it was a hobby, but I was immediately informed that this is a business she’s looking into and she’s been working on it before she even entered the master program. I had the chance to get Sonia to explain a little about her business to us and how she started it.
How did you start?
“I’ve always loved to create new things and even at a young age, I created friendship bracelets that I’d give to my friends and family as a gift. It wasn’t until I moved to Brazil that I really got into the handcrafted world.” There, Sonia got hands-on practical experience on how she could improve on her existing talent into something truly beautiful. “In Brazil, I got to know really interesting people who showed me new techniques to make handmade jewelry. It was in Brazil and later in Costa Rica where I bought all the materials that I used to make the designs; the materials ranged from waxed string to semi-precious stones.” At that point, Sonia had improved and established her abilities, ready to put her creations to the test. “When I got back to Spain, the jewelry was well received by my family and friends; it was then that I decided to create a fan page on Facebook to spread the news!”
What are the challenges you are facing?
Sonia’s success story is not without its challenges. Currently, Sonia’s initial problem has been with funding. “Anything that I get from selling, are immediately invested in buying new materials, leaving no room to invest in promoting the brand.” Another challenge Sonia faces is in the actual creation of her website. The platform on which she plans to share her creations. “The lack of funds resorted me to enter the world of e-commerce platforms, which means I have to program the website; it is taking a bit longer than I would have liked. The lack of time, as this is not my full-time job, also affects the project. As a result, I haven’t got enough time to produce new pieces of jewelry.” Indeed time is the most important resource for entrepreneurs, as we have previously seen. Apart from these challenges, Sonia has highlighted that actually getting the brand known is her biggest challenge: “The hardest obstacle is spreading the word. I have made already some collaborations with Spanish bloggers, who have shared my pieces with their followers; this method has had a good impact but there is still so much more I can do.”
What about the name?
Sonia also shared how she got the name with me. “I wanted that the name would be related with summer, sun, surf and traveling, that is what I most like and also what represents my life in Brazil. Moreover, turtles are my favorite animals so I wanted to have the image of a turtle somewhere in the brand name or the website design. The first part Sunny-, reminds me of a sunny day and it’s pronounced the same way as how my friends call me: soni. The second part is -ruga. Turtle in portuguese is tartaruga; I decided to take the end of the word.” A little bit of you and what you love in your creation is a recipe for success!
Passion and appreciation through creation
Sonia’s journey is a fulfilling one, and one that requires perseverance and dedication. We keep learning that it is crucial you do something you love. Sonia’s case is no different. “Creating a new business requires time and money, but I started doing it as my hobby, and it still is. I love what I do, and I even love it more when someone receives one of my bracelets and writes me back telling me how much they liked it.” Yes, financial rewards are always beneficial, but Sonia points out that the appreciation of your work is priceless.