Evolving Organically – Virginia Gonzales

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As moms, we have evolved through the years out of our crazy 20s into a more responsible version of ourselves (maybe?). But now, in our 40s, when the kids are getting older and less dependent on us (and more expensive), what’s a mom to do?  Virginia Gonzales, owner of Chairs Downstairs and Remnants, A Bag Co. has an answer – “we evolve organically.”
According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, the definition of “evolve” is to “change or develop slowly, often into a better, more complex, or more advanced state.”  Virginia represents a mom who has done just that.
From a full time nurse, she transitioned to part-time with the birth of her second child.  Once their third child was born, Virginia’s family moved into a larger house which she needed to furnish.  She became obsessed with shopping for chairs, but always felt that the ones she found were missing the right fabric.  So, she started collecting chairs and signed up for an upholstery class to make her own.  She loved it so much, she apprenticed with an upholsterer for  two years.  Then, she posted two of her chairs to Facebook, which sold quickly.
Virginia decided to start her own side-hustle.  She rented the space below her mom’s interior design studio and named her company ChairsDownstairs.  I asked Virginia if she had been nervous about starting her own company.

Yes!  The biggest thing is the self doubt.  Is it good enough? Am I taking time away from my family?  Will I be a financial burden?  The truth is I’m a better mom and wife because of it.  I get so inspired.  I feel happy to use this other side of my brain,  and I’m making my own money.
The great thing about doing a side-hustle is that you can control your own growth. When I feel overwhelmed I scale back, but when I feel inspired, I create more inventory.

As she continued to reupholster and sell these modern, vintage chairs, she noticed she had a lot of material remnants leftover.

Last summer, I had the idea of a using the remnants to make a foldover clutch.  I made it, took a picture, and posted it to Facebook.  It sold that day!

And so she began using more of her remnants to make various sizes of bags including clutches, travel totes, and bangles, selling them under the label remnants, a bag company.
As her business evolves organically, Virginia has found that Remnants has taken over the majority of her time. But she’s quick to add that she still loves her chairs and designs those when she’s feeling inspired.
What do her kids think about her side-hustle?

My daughter came home one day telling me that she saw some women she didn’t know with one of my purses downtown.  And she was proud.

So, how does she manage a family, career, and her own business?

I find that when you are focused and busy, the rest of your life becomes more organized, and the less chaotic life becomes –  if that makes sense?

And when I thought about it, it does make sense.

For more information on Virginia’s two “side-hustles”, you can visit her website www.chairsdownstairs.com and to see her latest collection of Remnants, go to her store on Etsy or stop in  at SHED Boutique and Wellness in downtown Chagrin Falls.


Since this article was posted in 2017, Virginia has evolved further focusing most of her attention on remnants a bag company.  Her new URL is www.remnantsabagcompany.com

Photo Cred:

Charles Dakota Photography.  Information available at https://www.facebook.com/charlesdakotaphotography/

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  1. […] look back at our top posts for the year.  Topping the chart for one of our most viewed posts was Evolving Organically which featured Virginia Gonzales and her two start-up companies Chairs Downstairs and Remnants […]