The idea for Valhalla came together sort of on accident. I did not set out to start a clothing subscription business but I found myself set on this path and I didn’t want to turn back.
I had been in my boring office job for 10 years. 10 agonizingly long, years. And I was looking at 10 more years of doing exactly the same thing after I finally realized that I’d never move up in the corporate world I was trapped in. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the people and the company, I was just tired of doing the same thing everyday. After I was honest with myself that advancement in the company I had been committed to for so long really and truly would never be offered to me, I started thinking about what I wanted my future to look like. I thought about what it would be like to work for a competitor and I could feel my life draining; more of the same.
I thought about pursuing my dreams of entrepreneurship, something I had studied in school. With entrepreneurship back on my mind, I was brought back to when I bought my house in Seminole Heights in 2007. Closing was right before Christmas so I stocked up on home repair supplies as a first time homeowner. I went crazy on Black Friday. I bought everything that you can imagine. Circular saws, chain saws, nail guns, impact guns, drills, belt sanders, and a giant ladder. After I made the purchase and the excitement of a good deal wore off I started to wonder why I spent so much on tools that I may only need for a couple moments of my life. - In reality, I never used any of the tools except the ladder.- I wondered why I couldn’t just rent these from a neighbor, or why I couldn’t share them with my neighbors. At that moment, something like the Airbnb of tool rental was born in my head. I hadn’t given it much thought until I contemplating a career change.
I started doing research into what it would take for me and to get this peer to peer tool business going. Well, pretty quickly I realized I didn’t have the money or the expertise to make it happen so I abandoned the idea.
I decided instead to go with a safe idea. One that wasn’t a new, innovative idea but would be a mental challenge and a stretch financially. I decided to start a clothing resale business. I’ve had a serious love with clothes since I was a little girl. My sister and I were the same size growing up so we had double the wardrobe of most of our friends. And my awesomely hip grandmother fed the addiction by mailing us a huge box of clothing filled to the brim with new fun styles every few months.
I decided to go with the safe business but the only problem with safe is, it’s not exciting… and I like exciting. I was planning on going through with it anyway because the reality was, my career just couldn’t get any duller than it already was. So I started where anyone should; research into the industry.
The ahha moment came when I was studying the lifecycle of clothing. I knew from my own experience that women don’t really wear the clothes they own, they just sit in the closet for years gathering dust. And because we don’t wear the clothes we own, we constantly buy new ones. Clothing is a durable product, not meant to be thrown away after the 30th wear let alone the 1st. This constant consumerism causes much of our clothes to end up in the dump or recycled into stuffing and padding; not as much as you think makes it into the second hand market. It was different seeing it in black and white. I knew the fashion industry creates a lot of waste but I never thought about it or what could be done to stop it. I asked myself my favorite question. – Why? - Why does it have to be that way and what can I do to change it?
At that moment, my dream idea and my safe idea came together in an earthshattering revelation. I could do both! I could combine my love of fashion with the share economy and reduce the environmental impact of consumption while maximizing value.
By structuring Valhalla as a clothing membership I can connect women in the Tampa area with new clothing to wear every single day.