Valerie Bernal is the Founder Parker & Talia and this week’s Woman in Business Featured Interview for WE Magazine for Women

Tell us about your business 

I have a baby and kids sensory friendly lifestyle brand, sold online at . All clothing is designed to be sensory friendly and made in super soft bamboo fabric. Our accessories are game changers for school age kids that have sensory challenges, and just need a little something to fidget with or chew on that can help them focus. And we even have some products that Occupational therapists LOVE to use when treating their sensory sensitive patients, like the “Therapy Dough” which is basically aromatherapy mixed with playdough.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

Being a business owner is equally important as oxygen to me. I have always had this need to help people, and I finally have that through my business. I get to help a community of children that are severely under-served by the fashion industry, and I can give back to organizations that are like minded through my Parker Collection—which is a collection of clothing that features artwork made by my son, and proceeds go to organizations that fund pediatric mental health for those in need. My start into entrepreneurship is not as noble, after working over 15 years as a fashion designer and experiencing all the abuse and horrible business practices that go hand and hand with the industry—I just had enough and wanted to carve out a space where I can support myself and do some good. I also wanted to prove to myself that fashion is not all bad, and hopefully bring some awareness to areas that are largely ignored by the fashion industry. Inclusive clothing is finally becoming a buzzword, but we are still not including nearly enough groups of people.

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

My greatest influence in business has definitely been my children. Both of my kids have sensory sensitivities, and I did not want to design for an industry that does not care about them. I want so much change in our world for them, so this is where I’m starting.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

The first review about my seamless toe socks. A grandmother was so grateful for my socks, she said her grandson was unable to wear socks at all and this has pained the whole family for years. He finally wears socks now and is COMFORTABLE thanks to my socks. It really made me tear up, to have helped even 1 child and their family is really why I do what I do.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?

Do not take our credit card debt or high interest loans, at all! I started my business by pretty much maxing out a bunch of credit cards that I was sure I would be able to pay back within the no-interest grace period…well that was not the case, and I was then left with a ridiculous amount of high interest debt. I really wish I would have started smaller and taken on less debt.

What is your relationship with social media

It honestly feels like work most of the time. I like interacting with the community, but when dealing with all the algorithms and the Advertising—it’s really not my thing, but it is a necessary part of business these days, so I am still trying to master it through a lot of trial and error.

What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?

Connecting with-in my local community of parents has been key. I have thrown a small brunch for my local “moms” group, reached out to local schools and participated in their fairs and festivals. Really just connecting with people face to face is much better than behind a computer.

What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

It’s all about connection. I am not some big organization trying to sell you something. I am a local mom, who created a sensory friendly brand so her children would have access to things not currently in the market. I am trying to help other people’s lives, the way I have been able to help my family’s.

How has your routine changed since covid?

Well, I launched my business post-covid, so not sure I have an answer to that. But before covid, I don’t think I ever would have left my day job and tried to build something on my own. Covid gave me the strength and mind-set to work harder for the change I want to see in the world.

What productivity tools do you use?

I keep lists on my Alexa. I use AI to get started on writing emails, or AD’s, or articles, really anything. That has been the most mind-blowing invention, I really love it and it makes writing soooo much easier. [ I didn’t use it on these interview questions though, I promise!]

Are there any other resources/tools that have helped you run your business?

Well my store is an ecomm only store, and I use Shopify. Shopify is super user friendly and the customer service is amazing. When there have been things I want to offer on my website, they let me know different AP’S I can add to my store, like an upselling AP—and I got an APP that lets people add their own custom art to my clothing. I am sure there are a lot more AP’s that I should be using, I am going to look into that now!

Do you have any new projects coming up (or have you just completed a big project ~ reached a milestone, etc.)? 

YES! I am going to be on a reality show for entrepreneurs! It is called “The Blox” and it airs on Amazon Prime. I leave in March to film it. It is a show that basically gives you a crash course on all things you need to know to run a business, like an MBA in a week. And there are also competitions at the end of each day and grand prize winners at the end. I am super excited, both to learn and to be on TV!!

How do you prepare for the next day?

Valerie: I am a list maker, I make sure I have everything I need to do on a list. I make sure I get a good night’s sleep, and try to leave any drama from the day before I get into bed.

What is the number one meeting you never miss (and why)?

My meeting with the gym. Seriously. It is the hour every other day that is probably the only time I get to myself and for myself. Work life balance is so important and this is how I keep the burnout away.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

I try to take as much time off during the weekend as I can to spend with my kids. Every Friday night we have a family movie night, and that really sets the tone of being present for them over the weekend. And for fun without my kids, I love doing dinner with friends/ my husband—and getting a massage.

What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?

VI want to get my product into 5 stores. I do not currently have product in any stores but am in late stage talks with a few places, so that would be a HUGE accomplishment I would feel really good about!

You want to write a book on  … Having kids with mental health differences though covid, and life on the other side.

This was the most challenging thing I have been through in my life. I know we all have our covid stories, and mine was TOUGH! I was actually in a documentary about this exact thing, and I think this is a topic that really resonates with people. It is important not to sugar coat the experience, so we can all know that we are not alone. I think that was also so hard at the time, just feeling like I was all alone in what I was going through, and I don’t ever want anyone to feel that way.

What is the number one book you recommend to our readers? And why?

I actually only read for pleasure, my business learning is usually through pod-casts. But right now I am reading “The Plated Prisoner Series”  By Raven Kennedy, and it is soooooo good!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t let anyone make you feel like your journey isn’t important or worthy. In anything, not just business. Be kind to your-self. I am still trying to manage that one, but I really want that for you. And If anyone has any questions about sensory sensitivities or just want to chat about their own experiences with their kids and maybe I can point you in the right direction to getting the support you need, I would be honored. I am here for anyone and everyone, because I know what it feels like to think you’re alone. And you are not alone!

What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you

On facebook, Instagram, and tik-tok @parkerandtalia.

You can learn more about Valerie’s business at