Founder Spotlight: A Plan Written in the Stars: Brazilian Astrology Jewelry Creator Finds a Path Forward in the U.S.
When Daniela Vianna, co-founder of Ephemeris Co., found herself stuck in the United States following the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, Daniela needed a new plan. Her ecommerce business was doing well while she was living in Australia, but she soon realized that the United States was where she needed to be to take her business to the next level. The various U.S. immigration options for entrepreneurs like Daniela are often unclear so she had to get creative—and persistent. Daniela spoke to numerous immigration attorneys but was left with few options, until she discovered Legalpad. With an O-1 approval and a visa sticker in her passport, Daniela and her co-founder are expanding Ephemeris and establishing headquarters on the East Coast.
Seeking Opportunity with Persistence
Immigration is not new to Daniela. Daniela first left her home country of Brazil in 2016 to seek new opportunities in Australia. “Immigration has always been a thing for me. I felt like I was hitting the ceiling over and over again in Brazil,” Daniela reflected. “My first attempt at breaking the ceiling was traveling to Australia.” Her courage paid off. Taking the leap to move to Australia led to more opportunity. “While my long-time friend and PPC expert, Verri, and I were taking our clients’ businesses to new heights with our marketing agency, we noticed that no one was doing anything disruptive in the astrological niche—a topic I love,” Daniela shared. “Astrology softwares are stuck in the 70s so we decided to use our technical capabilities to combine astrology and technology to create Ephemeris.”
In March 2020, Daniela was just a visitor in Los Angeles when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the states. Ephemeris and her marketing agency were doing well in Australia, but it became clear over the course of Daniela’s extended stay that there was a real opportunity to grow the ecommerce business in the U.S.
Daniela started researching her options to live and work in the U.S. longer term. “My Brazilian passport didn’t open up many opportunities,” Daniela shared. “I had a whole spreadsheet of different visas and lawyer recommendations.”
As Daniela got more serious about pursuing a U.S. work visa, she kept running into roadblocks. “I talked to a lot of immigration attorneys. They were telling me different things and some of them were really discouraging me.”
Doubt started to creep in. “I was skeptical whether immigration would bring me forward. What if I didn’t have to deal with immigration? What would I do if my time wasn’t spent on paperwork, visas, stamps and passports?”
After narrowing down her options, Daniela settled on pursuing the O-1 visa. “I needed to become an alien of extraordinary ability, but having superpowers was not part of my 2020 plan,” Daniela joked. “But as I kept reading about the O-1, I thought maybe it was possible, and that’s when I found Legalpad.”
One Opportunity Leads to Another
Launching a startup in the U.S. as an international founder can seem daunting at first, as Daniela experienced. “The process of getting the O-1 visa seemed very complicated. I was overwhelmed, especially after being discouraged from pursuing the O-1 by immigration attorneys.”
“Legalpad was a blessing from the skies,” Daniela said. “I felt so supported the whole time. There wasn’t any moment when Legalpad wasn’t real with me, but there wasn’t any time that Legalpad told me it wasn’t possible. Legalpad gave me space to breathe and the hope that everything would work out.”
Applying for the O-1 also created unexpected opportunities for Daniela. “I focused so much on the visa that the process took my startup to a whole new level,” Daniela shared. “I was going after PR and awards to strengthen my credentials. The U.S. government realized I was good enough and then the entrepreneur community started seeing me more.”
“We had so many limitations that we don’t have anymore. Our creative minds can be free to think about ideas that are attainable. Before, we could not have a physical presence in the United States, and now we can. We are opening an HQ, buying equipment and launching new products. We are rebranding. We are changing the unboxing experience. There are so many more possibilities than there were before.”
With a visa sticker in her passport, Daniela and her team are taking Ephemeris to new heights. The custom jewelry product line is just the beginning. “The O-1 approval changed Ephemeris’ roadmap,” Daniela explained. “We had so many limitations that we don’t have anymore. Our creative minds can be free to think about ideas that are attainable. Before, we could not have a physical presence in the United States, and now we can. We are opening an HQ, buying equipment and launching new products. We are rebranding. We are changing the unboxing experience. There are so many more possibilities than there were before.”
The O-1 approval has had a direct impact on revenue too. The Ephemeris team has improved the quality of their products and can offer better customer support now that part of the team is in the same time zone as their customers. 2021 and beyond is looking bright—and busy for Ephemeris. The team plans to expand the offers to an Online Membership with curated astrological content, yoga classes, and guided meditation; an app for professional astrologers is also on the roadmap.
In times of great uncertainty, pursuing unexpected opportunity often leads to more opportunity, as Daniela can attest to. Although Daniela didn’t expect to get stuck in the U.S. because of a global pandemic, the opportunities that followed pieced together a plan that fell into place. It’s as if it was written in the stars.
For more information about Ephemeris, visit https://ephemeris.co/
Legalpad readers can use the code LEGALPAD10 to unlock 10% off at Ephemeris’s online store