Introducing "Poppin' By" a Create & Cultivate profile series in Partnership with Chandon. Every month this year we're profiling a female entrepreneur, popping by their work space and enjoying a bit of bubbly. Here's a cheers to amazing, working women!
Paloma Jonas co-creator and designer of Valentine NYC lives in Los Angeles with her hubby, Jason, and two babies, Bowie and Rome. It's a full household with two under two. But the challenges, and joys, of motherhood have not stopped her from pursuing the company she and fellow former model Whitney Brown started in 2012.
It didn't start with lacey underthings. Rather, it was an online photography and interview editorial the duo dubbed "Valentine."
According the the co-founder, "It seemed people were in need of more intimacy, romance and human connection. Valentine was giving them just that. Inspired by this need for affection." As such, Whitney and Paloma decided to create their version of the best intimacy instigator, lingerie.
Before she turned her design sights on your top drawer, Paloma worked as a model where she, "learned a lot about the fashion industry through watching people who were working in it. I worked with big companies for a while and learned about how the fashion industries worked through these big companies."
More so the creative has, "always been interested in design-- that’s what I went to school for." Though she admits, lingerie wasn't the direction she initially intended. "I thought I was going to do shoe design when I was studying," Paloma says. Until she noticed, "a need for lingerie in my life that I could not find. Something that wasn’t too cheap or expensive and fit me well. I couldn’t find it, so it’s something we set out to do ourselves."
Born from the desire to reinvent romance, the Valentine aesthetic is simple, sexy shapes in a range of four sizes. It's dyed in classic colors that compliment a variety of skin tones and its stretchy enough to fit a variety of body types. By combining premium lace with fabrics like spandex and cotton their lingerie is comfortable enough to wear everyday.
Even for busy mums, like Paloma.
Though the Aussie-born Paloma admittedly lacks personal time she is learning to love every moment, which, between running a company and raising two cuties can be quite a challenge. One she's certainly proving up for. "It’s extremely difficult to be running a business as a mother of two. I’m still trying to figure it out to be honest. What helps me is having allocated business hours and being very present with my kids at home. I try to not bring my work home unless the kids are in bed and I can sneak out my laptop."
At the moment, Valentine focuses mainly on e-comm, but the co-founders know that a brick-and-mortar presence is important when selling something that fits so closely to the skin. A couple times a year they host a pop up shop selling their latest collection along with items from other aligning brands. Select pieces are sold in key retailers as well, but the plan is to keep that portion of the business to a minimum.
The women use three main goals to guide their brand. It all starts with the product. "We try to create premium product at an affordable price and that product is sexy everyday lingerie," shares Paloma. Second, they employ women, "in every aspect of our business," she explains. "From female photographers to our accountants, we’re always trying to support." And, "Lastly, reinventing romance is really what guides us. Love and intimacy have just seemed to disappear and we always try to bring it back. We do a lot of events where we do speed dating and we include romantic love notes in our orders. We really want people to feel beautiful in lingerie. We don’t want women to feel like sex objects but to feel really good about themselves and to feel understood."
As is such with a great hair day, Paloma knows, "There’s nothing like a good pair of underwear. A good pair of underwear can entirely lift your mood. If you’re wearing a good pair of underwear and bra you feel good about yourself-- and it’s not about other people seeing it, it just gives you a little bit of bounce in your step."
Be sure to check back next month for the next installment of Poppin' By.