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Hidden Gems: Meet Anthonay Allen of Virago The|Label

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anthonay Allen.

Hi Anthonay, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I started Virago The|Label back in 2018 as a broke college student. Adapting to a new environment and location was hard for me, adjusting to a situation where I had to solely depend on financial support from my mom was difficult.

I’m used to being independent and having the ability to make money from jobs that I had while at home, I never wanted to become another bill for her. Getting a job as a freshman away in college is prestigious because you are in competition with thousands of other kids searching for the same job positions and also aligning a work schedule around being a full-time student is challenging.

I knew that I would have to dive into the entrepreneurial lane but I did not know how or what would place me there. I’ve always loved fashion and actually started out as a fashion major in my first four semesters of college so the more I learned about garments the more enthused I was to start my own business. I didn’t know the direction I wanted to go in at first but I did know that I wanted to make clothes to make people feel confident, empowered, while also being fashionable.

That is when I came up with the idea of creating a streetwear brand that represented what I thought was myself. The definition of Virago is ” a woman of masculine strength or spirit; a female warrior.” My family would send me money for groceries and any other necessities that I needed while being away every two weeks, so what I did was began researching and designing hoodies on a website called custom ink and estimating the price if I were to purchase a set amount.

I saved up four weeks’ worth of my money little by little and eventually placed my hoodie order. I was very nervous about my first drop ever because I didn’t know how people would react to not only my design but me starting a business in general. The first order only included ten hoodies because me being so hesitant and also because of my financial situation I did not want the money to go to waste if I didn’t receive any clientele. After receiving my hoodies I used the help of my social media to advertise and sell them, I would lay them on the floor and take pictures of them and then edit those photos with my iPad with an editing app.

I sold out of those first ten hoodies in literally one week and a lot of my orders came from people back in Baltimore. I sold those hoodies for $50 each and witnessed myself make my first $500 that fast by doing nearly nothing and I fell in love. From there I took that $500 and reordered more and more hoodies and watched my clientele grow in both Baltimore and on my campus.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
This has been by far one of the most challenging things I’ve done in my life but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Entrepreneurship comes with so many ups and downs because there’s ultimately no rulebook to it, when you make money from a 9-5 job/company (which I used to) you kind of just follow the rules and regulations that are taught to you when you are hired. When you run a business there are no rules to follow or abide by because you have to make them on your own and as you go to best fit your own company.

Therefore I would say one of my biggest challenges throughout running my business was gaining structure around it. Another obstacle that I found was challenging for me was staying consistent, sometimes when things got overwhelming I found myself shutting down or taking a step back from my business not ordering any inventory, and not understanding how to manage my profits. I had to fall short a few times before I actually got it right and understood the business side of selling items.

Being a business owner leads you to various emotions, sometimes you may even feel like you want to quit but you just have to consistently remind yourself why you started and remember how good you feel when you get an item sold while also satisfying a customer.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Virago The|Label?
Here at Virago The|Label we believe that life is all about Endeavors and when we are faced with those endeavors the best thing to do is move modestly. Moving Modest is a lifestyle, it is the luxury of having it all without the thrive of doing too much and this is the representation of our products. Virago The|Label is currently an online retail brand that specializes in the style and affordability of our customers.

Looking to convert into a retail storefront we focus highly on the luxury and generational style in Baltimore, MD. Virago The|Label is a Unisex Black-Owned clothing establishment started in 2018 that represents both the urban and elegant side of fashion. Our trendy styles are guaranteed to offer a different look that introduces versatility to our target audience while also promoting affordable prices.

The overall goal is to create a luxury lifestyle within streetwear fashion in the Downtown/Charles Village area of Baltimore, MD potentially franchising a retail store, building a well-recognized brand name. We promote financial comfortability while also obtaining a great fashion experience. The fashion/retail industry tends to focus dominantly on the average affluent person allowing them to receive “quality” clothing at a higher cost.

This is what differentiates Virago The|Label from our key competitors, we offer quality clothing for both Men and Women of the Lower-Middle Class catering to the shapes of our beautiful women and the generational style of our Men which I am most proud of. We promote financial comfortability while also obtaining a great fashion experience.

We love surprises, fun facts, and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
Surprisingly, I am a female that dislikes designing for females but I do. I enjoy creating male or unisex pieces because I feel it’s my strong suit. I feel like I know what I would want to see a man in so it comes naturally. I know what would attract me.

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