"I’m in a time in my life and career where I see opportunity to speak outside of fashion and this industry, and to go in different directions to help and lift up people who need it most, particularly women and children."
Andrea is who many would call, Wonder Woman, Boss Babe, Boss Mamma— this girl always has a smile on her face and speaks with the sweetest confidence, while simultaneously running her own business to it's fullest, juggling a toddler, keeping her marriage strong, and maintaining self-care.
She turned her dreams into a reality of bringing a Fashion scene to San Diego, and has quickly grown her shop Van De Vort, to be the top clothing Boutique in the area. With an effortless and influential style, she is constantly contributing to Women's overall confidence through Fashion and creativity.
Andrea has found challenges in an environment that can be overwhelmingly materialistic, and in turn has discovered how to give back through the Fashion Industry in various ways. Below she shares her heart-felt discoveries and soulful mindset in a consumer driven world.
SOUL SHAPERS: Quick background and how you ended up opening your own clothing boutique...
ANDREA: I was actually a bio-chem major in college and on the path to go to Dental School. One afternoon after an extra long day in the lab, it hit me that following my passion was more important than doing something that yes, I was good at, but not passionate about. I graduated early, packed up my Toyota Celica, and moved to LA where I started working as a showroom sales rep for a denim line. During that time, I met Wes, my now husband, who lived in Del Mar at that time. After spending 5 years learning the ropes of the wholesale world, I decided it was time to move down to San Diego to live with Wes, as we had been married and living in different cities for 2 years by that point. There isn't much of a fashion scene in San Diego, so I knew that if I wanted to continue doing something I was passionate about vs. just a paycheck type of job, I would have to create my own job. There was a major void in the marketplace in San Diego for the brands and style that I knew all the girls in LA were wearing, and San Diego girls were looking for, so I took a risk, opened my boutique in Del Mar, and haven't looked back since!
SS: What was your biggest fear with opening your own store? Your biggest challenge?
ANDREA: Everything about owning your own business is scary... but exciting!! There's major risk in all aspects... what if you choose the wrong location, what if you choose the wrong product, what if what if what if...in the end, I always remind myself why I got into this, and know that if I stay passionate and motivated, most obstacles can be overcome.
My biggest challenge in owning a business is finding balance in my life. Being a business owner isn't a 9-5 job, it's a 24/7 job. There's always something to do, always something that could be done to advance your brand. I try really hard to remain extra efficient when I'm at work, so that when I'm home, I can focus on my family and my home life. I definitely haven't mastered that yet, but it's a work in progress ;)
SS: You run a shop that is constantly expanding and you even added a “Mini Market” for kids clothing, you have a toddler, husband, friends, events, etc. how do you do it all and keep everything running smoothly?
"I'm not going to lie, it is hard. Really, really hard. Often times, I feel like I'm running on fumes and going to breakdown."
ANDREA: I'm not going to lie, it is hard. Really, really hard. Often times, I feel like I'm running on fumes and going to breakdown. Thankfully, I have an amazing staff, most whom have been with us since the beginning, so they can keep things running without too much direction. I also have an amazing partner and husband who helps out so much with our son on a daily basis, and especially when I'm traveling to events or have extra long days at the shop. There are a lot of moving parts, it's chaotic and stressful, but we just make it work! I'll catch up on sleep one day.. ;)
"AS I'VE GROWN AND MATURED AS A WOMAN, WIFE, MOTHER, I'VE HAD A BURNING DESIRE TO DO MORE THAN I PROVIDE SOMEONE WITH A CUTE OUTFIT OR TAKE A CUTE PHOTO...
...SOMETHING DEEPER, THAT HAS A MORE MEANINGFUL AND BIGGER IMPACT ON SOMEONE'S LIFE AND WELL-BEING."
SS: What specific tools or tactics do you use to deal with stressful times in your busy life and keep yourself grounded?
ANDREA: It actually took me a long time to learn what really helped me best with this. Before, I would just try to chill out, maybe go to dinner with friends, do something that was considered "me time." But I've learned over time that what actually helps me and my personality type best is just being extra organized, writing out to-do lists, not procrastinating and knocking things off the list. If I have a super stressful week with a ton going on, taking a day off to relax actually has the opposite effect on me. Once I get that last check marked, I can then unwind and really enjoy things like taking my son to the park, cooking a yummy dinner, and having wine on the couch with Wes. Don't get me wrong, if I've had an extra crazy month and have no energy to keep on truckin, sometimes I'll sneak away for an hour and treat myself to a reflexology session in La Costa. There's nothing better than getting your feet rubbed for 60 minutes, am I right?!
