What is the story of Valuxxo?
From the beginning, the goal was to become much more than just a men’s fashion and beauty brand. In fact, Valuxxo is the result of a long journey of self-discovery and unfettered self-expression that began when I was a small child in Italy and continued into my adulthood when I moved to England, hardly knowing a single word of English, and everything I’ve accomplished since then to learn about the world of fashion and beauty that I so desperately wanted to be a major part of.
To make a long story short, Valuxxo is a brand, a name, a human and it is about finding the freedom to be yourself, to be at your best for yourself. Sometimes, that’s harder than it seems. Sometimes, the world puts pressure on us to be something inauthentic or to hide the most important and deepest parts of ourselves. Even in the most modern, accepting, and progressive parts of the world, countless people struggle with understanding and expressing themselves. Why does it have to be this way? There are many reasons this happens, but often the primary reason is that there are people and institutions at work in their lives that make them feel uncomfortable being themselves.
I wanted to share my story to show everyone that no matter where you come from and what difficulties you face being yourself in life, there are steps you can take to overcome them. My story was hard, but overcoming my challenges is what gave me the strength and ambition to start Valuxxo as a product of my genuine identity – including my sexuality and my passion and love for beauty, fashion, and skincare for men like me.
I come from a small town in Sicily close to the sea, where I lived for many years as the youngest of three brothers. Ever since I was a kid, I knew my family environment was not a healthy one. My father was an alcoholic who abused and cheated on my mother, constantly coming home drunk and acting violently throughout most of my childhood. I developed a strong sense of distrust and dislike for my father as my mother was sent to the hospital many times from his abuse of her.
And the worst part was that, as much as she wanted to, my mother was powerless to escape the situation because she had no job or money and was completely subdued emotionally by my overbearing father. So, I grew up seeing a very strong dichotomy between my father – strong, violent, and having no respect for the family at all, and my mother – poor, powerless, and lacking her own agency.
As a teenager, I wasn’t much happier than I was as a child. I didn’t smile very often. I wasn’t living the kind of fun and carefree life that teenagers are supposed to have. I know that things could have been much worse than they were for me, but at that time, I didn’t think much about the world outside my life. All I could see was that I was stuck with my family, my poor situation at home, and my own issues.
Around this time is when I fully began to discover my latent sexuality and the frustration that came from not being able to fully express myself as a gay man. A had a few friends who were very supportive, and for that, I am very grateful, but on the whole, I felt very repressed by the combination of having to hide my sexuality and the problems going on with my parents at home.
After a while, these problems began to express themselves in me as my own form of alcoholism, like my father before me. Almost every time I went out with friends, I ended up drinking more than I could handle. My problem with alcohol got so bad that it put me into a coma on three separate occasions. I knew deep down that I was abusing myself in this way because I still wasn’t happy. Alcohol was my easiest escape from the situation. It allowed me to temporarily forget about everything. Of course, that didn’t help. It only made things worse for me because I still had to deal with the reality of my life.
When I started college, I had a very difficult time being able to concentrate on my education. I was still struggling with my personal problems. I had no firm and consistent sense of identity. At the same time, my mother finally decided to split up with my father, and I made the decision along with my brothers to move in with her and support her during this difficult time of finally being free and on her own.
After dropping out of college, I did many small jobs to pay for my own expenses. Unfortunately, my mother eventually decided to get back together with my father. I moved with her back into his house to continue to support her. Of course, it still wasn’t a safe and positive environment for me there. It wasn’t the kind of place I wanted to be, and I was finally ready to accept that fact. I realized then that I needed to get away from my toxic home environment for good and finally embrace who I really was on my own terms.
The Monumental Move to England
In 2012, I sold my car and used the money to finally set out on my own. I didn’t know where I was going next, but I knew I could not continue to live a life that wasn’t truly mine. I saw clearly that everything around me was wrong for me, especially the unhealthy people in my life, like my family. I realized quickly that I wanted to take this opportunity to learn more about myself and experience the world. I wanted to go somewhere where I could learn about new cultures and new ways of seeing the world. I wanted to finally feel safe and accepted in the world. I wanted to learn new languages, especially English because I loved translating the English lyrics of my favourite American singers like Christina Aguilera. I wanted to be able to listen to her songs and understand the meaning of them fully the first time I heard them without having to meticulously translate the words, English was also my favourite language to learn at school and it was used everywhere in the world of Fashion and Beauty so, that’s how I initially got the inspiration to move to the United Kingdom.
The first English city I lived in was Brighton, where I worked as an assistant hairdresser while I practised my very basic English skills. Even under those limited circumstances, I finally started earning money and seeing the world beyond the uncomfortable house I came from. Despite the difficulties, I was already much happier than I ever had been with my family and being in the new environment, interacting with people almost entirely in a new language, challenged me and forced me to grow that nothing back home had ever done before. It was hard, but I knew it was the right path for me to overcome my troublesome past.
That’s when I began to study fashion styling and image consulting. I figured that I might as well practise my English on something I truly loved, and it was becoming very clear to me that my passions resided with fashion, styling, and beauty. I started to become a new person from that point onward, someone who felt more and more like myself. I started being inspired by art, beauty, and the people all around me. Something was changing in me. I was becoming more confident. I was becoming a better person too.
