Making Something From Nothing: Alina Villasante of ‘Peace Love World’ On How To Go From Idea To Launch

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

The day you make a decision to start a business, you decide to take people’s livelihood into your hands — Everybody on your payroll depends on you to pay bills and put food on the table for their family. The responsibility goes beyond your needs but also the people around you that help you build a business.

As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alina Villasante.

Alina Villasante is the founder and designer of her lifestyle brand and an advocate for loving and inspiring others to be the best. The Peace Love World brand was born in 2009 out of an energetic soul’s love of fashion. Born in Cuba, raised in New York and based in Miami, Alina found her purpose in the world of fashion after 17 years in the aviation business. While building what the Business Journal called the “world’s number one repair station,” Alina traveled the world and recognized that everyone was hungry for the same thing: peace, love, and happiness. She decided that her mission was to find a window to the world where she could inspire people not only to feel loved but to love others.During the High Standard Aviation sales process, Alina found her voice of positive energy and affirmations and used the clothing as her canvas to spread her message. The movement quickly spread to major retailers along with 2,000 boutiques around the world. It has been endorsed by celebrities such as Pharrell, Coca Cola, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, and the Kardashians. The popularity that the brand was gaining led it to the QVC platform.The opportunity filled in a blank that her client was looking for and an opportunity to touch millions with the brand message.Peace Love World is Alina’s destiny and through life’s many obstacles, she stands through her mission and purpose — always keeping the light on even in the dark. Today, Alina and her daughter are the hearts behind the brand who work together daily to build an empire. “I feel so blessed not only to take this journey with my daughter, but to know that not only will I leave my legacy to her … but she will step into my shoes and keep my energy alive.”

Peace Love World is a luxury lifestyle brand that embodies fashion with meaning founded and designed by Hispanic female entrepreneur Alina Villasante. Launched in 2009, Peace Love World has grown into a global brand with celebrity fans including Jennifer Lopez and Kris Jenner. Known for comfortable and flattening styles, every garment is branded with positive affirmations and infused with love in the form of eight embroidered red dash-marks, one dash for every letter in the word “love” and the word “amor.”

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

I was born in Havana, Cuba at the height of Fidel Castro’s communist regime. It was a dark time in Cuba’s history. I was the youngest of three kids back then (soon to be five), and the baby daughter. But we had a good life. We had a beautiful home and my parents had great jobs that they worked so hard at to support us. At 8 months old, when my parents decided they couldn’t stay for the safety of their children. My dad left first, to go live with my grandparents, (his in-laws ) look for work, and get a visa waiver for me, since I was born only a few days after the American embassy left Cuba permanently. A few weeks later, we landed in Queens, New York and I lived there until I was 12, until my dad got a job in Atlanta. I did middle school and high school there and 4 days after my high school graduation I moved to Miami and started my life as I know it today.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Love is not something you look for, love is something you become” is my philosophy in life. I believe that if you want to be something, become it and then you will attract it rather than going out and looking for it.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

“Life is beautiful” by Roerto Begnini resonated with me because of all the trials

and tribulations that he went through, and how he overcame them with love, family and imagination. “The mastery of love” by Don Miguel Ruiz is my bible. Both have taught me to lead with love and that life really is beautiful. Love is the one basic human need that everyone longs for, and I want to be remembered as a heart that truly unselfishly loves.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this Challenge?

An idea is just an idea until there’s action and execution. It’s about the person behind it bringing it to life with passion and support from their community. It all starts with you and your drive to make it something that people want.

Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?

As Michael Kors would say, everything has already been invented even if you think you are the first person to have thought of it. Be the first person to do something with it. It’s about taking that idea and making it yours.

For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps one has to go through, from when they think of the idea, until it finally lands in a customer’s hands? In particular, we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.

The first thing I do is call my attorney to see if the idea has been taken. If it has not, I work with him to secure it, whether it be my patent, trademark or copyright.

Once that has been sorted, I design the product in CAD form to create a visual and in this particular case, look for fabric swatches and type. I also make a mood board and create a sample with a pattern maker and a seamstress.

From there, to find the source, I either call people in the community who have done the same or find a factory through networking or Linkedin that aligns with the product development.

After selecting a factory, I send them my prototype and they create a production sample. Once approved, we go into the development phase.

Then, it’s all in my hands to market and sell through different platforms and channels on retail and wholesale levels.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why?

1. There’s no days off — to run a company and to truly be successful you need to be accessible and available to all your customers, clients and vendors. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life and vacation, it just means success becomes your lifestyle. Work, life balance.
2. The day you make a decision to start a business, you decide to take people’s livelihood into your hands — Everybody on your payroll depends on you to pay bills and put food on the table for their family. The responsibility goes beyond your needs but also the people around you that help you build a business.
3. Learn from other people’s mistakes, but know you are going to make your own — As an entrepreneur you go into a business, with the available knowledge and resources you have. Part of the growth and success is failing. I thought I needed a business partner to expand my business, and instead I chose someone that wasn’t aligned with my moral compass and we had to separate at a large cost. What I learned was to keep the dynamic under one umbrella where I can still learn from others but not risk my livelihood along the way.

4. Integrity, loyalty and relationships are number one. You need to make sure that you are always honest and doing things by the book- For example, my relationships of over 30 years with my bankers have always come from this place and it has developed into a trusting relationship that I know they always have my back even in the hard times. Business is all about trust.
5. You have to pay taxes lol — It’s the law and something that unless you are a business owner, you don’t realize what a weight it is on a company and there is no way around it.

Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

Figure out who the consumer is, share it with your community, analyze the feedback and make sure it’s not taken. Once all of these are well-received, find the resources you need to bring it to lfe.

There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?

I have tried that route and it hasn’t worked for me. What has worked for me is surrounding myself with people smarter and more experienced than myself. Keeping it all in-house and going for it. If you don’t believe in yourself, then nobody will believe in you.

What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?

Bootstrapping all the way. I believe in bringing in financial help when you’re ready for exponential growth. When the brand has proven itself, it is profitable on its own, and you’ve exhausted all possible resources to take it to the next level.

Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Leading with love and using my platform along with the QVC platform to reach millions with my message. I have aligned myself with philanthropic efforts and giving back which I believe is my responsibility. The Peace Love World movement began to build its community on QVC through the opportunity to be part of major campaigns, such as Giving Tuesday and International Women’s Day. The fact that QVC gives me the opportunity to be the face and the voice of my brand is the most authentic way to spread my message and I plan on building on this partnership for the years to come. I am so proud of our partnership because they have brought my vision to life by producing amazing products and giving me a platform to spread my message to millions of viewers. I hope to continue to build my legacy by inspiring the consumer through my voice, my product, my generosity, my commitment to give back and my future podcast and book titled “Love Made Me Do It.”

You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Health is wealth. The ability to work out is a gift. I believe in promoting longevity. By taking good care of ourselves, eating right, exercising, drinking supplements, moving your body to release endorphins, in turn makes you feel happier. I believe all will extend your life to be the best version of yourself, not only for yourself but for your loved ones and the people around you. The more we get to know our bodies and educate ourselves with what we need, the better quality of life we can have. Lead by example.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He leads by example. I am in awe of his leadership and fearlessness and I know he must have great fear not only for his country but for his family. He took the job of presidency and followed it through in times of trouble. To sit and speak to this man would be a great honor.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

Making Something From Nothing: Alina Villasante of ‘Peace Love World’ On How To Go From Idea To… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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