“The fashion industry can be super waring and exhausting, always promoting more of a materialistic and self-absorbed product."
SS: What moves your Soul and gives you motivation to inspire others?
ANDREA: The fashion industry can be super waring and exhausting, always promoting more of a materialistic and self-absorbed product. As I've grown and matured as a woman, wife, mother, I've had a burning desire to do more than provide someone with a cute outfit or take a cute photo. Something deeper, that actually has a more meaningful and bigger impact on someone's life and well-being. Don't get me wrong, I love fashion, I love seeing how it can build confidence in someone when they're in a great new dress. I appreciate the position that I'm in and feel very fortunate to have been able to create something that supports and contributes to my family. I've just been craving deep down something bigger, something even more impactful, and something that I can use this platform that I've built to help someone in need of awareness, support, and beyond.
SS: What does Soul mean to you?
ANDREA: Soul is the person that you are deep down to your core, the person that you are without any outside influences, without anyone telling you what to think or how to feel. I love helping people in any way that I can. I love helping people feel good, feel confident, and feel important. Your soul is something that moves you in the direction and path of your life that you're meant to go down if you listen to it. I've recently been moved to go down a path to help people in a different way, outside of our tiny bubble and at times superficial lifestyle. I feel so blessed to be in a position to live this out right now when it seems like it's needed more than ever before.
"I've been super overwhelmed lately with the constant influx of product. Constant excess of "stuff."
SS: What motivated you to organize this sale and donate this money?
ANDREA: I've been super overwhelmed lately with the constant influx of product. Constant excess of "stuff." Every year, we sell a ton of product, clear out the leftover items for next to nothing, and it kind of just goes away and doesn't have a ton of meaning. After a few conversations with various friends and people in the industry, I realized we were all having similar feelings. It was an idea that came to me to do something even bigger than just clear out product, but to clear it out for a cause and to donate all of the proceeds to something bigger than ever before. There are so many people in need, and not necessarily in need of trendy clothes, but more so money to buy life essentials. I've been blessed with the success that my business has brought, and I want to share it with people who have struggled or are fighting just to make it through each day. When Alden told me about her new business venture, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to join forces and collaborate on this charity sample sale.
SS: Why are you motivated to donate towards this cause specifically?
ANDREA: There are so many different causes and charities that I would love to donate to and considered for this particular event. After having my son, my number one priority immediately became keeping him safe and secure. I couldn't even imagine my child being taken from me, being put in a horrible and scary situation, and not having any help. Human trafficking is a huge issue and one of the least talked about, and I think it's important to bring attention to it as well as support the victims recover, restore, and move on in life to the best of our best ability.
SS: For those who see your amazing life and want to follow in your footsteps of opening a clothing boutique, what is some advice and personal perspective?
ANDREA: Building a business takes a ton of work, dedication, sleepless nights, and beyond. It is a sacrifice as everything else in your life basically has to take the backseat for a while if you really want to succeed. But there is no better feeling than putting a ton of work, passion and love into something only to see results and see how people react and appreciate the blood, sweat, and tears that went into it all. I think following a passion and giving it all, like deep down your ALL, it’s almost a foolproof plan, no matter what the business or industry. It will be so apparent to people, they will feel the energy and all of the work that has gone into it, that it will work. And it will be better than ever! As far as opening a clothing boutique, get experience in all fields of the fashion industry, do your homework, ask questions, and commit!
SS: What is the number one message you've learned through your journey that you hope to convey to your customers and social media audience?
ANDREA: We’re all in it together. Everyone has their insecurities, their hard times or obstacles to overcome, and we’re here to help where we can to support each other and cheer each other on.
SS: What do you hope to achieve overall in your work space?
ANDREA: Overall, I want to create a space and platform where we support each other instead of tear each other apart. I’m in a time in my life and career where I see opportunity to speak outside of fashion and this industry, and to go in different directions to help and lift up people who need it most, particularly women and children.