Jess Teruel is an entrepreneur and host of The Jess Teruel Show on YouTube. She’s also our GVL Starts insider sharing her personal entrepreneurial journey as she works through the program as well as stories about other founders in her class.
My GVL Starts classmate Estefany Andrade became obsessed with shoes at age eight.
She’d ask her mom for ‘Hello Kitty’ stickers, pencils, pens, glitter, and bobbles to redesign shoes and resell them to her friends. Even in grade school, she had a knack for entrepreneurship.
“I’ll never forget the day I went into Limited2 to buy me some thigh high boots,” she said, and she hasn’t looked back.
In 2016, she used her tax return to launch an online business, Fanyamour Styles. “I realized I’m not made for the 9 to 5,” Andrade said. She sells clothes, but it’s still footwear that fulfills her. “People like my style, but they always point at my shoes.”
On her website you’ll find shoes with names like “She’s All That,” “Run the World,” “Next Drink,” and “Break the Internet.” Estefany is always looking for new and daring styles that are both fabulous and affordable. Follow her on Insta (@fanyamour) for inspiration or a high-heeled purchase to make you stand a little taller.
Following a passion. Starting a business. It’s hard. Legitimately scary. Without support, it can pull you under.
Andrade is finding her footing with GVL Starts. The pre-accelerator program powered by The Hill Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Furman provides knowledge, mentoring and collaboration. “Something like this helps. It’s not just based off money. It’s based off the connections you’re gaining,” Andrade said. Eventually, she wants to expand her operation to include a brick-and-mortar store.
This exciting venture for her also came with insecurities. Andrade said she questioned if her business was good enough to be in the GVL Starts program. For one of the first assignments, tying into Valentine’s Day, participants had to write a love letter and a break-up letter to their business. Estefany says it brought to light more insecurities than she realized she had, but she said, “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”
Estefany shared part of her love letter with me for this post:
“Dear Fanyamour Shoetique,
I really don’t know how to express how I feel about you in one letter, but I will try my best to let you know. Since I was a little girl, I always dreamed about you. I would talk to my mom about you. I would look you up in magazines and tell myself that I would grow up and have you! I remember in elementary school I told my mom to take me to [the] fashion district to buy Hello Kitty school supplies. I went back to school and sold all the stickers, pens, notebooks! I bought my first pair of boots! Love at first sight! LOL. I knew then that I could not live without you. You were a part of me!”
The excerpt from Estefany’s love letter gives us a glimpse into the deep emotions she and other founders often feel about their businesses. The entrepreneurial journey can sometimes feel like an emotional rollercoaster, but Estefany emphatically encourages anyone who might be hesitating to start a business to, “Go for it. Do it when you’re scared. Do it when you’re doubting yourself.”
At the end of the 8-week GVL Starts program, Estefany and her classmates will pitch their businesses for a chance to win $5,000.
We’re not sure yet which shoes Estefany will wear on pitch night, but we’re thinking “Rockstar,” “Desired,” or “Turning Heads” might be the boost she needs to bring home the big bucks.
In my next entrepreneurship insider video, I’ll tell you what I learned from confessing my love for my business and then immediately breaking up with it. Talk about a rollercoaster ride!
Have a dream? Need direction? Have a business? Need a plan? GVL Starts has another cohort starting this Fall. Learn more here.