I decided to leave Brighton then because I was ready to enter a city environment with more business opportunities. I felt I needed to do more. I needed to put myself out there. I needed to see something bigger and experience something bigger because I knew that inside me there was something, something I did not have the opportunity to explore before, I knew I wanted more… So I went to London and I applied to work for a company that managed backstage fashion shows and beauty events for big brands. I got to know many people in the fashion industry and in the music industry from this experience. It was completely a different world in a world that I really, really loved.
I was finally beginning to be able to leave my faulty past behind. I started feeling better and better with my own sexuality, identity, and everything. I started to be more myself. I decided then that I was finally ready to come out, regardless of what my family or the rest of the world might think. I was finally discovering myself, discovering what I wanted to do in life, who I wanted to be and how I wanted to be in my life.
Things finally started to get better with my mother and brothers once I found out who I really was and what I wanted. I never did speak to my father again, though. I knew now finally that I was better off without him being in my life. I don’t hate him or anything like that, I am actually very thankful because if I am here now following my path, seeing my dream coming through maybe it is also for him. I still wanted to have a relationship with my mother and brothers because they were supportive of the changes I was going through and how I was putting myself out there. There is a mutual respect that exists between us and even if we are very different in the way we live life and how we deal with things in life, I have lots of love and respect for them.
As I delved more into fashion and beauty, backstage madness, shows, events etc… I saw more and more opportunities to improve the way things were done. At the end of every workday, I was going home and studying, doing research on everything I could about fashion, beauty, about design and how to create my own business. I felt I needed to do something. I needed to present my message to the world through my own brand and my own genuine self. A brand needs to have a compelling story created from the truth of the values of the people behind it. So, I started thinking about why I was really doing this, and my purpose became clear. I wanted to tell a story through my brand, I wanted to create something pure, real, genuine and something that reflects the person I became because I have so much to say because there is so much I want to share, so much inside of my brain.
Once I found myself, all my passion, ambition, and strength came into action, and I decided to create a brand to represent what I wanted to say to the world. That’s where my inspiration for my blog Valextino came from. It became a place to give tips and hints about fashion, styling, and grooming, but also a message of hope to people who had struggled like me to take care of themselves.
The Birth of Valuxxo
I believe that it’s very important to always work toward trying to be your best self for your own sake and not for others. I do what I do for my own sake, for my own fulfilment. Beauty matters a great deal to me and my sense of identity. When I look at the mirror, I’m really happy to see myself looking happier and healthier than I ever did during my difficult early years before I was able to express myself. I really love looking fashionable and well-groomed. I like to inspire others to do the same. Instead of dressing well and taking care of your looks to appeal to vanity and show off for others, you can do it for yourself, It’s an amazing feeling. That’s what Valuxxo is all about.
Beyond the blog, I knew that I wanted to create my own clothing and skincare brand. I’ve always been very into skincare and eating well or at least trying my best to do so. I’m very careful about what I put in my body or on my skin. I care about sustainability, and I want to do things in the way I know is best and true to myself. I wanted both the ingredients used in my products and the packaging they come in to represent sustainable and natural things that I could wholeheartedly support.
Valuxxo is the name my mother used to call me as a child, well, still now… It’s one of the few positive things that came from my early family life and has stuck in my mind until now. Using the name for my fashion and skincare brand is part of an internal revolution for me. It’s taking something profoundly negative from my past and finding the good in it, and then spreading that good to the world. I seek to inspire others to learn to love themselves for who they are, without caring about what others think about them but caring about their true self, their image, their values. That’s my message. I want everyone to be as fully self-expressed as possible. I want people to have no shame about who they are. There is no shame in being who we are and it’s through a form of artistic self-expression and creativity combined with experience, knowledge and talented human beings that I want to share it.
Everything Valuxxo represents comes from personal life experience and principles that I believe down to the core. I believe that the essence of life is found in nature, community, and artistic self-expression. I believe that every human deserves to feel great in their own skin or when they look in the mirror and decide how they are going to present themselves to the world. That’s what living for yourself (and not society or what someone else would pressure you to live for) really looks like.
In the end, what we care about most is taking care of ourselves, both inside and out. Your appearance and your emotions can be inextricably linked. The way you see yourself affects the way the rest of the world sees you and vice versa. The quality of your skin and the fashion you adorn yourself are some of the biggest components of your external appearance to yourself and the world. So, for that reason, I know how important it is that people seeking the fullest self-expression get access to the highest quality products that will enable them to do that.
For that reason, everything Valuxxo makes and offers adheres to strict standards of quality in sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution. We embody our values through everything we do, and that’s what we encourage our customers to do as well. Just like I learned to embody my fullest authentic identity by removing the toxic and inauthentic elements from my life and by following my dream, my passion and my emotions, we believe that every human can be empowered to do the same. It all begins with the choices we make.
Why “For Men”
The reason Valuxxo is a brand for men it’s because it’s a product of my own genuine authenticity and it fully represents me personally and professionally, it allows me to use my inner creativity to the fullest and this is something that motivates me every single day to create the best for myself and for my clients in the best possible way and with the greatest quality because I deserve it and so you do!