We had the good fortune of connecting with Tanya Fernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tanya, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
Honestly, I think you just kind of have this gut feeling inside of you that makes that decision for you (especially as an entrepreneur). Being a small business owner has put me in so many situations that have forced me to question my potential and force me to ask myself whether I should keep going in this industry or just throw in the towel and give up. I’ve shed my fair share of tears when certain designs/products of mine have flopped and certain visions that I had for my small business didn’t quite play out the way I wanted them to. But—I’ve always had this gut feeling (that little voice in my head if you will) that has consistently told me, “You can do it Tanya! If it challenges you, it’ll help you grow and if this is something you absolutely love, then you should keep at it”. You can rely on the supportive people in your life to hype you up and provide you with words of encouragement but, at the end of the day, only you know what you’re capable of. I really think it’s all up to you whether you want to believe in yourself or not.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
In Summer of 2020, I opened up my small business on Etsy called SoulSurfing. I had just graduated from CSUN with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a minor in Finance and had ended my Student Position as a Copywriter for the University Student Union’s Marketing Department at Cal State, Northridge. I felt like this was the perfect time to play around with my creativity and really give this small business journey (that I had always wanted to try out) a go. So, I created a brand that felt like an extension of my soul and—called it SoulSurfing! SoulSurfing is heavily inspired by my love for Los Angeles and coastal living. It’s a laid-back brand with a lived-in feel and there’s a little bit of something for just about everyone. SoulSurfing’s got hints of grunge and attitude while also having breaths of beach feels and chill vibes. I started SoulSurfing by selling original art prints and handmade pins, but have now expanded into selling stickers, jewelry, accessories, and even greeting cards! My hope for this brand is to one day expand even further into the clothing and apparel realm and one day even have my very own store-front right here in Los Angeles, California. If there’s one thing that being a small business owner has taught me, it’s that you’ve got to be your biggest fan! Take a good look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself that you’re just as capable as anyone else out there. As long as you believe in yourself, you can achieve greatness.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If we’re just trying to chill and enjoy the beauty of L.A., then we’re definitely grabbing some good grub in the SFV and then heading down to the coast. We’d swoop up some Thai Tea from It’s Boba Time and grab some delicious Pineapple Fried Rice from the best Thai spot in the valley, Lum-Ka-Naad. Once we’ve secured the goods, we’d take a drive out to Malibu and just chill on the sand as we watch the sun go down and listen to some good music. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The first person I’d like to shoutout is my boyfriend David. David is a laid-back lad who brews his own beer at home and has an adorable cat named Sophie. I’ve been with David for 8 years and, throughout those 8 years, David has shown me nothing but love and support. He’s constantly hyping me up and is always helping me out my with small business endeavors. Whether it’s coming up with cool captions for my Instagram posts, suggesting dope new products to add to my shop, or honestly just allowing me to talk his ear off about my small business—he’s extremely supportive and is so invested in seeing me succeed and grow within myself. The second person I’d like to shoutout is my nephew Eddie. We’re pretty close in age and have pretty much grown up together. He’s seen me at my best and has seen me at my worst—and somehow he has never lost faith in me. He’s the person I run to (and do a little victory dance with) whenever I get a new sale on Etsy and is the one person who reminds me that I can achieve anything I want in this world as long as I’m dedicated and TRULY believe in myself. He’s a pretty cool dude. I also can’t forget to shout-out my unbelievably supportive parents and siblings. My mom has always seemed to see more in me than I see in myself and my dad has always encouraged me to work hard with his sweet words, “Échale ganas, mija!”. I also can’t forget to thank my siblings for buying my art and sharing my shop with their friends. It means the world to me.