Trust the process and enjoy the journey. — Enjoy the failures, the lessons, and the small wins. It’s all a part of the process, and it’s going to shape you into who you are in both your business and personal life. The chances are that things aren’t going to go as planned, so be flexible and let things fall into place. If it’s meant for you, then it will be, and if it’s not, then something better is on the way. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason; the good and the bad will leads us to where we need to be!
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Solieri.
Amanda Solieri is a publicist and the Founder of Solieria LLC. Through positivity, determination, and her entrepreneurial mindset, she has always worked hard to succeed. From her early days working in retail to now leading her own company, Amanda is motivated to make something of herself. She thrives in multilingual environments and has big plans for her future. She is a Marist College graduate and is from Rockland County, NY.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was extremely shy as a little girl, and I can remember being afraid to even speak up in class! As I grew up, I became more confident in myself and started breaking out of my shell. I’m a strong woman today because strong women raised me. Ever since I was a child, my mother and my Abuelita have always reminded me that I’m capable of anything. No matter the situation, they’ve always encouraged me to be the strongest and most influential voice in the room, and to stand up for what I believe in. As powerful Latinas, they have shaped me into who I am today, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I grew up with a LOVE for fashion and accessories; I can credit this all to my stylish and incredible mom, who pursued a successful career in the fashion industry. She could spot trends way before they even happened, and I wish my 8-year-old self would’ve listened to her more often! I was always passionate about starting a business and making something for myself; I just didn’t know when the right time would be or how I would achieve it. Some of my entrepreneurial mindset also comes from my father, who owned his own business for several years.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” — Eleanor Roosevelt.
I love this quote because your dreams are what keep you going. They give you hope and courage. If you believe in yourself, then you can achieve your dreams. Great things take time, and if you don’t give up and lead with a positive mindset, you’re on the path to following your dreams. I believe in myself, and I will keep working until I achieve all of my dreams.
“El mundo cambia con tu ejemplo, no con tu opinión” — Paulo Coelho
This quote speaks to me because I believe that you always have to lead by example to make a difference. The world will not change solely by your opinions but by the actions that you take.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Before the pandemic began, you could find me working in an office full of POWERFUL and motivated people who were ready to take on the world and help others do the same. For years, I struggled with self-confidence, and sometimes I still do, but the fact that I have a job where I am surrounded by so many people who only want to see me succeed makes everything that much easier. By day, and sometimes by night, you can find me as your bilingual celebrity publicist. My job is exciting, and every day I have the opportunity to learn something new! When I met my incredible boss, Robyn Matarazzo, little did I know that she would change my life. She has become such a great mentor to me. I love what I do every day, and I credit that all to Robyn for creating such an amazing team. Many people can’t say they love their jobs, but I can say that I do, and it has helped me grow and become more confident in myself.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
For me, 2020 was filled with uncertainty, fear, but also growth. I doubted myself and my abilities, but I learned that I am, in fact, capable of anything that I believe in and put my heart into. During quarantine, I started my jewelry brand, Solieria. Solieria became the hope that I didn’t know that I needed. This time last year, I would’ve never guessed I would be standing here, beginning this venture, but in March 2020, when the quarantine began, a feeling of uncertainty and helplessness came over my life. Like many, I was not only afraid for the health of my family and friends, but I was also scared of what the future might hold. The world and all of our lives were changing so quickly, and I knew that I couldn’t sit around and wait for something to happen; I had to level-up and make it happen. At that moment, I pulled myself out of a negative mindset and channeled the power and strength I spent years building, and Solieria was born. I created this brand to be a symbol of strength, power, and resilience because I have found that the beauty of your own strength is that it appears when you need it most. I decided to start my own business in the middle of the pandemic because I knew I had to take a chance on myself. I’m starting small but dreaming big, and I hope to inspire others to step out of their comfort zone and try something new!
