Hello! I've just joined so I hope that I'm following the community guidelines.
My name is Valentina and I'm a designer and bike messenger in London.
Storytelling is not exactly my strongest skill, but I enjoy writing about myself and therefore I decided to give you a little introduction about what I do and how I got here.
A little over two years ago I became extremely fed up with the process of applying for jobs online and having most of my work opportunities being "fully unpaid" and full time internships that not only I could not afford to take up on as a grown and independent adult, but also I did not want to participate in from an ethical standpoint (yes I am very opinionated on that topic, mostly because of the real life experience I have, but I respect others' opinions on it :) ). I always loved working on my own, in silence, sometimes even in a dark room...and I kind of knew that I would never be happy working for someone else for the rest of m life (not that I am anywhere close to that point yet or that I actually don't work for someone else myself! I'm just saying that I'm one of those who have a hard time working in certain environments and not being in full control of their schedule, that's all!). I thought to myself: "well, if I'm going to work for free to gain more "experience", I might as well work for something that I enjoy...". So I started a little project of my own, to give freedom to my creativity that had been suppressed for a few years by then, and I got back into sewing (my background is fashion design, but I never really worked in the industry professionally) from my little coffee table. I decided to start creating bags which I had never done before, partly because I was/am a bike courier and a cyclist but also because making "luggage" products meant that I could skip my most dreaded part of design which is fitting and sizing. I was sort of fascinated by inner tubes and how versatile the rubber that they're made of is, and I decided to focus mainly on that as the "base" of all of my products.
It was definitely a struggle to start my little business idea while also working full time, and sewing in a tiny London flat which was on the first floor and which had not so greatly soundproofed flooring....but it all turned into a big passion of mine and dare I say it's now even part of my identity, haha! A crappy first prototype of a backpack turned into a sturdy and durable final product, and multiplied into a myriad of other bike accessories and backpacks! :D The coffee table also first turned into a desk, and then into a "proper" sewing machine that could handle my workload :)
I've been running my shop on Etsy from the start, and the Etsy platform served me fairly well especially in the past year. However, I've also (finally, it's been long overdue!) developed my own webshop recently, and that's the main reason why I wanted to promote it over here!
Here is the link to my website, thank you for reading and let me know what you think! :)