Let me introduce Whitney Valverde, the winner of the Best Blogger category of my Women are B.E.S.T awards this year.
The awards were set up to celebrate my Narnia year! Leaving corporate life I found that the world of networking had transformed since the 1990s. Women’s networking had morphed into a supportive and collaborative environment.
I guess that I wanted to do a sound check and test to see if it was just something that I was feeling or if other women genuinely wanted to celebrate other women’s successes and not be jealous or feel threatened by it.
I set up the Women are B.E.S.T awards and asked for nominees across 6 categories. Then voting began to determine the winner of each category. The prize for the winner of each category was to work in collaboration with me on a project that we would agree together.
It took three months for Whitney and I to meet and start to plan our collaboration. Why? Whitney loves London but isn’t so keen on our winter weather.
Her career as a full-time blogger allows her to work from anywhere in the world so Whitney returns to her native Costa Rica to escape the wet and chilly days of London in Winter!
I first met Whitney at Scarlett Dixon’s Bloggers Festival last year. I was struck by her professionalism, passion and exotic beauty.
As we began to talk I really wanted to learn more about her her life and how she’d travelled half way round the world from a country I knew so little about to start a new life.
The success that Whitney enjoys today is down to an incredible amount of hard work which took three years before she was able to give up her ‘day job’. Most bloggers write on a part-time basis while working or studying.
Fanfare and drumroll please! ….
To formally announce the collaboration between Want Her Outfit and Whitney’s Wonderland, I want to say a huge thank you to Whitney for taking time out of her schedule to join me in conversation.
Whitney’s background and her journey are really interesting, along with her tips for blogging and the future of blogging that I’m going to share Whitney’s story in 3 parts. This post is about Whitney’s amazing childhood in Costa Rica and her journey to the UK.
Hi everybody! I am Whitney Valverde, Founder & Editor of the fashion and lifestyle blog www.whitneyswonderland.com .
I have been working full-time as a blogger for the past year but my blog is almost 3 years old!
I focus on both luxury & affordable luxury items because that is what has always inspired me to write!
I work with many well-established brands, as well as new up and coming designs and labels that I seek out and recommend to my readers!
This may sound a bit corny but I developed my passion for fashion when I was a child. I used to dress my Barbie dolls with the help of my grandmother, a well-respected seamstress in a little town in Costa Rica.
2. Costa Rica appears to be an amazing place, extremely exotic but what was it like growing up there?
I can only thank my parents for creating a home filled with love and laughter! My childhood for want of a better word was an absolute wonderland!
My parents are academics working for a large multinational, so untypically we lived in a large private residential area reserved for the people who worked at that company.
The community was more multicultural than the UN, with children from all over the world. This means I have friends from France, Guyana, several across Africa, Finland, USA, Canada… And of course, Costa Rica!
So I was lucky because we were only 12 kids in my class and we were all good friends. The whole school had less than 80 students, it was an extremely safe environment and very family oriented.
We moved to the city when I was 10. This was the perfect time to start to mix with a wider social circle!
Costa Rica is a beautiful country to grow up. Education is one of the areas that Costa Rica punches well above its weight, arguably the best in the whole of Latin America!
Regarding work, there are opportunities in some sectors but unfortunately, not so much in most of the others. Medicine, Graphic Design, and Programming do very well, but then again that’s everywhere right now, isn’t it?!
Fashion is growing and a lot and people are appreciating it much more. However, the economy is not very strong and the average person does not have money to spend on luxury. This means there is not a huge market for bloggers.
Blogging is definitely not a full-time job if you live in CR. However, there is a small blogging community that likes sharing love for fashion.
3. Whitney, you went to university in Costa Rica – tell us about your studies and your plans after university?
At 17 I went to University to get my first degree which was in English and linguistics, hence (hopefully) you can follow some of my more rambling thought processes!
Once I finished my first degree, after having studied Arts and Literature at an art high school, I felt the need to do something creative. Fashion had always been my passion, so I pursued my second degree in Fashion Design.
The reality was I left Costa Rica because I had finished school and was looking out for inspiration.
I lived in France for a while when I was 18, and developed a strong love for Europe. I had always been inspired by the romance of the different cultures and of course the fact you guys have seasons!
In Costa Rica we have summer for 5 months and rain for the rest! So after a lot of thought I went for London over Paris as I had met my British gentleman in Costa Rica and had already fallen madly in love with him!
Once I arrived in London, I knew I had made the right decision! London has so much to offer, there’s inspiration around every corner and now I’m madly in love with London as well!
I started my blog then while taking some short fashion course at London College of Fashion. I wanted to keep writing and immersing myself in the culture and fashion and my blog seemed like a great way to share this excitement and passion with the world!
In the next part of our Conversation we’ll look at how Whitney began her blog and her tips for anyone looking to start blogging. Sign up to my newsletter to get an update when the other parts to this exclusive interview is published! But for now, take a trip to Whitney’s Wonderland. If you love her blog then please vote for her.