We had the good fortune of connecting with Anne Soliguen-Vera Cruz and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Anne, what role has risk played in your life or career?
In life, I think that there are risks that are inevitable, and then there are risks that, even with planning, we either fail or succeed at. Oftentimes we beat ourselves up when we take a risk and it fails…I know I’ve had my fair share of these moments. As an entrepreneur, every step toward success is a risk – “How do I want to portray myself?”, “Will people like what I’m creating?”, “What if no one buys anything?”, “I should’ve posted the other picture, maybe it would’ve gotten more likes”, “What if someone gives me a bad review?”…the “what if” and the “should’ve” list goes on. These are all questions that I cycle through even after years of being a Creative. I think of risks as opportunities. Do I take the opportunity or not take the opportunity? And the important thing is “what do I do with the outcome of these opportunities?” For me, I know focusing my energy on a failure won’t help me get to my destination, my end goal. Instead, I take it as a learning opportunity. What can I learn from this, and how can I move forward. When creating GandA Creations and starting an Etsy shop, it was a risk I was unsure I could handle. I was already in my head filled with anxiety about other responsibilities I had on my plate. The thing I’ve come to realize though, is that risk-taking is a process. A process that if I don’t start now, then when? Along the way, I’ve learned from my mistakes and make changes to constantly improve. Sometimes we don’t know what we’re capable of accomplishing unless we take the risk. I try to keep the mindset of finding something positive from failed attempts and move forward from there. Easier said than done, but it’s a process I continue working on everyday.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
GandA Creations is a Filipina owned small business that strives to create beauty in uniquely designed, personalized, and customized gifts. Pronounced “gahn-da”, in Tagalog, this means “beauty”. The “G” and “A” are capitalized to stand for my husband’s name, Greg, and my name, Anne….“G” and “A”. Most of my designs have been inspired from friends – asking for a custom design that speaks to their personality. I’ll always try to create products that emit a feeling of beauty or uniqueness, hence the meaning behind GandA Creations. I’ve always been a big believer in giving gifts with meaning and intention…something personalized that the giftee would enjoy time and time over again. I’m a full time Behavior Therapist for kids with autism and a part time Creative. Because GandA Creations is part time, I wouldn’t say my business is exactly where I’d like it to be and it definitely hasn’t been smooth sailing to get to this point. It’s years of trial and error, a lot of second guessing, and a lot of “imposter syndrome” feelings. The Coronavirus pandemic has certainly posed a challenge to my business. Being that the majority of my sales were bachelorette-party and wedding related, the pandemic had postponed many weddings and put a halt on those product sales. My in-home behavior therapy session hours were drastically decreased, but this part-time business has been a blessing, allowing me to generate some additional income in this unsure circumstance. Taking on a more positive mindset has been helpful in getting past these roadblocks. Over time, I’ve learned that instead of beating myself up when something doesn’t go as planned, I learn from the experience and figure out how to move forward. Someone once told me, it’s only a failure if I’m afraid to pick myself back up to keep going.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Taking into consideration the Coronavirus pandemic that we’re dealing with, this itinerary would obviously work if there was no pandemic. Sunny San Diego is well known for their amazing weather and sunset view beaches. We’d probably start off the week by exploring the outdoors, hiking at Potato Chip Rock, taking a stroll in Seaport Village, and dinner with a sunset view. If it was during summertime, I’d probably pack up a picnic and we’d double date and go check out one of the San Diego Symphony Bayside concerts. We’d also grab drinks at the bars in North Park or Little Italy and check out the many Asian dessert shops along Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa. To be honest, there’s so many nooks and crannies in San Diego that even I have yet to explore!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
God takes the ultimate credit for my “wins” in life. When I take risks, I don’t “wish” to get what I want. I pray for patience, for guidance, and for the mindset to lead me to the path he created for me. But with prayer, also takes planning and action. For planning and action, I’d have to thank my husband. He’s the one who pushed me to attend leadership conferences with him and motivated me to read more personal development books in the past couple years. He’s the one who encourages me to take risks and is my crutch when I’m feeling overwhelmed. With prayer, planning, and action, there’s also support and I’ve been blessed to have continuous support from family and friends. They’ve always been the first in line to purchase my products, promote my business, refer me to others, and cheer for my successes.

Website: www.etsy.com/shop/GandACreationsShop
Instagram: @GandA.Creations
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/annesoliguenveracruz