Valerie Morin of A La Mode Accessories Chats About Her Jewelry Collection
Valerie Morin is the owner and founder of A La Mode Accessories. Born in Haiti, she is currently pursuing a degree in Business and Communication. A self-described God-fearing, spontaneous, self-motivated, and independent woman, she is disciplined enough to be juggling her college coursework alongside running a fashion business.
Does being a businesswoman come easily to you? I would have to say yes and no. Yes—because above all I love what I do. I love interacting with people. I love and enjoy helping others. I love talking about the business and the plans that we—me and my two business partners—have for A La Mode. I enjoy working and getting feedback from my clientele, and whatever I do for the business I do it with passion. On the other hand, I am still in school and have a separate job, therefore it is very hard for me to jungle everything at the same time. But overall, I prioritize my tasks and manage to always put A La Mode and its clientele first.
Some girls swear that clothes are everything. How important are accessories to an outfit? I think it is safe to say that accessories and clothing have an equal significance in an outfit. They work together to create an “ensemble” that matches your personality, creates your mood and express your style. But accessories have the power to change a relax lunch to a casual Friday at work to girls night out. For example: let’s take a really basic outfit, such as, a white buttoned-up shirt and a pair of fitted, straight legged jeans in a dark denim wash. Using only accessories I can wear this outfit on three different scenes: One, lunch with my girls, I would wear my everyday wood beads like, Wood Revolution or Three Musketeers. Two, for a casual Friday at work. I would switch my beads to something more elegant like Elegant Night. Three, for a casual date night, I would put on a more appealed necklace like Africa with an assorted evening clutch and my heels. Accessories can make or break your outfit; you just have to know how to use them.
And what should a low-budget fashionista keep in mind when choosing accessories? Just like clothes, accessories are hard to shop for. She or he should know what goes with her or him in terms of colors and shape. First thing to look for is elegance, shape and color. Second thing, is to choose a couple pieces you can match with the old accessories that you already have in your accessories box. Personally, I always color-block my accessories as well as my clothes, so that when I go shopping, it is easier for me to just grab and go without the repetition of colors. Third and most important thing is price; I heard if you shop at an outlet it will be cheaper than the main store. You could also check the clearance section of the store you go to, or look for the discounts or use coupons. A lot of people are fashionistas on a budget; you do not need to have a million dollar bracelet or necklace to be in trend. You buy what you can afford and model what you have. All that counts is the way you wear it.
When was the last time you went to Haiti? Almost 5 years ago. But I am going this coming December. I have no excuse on why I waited that long. I just know that it wasn’t the time yet. Now I feel more comfortable on going there and reliving the wonderful memories that I have of my country.
Which pieces of A La Mode collection are more popular with your clients? Since we do not duplicate our products, I would say all of them are pretty much popular with our clients. A lot of people cannot understand why we choose to do it like that, but it’s pretty simple. How many people you know like to have the same thing as their friends? Few of them; some even say that it is pretty corny. I like bringing the unique side of myself and I have to say that it brings a certain satisfaction to know that no one—not to say never, because it can occur that someone reuse the design—have or will have the same model or color accessory…So, I wanted my clients to feel the same way, unique.
Were you pretty much the queen of the hallway when you were in high school? Ah Ha Ah, no. I was the most annoying kid at school and a fashionista to the bone. Because of that, a lot of people knew me. Back then I was more focused on acing my classes, dancing, having fun with my friends, avoiding my parents [Laughter] and being myself that I had no time to even think about being popular and all. I think that is why I had such a great time in high School.
Are your parents your biggest supporters? Unfortunately no, [but] I have a couple of them. God—He is my biggest one of all time. My boyfriend and my cousin who happen to be my business partners, and three of my little cousins. These people are my rock, and they all have a say in my designs. As soon as I am done making a piece, I send a picture to them for approval. We do not normally see eye to eye, but I can always count on them.
Were you undecided when choosing a name for your brand? Not at all; the name came to me after I decided to go into business. I was at home making my very first bracelet, Wood Revolution, and booooom, A La Mode Accessories came to me. It was so easy, that at first, I was afraid to use it. I started looking for other names, but somehow I kept on coming back to A La Mode. I called my cousin and my boyfriend and told them; they automatically approved of it. So from then, A La Mode Accessories was born.
What have you learned about the fashion and accessories business that you feel that every aspiring business person in the arena ought to know? Oh my God! I have learned so many things that I had to highlight the important ones so that I do not forget them. First thing that I have learned was to never take what you have and where you are for granted because just like God gave you and can also retake. Second thing is to always be in trend. To always update your inventory with new things; rather it’s the pattern, the colors, the materials or the shape. Because people are looking for a variety of things to choose from—so give them that. Third thing is that there is no friends and family in business. I don’t mean it in a selfish manner, but if you want your business to see another day do not choose a particular group of people to give a discount. When you have a business, everyone should be a client. If there is a promotion, I believe that each and every customer or client should benefit from it. After all, your customers are your biggest supporters. Without them, you would be nothing; so treat them justly. You have to be able to understand the biggest law and regulation in business: “The customer comes first and is always right.” Once you understand that, you will succeed. And last, but not least, have fun doing what you do best. Take a breather; smile and count your blessings because if you don’t, you will be stressed and will not be able to provide the service necessary to keep your customers happy. And remember, hard times always comes first; keep your head up. Your time will come to shine.
Visit the A La Mode Accessories website HERE.