Lisa Vogl co-founded her fashion brand, Verona Collection, while she was a stay-at-home mother of two, but her path to success was not an easy journey.
While Verona Collection can be found at Macy’s along with the popular online store, ASOS, Vogl first began her career in the corporate world as a mortgage consultant.
And while it was not a perfect fit, she decided to go back to school for photography. It was in that time she discovered Islam and converted a year later in 2011.
It was not long after that Vogl was married and had her first child. “I was doing photo shoots in Africa, Europe, and all over North America. I was traveling nonstop, then became a mom, and my lifestyle really changed.” She then decided to sell her photography equipment and put her attention on family life.
But when Vogl had her second child, she began to think about her next move and finding a career she loved.
“I think sometimes as moms, we feel guilty that we’re not giving 100 percent of our time to our children,” says Vogl. “But what I learned in a very short time is that if I’m not fulfilled and if I’m not happy, I can’t be the best mom.”
The idea began when Vogl began to wear the hijab in 2010 and she found it challenging to find just what she needed.
“The hijab is not just the headscarf,” she reveals. “It requires you to wear looser clothing and cover down to the wrist and down to the ankles. It became very difficult to find nice clothing that was still affordable and modest, that all went together and actually looked good.”
It took quite a bit of time to find all the right pieces that went together.
And when Vogl met her co-founder, Alaa Ammuss, in 2014, they discovered how they had both wanted to create a similar brand, and decided to join forces.
“It really came down to there was a need, and we filled it,” says Vogl. “We really wanted to give women, and Muslim women specifically, the confidence to be proud of who they are and if they choose to wear the hijab, wear it with pride,” she shares.
And in 2015, the two began Verona Collection with an investment of $3,500 each, starting with four hijab styles — they did every step themselves.
“We were literally shipping out of our closets,” she recalls. The launch soon sold out in a matter of weeks. “The company just grew from there,” Vogl says. But then, Vogl suddenly became a single mom.
“My ex-husband and I separated in 2015,” Vogl says. And while he did agree to financially support her and the kids for a year, when she discovered separation would turn into divorce, Vogl realized she needed to get her finances in order long-term.
“Overnight, I had to really put my heart and soul into Verona. It started out as something that I loved and something that I was hoping to be successful. It wasn’t necessarily meant to provide for me and my kids. And that’s what it became.”
It wasn’t until 2018 when the brand’s big break came and Macy began carrying the collection.
“It was amazing for the community because it wasn’t just about filling a need, it was also that Muslim women and hijabi women were represented on a larger scale,” she says. “That alone was a huge win for us and for our community.”
Thanks to the brand’s success, Vogl is proud to have financial security for her family. When asked about the moment she was able to answer her question about having enough money, Vogl states: “I can’t even tell you the feeling.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.