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
I think that I can say that I’ve had several “Aha moments” in the past few years that have led me to want to start my own business, but all it takes is one. The one where hundreds of ideas start flashing in your head at once. For me, it happened when we were all at home, staying safe and quarantining. For months, I had wanted to go through old boxes and donate clothes that I no longer used, so this extra time was the perfect opportunity. As I opened the boxes, I couldn’t believe I had saved so many things from my childhood. Anyone else would’ve believed these boxes were full of junk, but it was flooded with memories for me. One of the small boxes was filled with old broken gold chains that I used to buy from popular clothing stores. Throughout middle school and high school, I loved to take apart the chains and switch the charms on all of my necklaces. By doing this, it felt like I always had brand new jewelry on. I stared at the boxes and it felt like a light bulb turned on in my head, and I was thinking, “Wow, I should look into starting a jewelry business.” A week went by, and I kept thinking of what it would be like if I started selling my own jewelry. I had seen many people do it on Instagram, and I wondered if anyone would even buy things that I designed and curated. Have you ever wanted to do something but found every excuse not to? I came up with every excuse in the book on why I shouldn’t start my own jewelry business. I shared my ideas with my boyfriend, Randy, and without hesitation, he told me to go for it, and then asked, “When will you ever have this much extra time again?” Right then and there, it was done. I was doing it because if not now, then when?
How are things going with this new initiative?
Everything is going great so far for Solieria! I surpassed my monthly sales goals in less than a week after my launch and already restocked two of my favorite necklaces in the collection! In order to succeed, I think it’s all about finding a balance between your career, your passion projects, and your personal life. Sometimes we can find ourselves mixing the three together, but when you find a way to keep them separate, it really gives you a chance to take a break when you need it most.
I look forward to watching Solieria grow during this next year! I am blown away by the support I have received. I will never forget Solieria’s first few weeks in business. I am so grateful.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My incredible mother. I’m sure many people say that they’re grateful for their parents, but TRULY, my mother is a superhero. I am so thankful to have her by my side, helping in everything that I do. She is a huge inspiration behind this brand. She has always believed in my dreams and pushed me to follow them! She knew that I could achieve anything, even when I didn’t think that I could. The month leading up to my launch was filled with obstacles, but she was right there with me, helping me jump over each one. My packaging materials were supposed to arrive the day before my brand launch, but they were delayed. I ordered from a reputable company, and I was optimistic that I would receive the materials on time after speaking with customer service the week prior. At around 9 AM, 24 hours before my brand launch date, I checked the tracking information on my order, where I found that it had still not been shipped. I gave the company a call right away, and the representative informed me that there was a problem and I wasn’t going to receive the order on time. After hanging up, I sat there in disbelief at the thought that I had been working so hard and there was going to be a missing piece. With tears in my eyes, I began debating what to do next, and I looked over to my mom and said, “I don’t think this is going to work. Maybe this is a sign?” She took one look at me and said, “No, it’s not.” She quickly unlocked her phone and jumped into action. Within 10 minutes, she had called a local family-owned print shop named MinuteMan Press in Nanuet, NY, and they agreed to have everything printed by the end of the day! By 6 PM, I had all of the materials, and I was ready. I couldn’t be more grateful to have my mom by my side during all of the craziness. She got me through that day, and I know she will get me through plenty more.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
I decided to name Solieria’s first collection, The Powerful You Collection, and that was because throughout 2020, I had to rediscover my own strength, power, and resilience. Each piece of the collection symbolizes something that I needed to hear while building the business. Through the difficult days, I had to remind myself to stay locked in on my goals, focus my energy on my blessings, hold on to my vision, and level up. As people started reading about my collection and about what Solieria means to me, I began receiving messages from friends, family, friends of friends, etc., saying that my message with this collection was something that they also needed to hear and be reminded of. I wanted my pieces to make my customers feel powerful and to remind them of their resilience. I didn’t expect to hear anyone actually say anything; it was so interesting and rewarding to hear this reaction. It made all of the late nights worth it and reminded me to continue putting my heart into everything I do.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1.Trust the process and enjoy the journey.
