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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 07 June 2021
  • Public Relations

5 Ways Fernando Volken Togni Makes his Small Business Work

Fernando Volken Togni is a Brazillian illustrator, graphic designer and small business owner living in London. The city’s energy inspires Fernando’s work for brands like Google, Harvard Business, The Oscars, TimeOut NY, and now, UPS. He designed and illustrated the limited-edition Pride 2021 envelope titled “Love Delivered” and featured in the Proudly Unstoppable program presented by UPS.

Now he’s sharing some of his creative wisdom for entrepreneurs to incorporate into their small business strategies.

Trusting your gut and others

Fernando Volken Togni

"What you have in your head will always take you wherever you want to go. You just need to trust your gut."

Nobody knows what you need better than you, and letting passion drive your decisions can lead to inspiring work. Creating a strategy that honors your unique vision creates a bold business and a product that stands out.

However, Fernando also notes how important it is to surround yourself with trustworthy, forward-thinking people: “You need to be surrounded with people that you trust and then they push you forward.”

If you’re the smartest, most creative person in a room, then you need to find a new room.

Surrounding yourself with smart, creative people is a great way to fuel your own intelligence and creativity.

Taking risks

It’s a risk to start any new venture, but that doesn’t mean it has to be scary. Without risk, there can’t be success, and for Fernando that meant leaving everything behind to start over in a new country halfway around the world.

“[My biggest risk] was just leaving Brazil and going to a totally different country. Trying to start from scratch in a place that I didn't even know if I could make a living. It goes back to that idea that you have to believe in what you do.”

It’s one thing to have the seeds of ambition, but continued belief in your mission along with sustained drive and determination, in the face of risks, are all necessary for success.

Finding his personal style

Developing a distinct and creative voice was another key component to Fernando’s success, and he found his voice by embracing his influences. He imitated styles he loved until they transformed into something unique.

“I think it's just constant repetition. Someone once told me, you should copy, copy, copy until you find something that's yours,” Fernando said.

His illustrative style didn’t form overnight, and he says that through imitating works he admired, he discovered a new style that’s truly his own.

The best advice he’s ever gotten

Someone once told me, “Be a factory, not a warehouse.” Meaning, I needed to constantly create, to exercise my own art and not just focus on creating a great portfolio.

Perhaps surprisingly, another strong piece of advice Fernando received wasn’t about art or design, but rather a simple yet important fact of business: it’s all about the numbers.

“Get a great accountant. Being an artist is a business and you need to have a good financial advisor. It took me ages to figure that out.”

Creativity is wonderful, and if you want your business to flourish, you have to spend less than you earn.

Connection to the PRIDE Community

Inclusivity is about community, and Fernando brings that mindset to the UPS Express Envelope design for Pride month.

“I simply designed it with an open mind. The LGBTQ+ community is whole and interconnected so I wanted to create this rainbow connecting everything.”

Pride is a celebration not just of community, but of love, acceptance and perseverance. These are qualities Fernando admires and brings to his own work.

“June is gay pride month in the U.S., a month that I love, that I always celebrated. I’ve learned how to be even more positive in times of struggle.”

Success comes in many colors and orientations, but Fernando’s advice applies to any entrepreneur starting a small business.

For more small business advice, keep checking back and follow us on social media!

Our series features insights from small business owners across the country.

Read more about the Proudly Unstoppable program.

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