Ever since I was introduced to My-Cherie, the owner and creator of Viva La Silk, I have been completely obsessed with all of her products. From her scarves to her wrap pants to her latest drop the Kaftan Dresses; I’ve fallen in love with the way they sit on my body type and how they make me feel when I’m wearing my VLS out and about.
I had the absolute pleasure of being able to sit down with My-Cherie to talk all things Viva La Silk, balancing life and the learning curves that came with lockdowns & COVID-19.
It’s time to meet the creator, My-Cherie!
HCuOttawa: If someone has never met you before, what are three words would you use to describe yourself to them?
My-Cherie: Charismatic, Passionate, Witty
HCuOttawa: For anyone who doesn’t know what Viva La Silk is, how would you describe it to them?
My-Cherie: Viva La Silk is an eco-conscious lifestyle brand of Versatile Wearable Art, inspiring women to feel beautiful and confident. All of my designs are 100% silk and hand-dyed, hand-painted and hand-sewn in small batches in Austin, Texas. The bold colors are inspired by the vibrancy of my Cuban-Jamaican heritage. My goal is to share my love of Silk and Afro-Caribbean culture through my Art while being kind to Mother Earth. Our dyes and paints are non-toxic, eco-friendly and made in the USA and a few of my designs are created from repurposed silk.
HCuOttawa: What inspired you to start your business Viva La Silk?
My-Cherie: I had a silk scarf company, under the name Shimmer & Bliss, from 2008-2013. I always had an infinite love for silk scarves and head wraps because of my Afro-Caribbean roots, so I did my research and started learning and practicing how to create my own designs. As I honed in on my craft, I got better at dyeing and freestyle painting on fabric, and silk became my favorite medium. I had to take a hiatus from Shimmer & Bliss due to life-changing circumstances. Honesty, I didn’t think the silks would circle back around this lifetime, but God had a plan for me. My heart was yearning to share my art with the world, and my friends kept encouraging me to just do it, so in the summer of 2019, I stepped out on faith and created a twenty-piece silk collection. I showcased the collection on the runway at ATX Swim Week. The show was a huge success and I received great feedback and accolades. I was so grateful for the opportunity to create again. I intuitively knew it was time for me to begin my Viva La Silk journey.
HCuOttawa: Are there any messages you strive to tell/show people through your silk work?
My-Cherie: My silks scream Carpe Diem! I believe life is too short to not live it to the fullest. We are here to live, love and create, so let’s do what we came here to do. A lot of colors I work with are bold, so I want to encourage women to not be afraid to wear color, but be confident when wearing bold colors.
HCuOttawa: What are some of your favourite VLS products? (If you had to pick your top two favourites!)
My-Cherie: Oh wow, good question. lol. My top favs would be the Urban Lux Kaftan dresses and the air-silk scarves. I am all about convenience and being travel-ready, so now that we have dresses, I can just slip on one of my Kaftan dresses and wrap my hair with a VLS scarf and I am ready to take on the day. And the cool thing is that these pieces can transition from day to night and from every day to travel so easily.
HCuOttawa: What is it like being a mom and running a successful business? How do you balance both your personal life and your business life?
My-Cherie: Well it’s definitely challenging being a mom and running a business, however I have consciously chosen to do both, so I take on the responsibility with an open heart. I give myself grace, time and space for the obstacles I face along the way and I celebrate the little wins. Since COVID hit the world in 2020, I have really learned the value of adapting to change, because change is inevitable and adaptation is survival.
Honestly, it’s been pretty amazing being able to grow my brand with my six-year-old daughter and ten-year-old son by my side. My daughter is a budding artist and she has one design on the site that she creates. I love seeing her excited about creating art. My son also helps me with shipping the orders and he likes to check in with how my weekly sales are going. I think he wants to be the CFO one day. It feels good to know I am creating a family legacy with my children.
HCuOttawa: What is one tip you’d give someone on how to balance life and business?
My-Cherie: The wisest tip I can offer when balancing life and business is carving out time for self-care. Give yourself time and space to reset, recharge and recenter. Even if it’s just 15mins a day or 1 hour per week or one weekend a month, self-care is so important. That can simply mean, taking a bath, scheduling a massage, a yoga class or a weekend getaway. The choice is yours. Just do it for yourself and your mental health.
HCuOttawa: I know that you’ve done some collaborating with other amazing businesses and people in the past, if you had the opportunity to collaborate with anyone (business or individual) who would it be?
My-Cherie: I would love to collaborate with an italian brand like Roberto Cavalli. Cavalli pushed the boundaries of fashion back in the 1970’s with his bold prints and beautiful color schemes and the brand is still alive after all those years. I have always been inspired by unique, classic brands that stand the test of time.
HCuOttawa: On the topic of collaborations with amazing businesses, what are some of your personal favourite local and/or small businesses?
My-Cherie: Well, in Austin, I would have to say that I love my sis, Meesha Farzaneh and her amazing jewelry and home decor brand. She has such a great work ethic, her fashion style and taste is impeccable and she is always willing to help and support me on this entrepreneurial journey. She is definitely an inspiration to me.
I am also a fan of my Austin photographer, Anna Monette Photography. She gets me and when we shoot together it’s like magic- we work efficiently and the finished product is always incredible.
I also want to shout out to the new Artisan Coop I just partnered with called Hand Made at Nutty Brown. I will be working with 10 other Artisans in Austin that do jewelry, pottery, ceramics, wood-work and many other mediums of art. The property has a gift shop where all the Artisans sell their designs. It is in hill country Texas and it is quite beautiful. I am very excited about this new venture.
[bf_image id="f8k8wjfwgwkk8mrh88rqf56m"] HCuOttawa: Let’s pretend that I’m someone who has never bought anything from VLS before, what is one piece of VLS that I need to have in my closet?
My-Cherie: Honestly, everyone should have a VLS Air-Silk scarf. Our scarves are truly the most versatile out of anything else on our website because you can wear it as a head wrap, a scarf around the neck, a sarong around the waist, a top and the list goes on and on. Also, everyone should have a Silky Scrunchie, because why not?
HCuOttawa: If there is one thing you could tell your past self about life, love, business, anything; what would it be?
My-Cherie: Oh wow, good question. I would say to my past self “Never let anyone take away your sunshine. Keep shining bright. Start now. No regrets. Stop living in the past because the PRESENT MOMENT is truly a gift.”
If we haven’t convinced you yet that VLS is the place to be this year, check out my personal VLS wishlist to find your VLS favourite look!
For anyone looking to buy their mom a sweet mother’s day present or just treat themselves to a fabulous summer outfit, check out My-Cherie on Instagram @ Viva La Silk or start filling your shopping cart with all this goddess fashion!
*Responses have been formatted for the purposes of this article.