Enjoy the failures, the lessons, and the small wins. It’s all a part of the process, and it’s going to shape you into who you are in both your business and personal life. The chances are that things aren’t going to go as planned, so be flexible and let things fall into place. If it’s meant for you, then it will be, and if it’s not, then something better is on the way. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason; the good and the bad will leads us to where we need to be!
2. Be proud of yourself because you are powerful and resilient!
Don’t let other people’s successes minimize your own! Be proud of your own accomplishments. We live in a time where we are constantly comparing our lives to others on social media! Don’t be discouraged by someone else’s achievements, be inspired by them, and make your own path. If you’re doing your best, then be proud of it. I guarantee you have people that are proud of you that you don’t even know about! Be patient with your journey and trust the beauty of becoming.
3. Don’t wait until you’re ready, do it now!
If I waited until I was ready, I probably would’ve never started. Sometimes you just have to jump into something even if you’re scared it might not work out! You truly never know what you’re capable of until you give it a try! I learned that there are no limits to what you can achieve, so just start now!
4. Focus on your goals and execute them.
“Where focus goes, energy flows.” I always repeat this quote in my head all of the time. If you focus on the wrong things, then you’re giving energy to something that isn’t important or isn’t going to help you succeed; but if you focus on your goals, then that’s going to get you somewhere.
5. You’re not going to have all the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
This is a big piece of advice that I should’ve listened to when I first started my business. There aren’t any wrong questions; if you don’t know, ask! I had so many legal questions, tax questions, and general business questions that were floating around in my head until I built up the courage to ask someone. Successful people were once in your shoes asking someone else how to start an LLC, so take the chance and ask them yourself. We all start from the bottom — the journey to the top is determined by how willing you are to learn from others in the beginning.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
2020 was such a challenging and painful year for so many people. I made several changes in my life to ensure I was protecting my mental health. For me to stay focused on my goals and not let the news throw me off; there were three things that I followed that allowed me to make my mental health a priority:
1. Keep reminding yourself not to stress over things that are out of your control
As 2020 progressed, the news just kept getting worse and worse. Waking up to terrible news headlines was becoming hard for me to deal with mentally. I began telling myself not to stress over things that were out of my control. One day, I finally started listening and began actively focusing on other things that would make me happy.
2. Put your phone down
I recently saw a meme that said, “Sorry if I responded to your message 32 seconds after you sent it, I literally haven’t set my phone down since March.” I felt like, WOW, same here. During my free time from March-June, I was on my cell phone constantly. I was always connected by swiping between Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Pinterest. At one point, I finally realized I needed to relax and disconnect. Sometimes it’s just time to put your phone away. Your followers will be there when you open your phone again. And if they’re not, then hey, maybe they should’ve never been a part of your journey in the first place.
3. Take a few extra moments for yourself!
Take an extra-long shower. Watch another episode of The Office, even if it’s getting late. Sit in your car for an extra minute before you get out. Listen to that song again. Life is so short and is passing us by so quickly. Take that extra moment for yourself. I started taking a few extra seconds to enjoy the moment, and it’s made all the difference.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would love to inspire more people to lead with love! Leading with love means that you’re working to improve yourself and others. We should always be working to make ourselves better and the people around us better. The more people that lead with love, the more love and positivity we’ll have in the world. I also think that leading with love is the key to leadership success. If you lead with your heart, success will follow. This world could use a lot more love and compassion. If I could encourage more people to lead with love and inspire other leaders to do the same, I believe that will make a difference in the world.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I would absolutely love the opportunity to have lunch with Michelle Obama. Through her strength and resilience, she has inspired change in so many people and has served as a remarkable role model. I admire her confidence and the way she stands up for what she believes in. She has so much faith in my generation and wants to empower young people in any way that she can. I would be honored to have lunch with her and listen to her ideas about what I can do to begin empowering and inspiring my generation and the ones to follow.
How can our readers follow you online?
They can follow Solieria on Instagram at @Solieriaco!
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!