Our latest LIB Life episode on women in the creative sector, we welcome Evangeline Delaney, founder and owner of Vchic Designs and Allie Naturalz who at the age of 12, could design and sow her own clothes.
What would have ended up being a sad event for fashion and creative people in Liberia was averted by Providence.
You see, despite being deeply interested in fashion young Evangeline could not muster the courage to venture into the fashion business.
Fortunately, as years rolled, she managed to overcome that fear and in 2014, she launched the first set of her 1920s and 1930s inspired collection of women’s dresses, with a blend of modern flare to allow the design to coexist in today’s fashion society.
“I did not muster the courage earlier because my thought was, people will not appreciate what I had to share. I was too focused on what people had to say about my creativity, instead of just diving into it,” said Mrs. Delaney, adding, “Yet during that time I always kept practicing my art and believed that one day I’m going to become a fashion entrepreneur.
“When the time came for me to enter the fashion business, I did just that without looking back. I designed for fashionable woman in all stages of life; and though my designs are inspired by the 1920s and 1930s, they introduce a crossover between vintage and chic with a hint of Afrocentric vibe,” Mrs. Delaney explained.
As a new entrepreneur in the fashion business, Evangeline had to overcome and prove wrong some of her friends’ arguments that she would not make it in the fashion business, while at the same time keeping up with the latest trends in the fashion industry.
“It was a tough beginning and at some point I wanted to stop. But with my husband’s encouragement and a few positive responses that came from those that purchased the first set, it stirred me up to do more.”
Mrs. Delaney added: “There are struggles every day in the fashion world just as in any other business or industry. The key thing is fashion is always changing and you as a designer needs to know the new techniques and practices every single day. So what I do is mesh different fashion ideas, something that has not been done before to make sure I am on top of my game.”
In order for the business to grow, she knew that mastering the technique of keeping clients would make life less difficult; so as time passed, she started acquiring good customer service skills, which continue to push her up the ladder.
“You need to understand the customer and make the necessary changes if you need to. You cannot be too over controlling or have the final say without listening to the opinions of others. You must be teachable and willing to learn from others,” Madam Delaney told LIB Life.
On her hair care products journey
In her early twenties in 2010 she developed a strong interest in skin care products development; and with this, Evangeline chopped off her hair and stopped using harsh chemicals. In a few days, she started formulating products in her home and coming up with recipes to help maintain the quality of “my natural hair.”
“When I could not find anything in stores to work for me, I took to the kitchen with some common ingredients we all can find in our homes. This was when I realized that I could make my own products the way I wanted, making sure no harsh chemicals were in them.
“Not too long I started also making home made products to manage my daughter’s hair. I started experimenting with natural oils, herbs and butters to also make skin care products. I decided if I was going to use natural products on my hair I would also make products for my skin, and this process led to the birth of Allie-Naturalz in 2015.”
As a child, Evangeline grew up in Barnesville Estate with a single mom and graduated from St. Teresa’s Convent in Monrovia. In 2002 she moved to the US in hopes of a better life after living through the trauma of the Liberian civil war.
“I did not have any struggles growing up as a child. I was the only child and my mom and dad did their best to give me what I needed. They also taught me to be humble and grateful, as nothing in life is promised.”
She holds a Bachelors of Science (BS) with major in International Business and Economics, and a minor in Finance, from the College of St Catherine in the US.