We're very excited to spotlight designer and creator Gardenia Ramirez! Gardenia is the founder of LOLA Y TULA— a curated collection of Mexican, handmade folk art. From leather goods to women's accessories to home decor, LOLA Y TULA focuses on creating and acquiring pieces that celebrate the beautiful and colorful Mexican culture. Check out what Gardenia had to say about the beginnings of her business and how she stays motivated when challenging times arise.
Gardenia Ramirez, LOLA Y TULA
What is your business and what inspired you to start it?
LOLA Y TULA designs and collaborates directly with our artisan partners in Mexico creating one-of-kind, timeless designs for the modern woman. Our pieces are ethically made and celebrate the beauty and integrity of Mexico and its people, while continuing our commitment to sustainability and responsibility.
I am first generation American, proud daughter of two Mexican immigrants, and remaining connected to our family heritage has always been a priority for my family. My career began working in fashion for Ralph Lauren in New York City. Surrounding myself with the highest quality standards in design and a brand identify deeply American, I longed to create a brand that gave voice to my background. Creating LOLA Y TULA has allowed me to bridge my professional career with my personal passion. After having my first child, I made the choice that many mothers make, putting my career on hold to stay home and care for the baby... with childcare being far too expensive to make it worthwhile staying in the office. Lucky for me, it was an obvious choice and I always had this plan to possibly start my own thing.... so there was no turning back. The opportunity presented itself and I took it!
How do you overcome challenges and stay motivated?
Challenges are an every day occurrence for me... sometimes just getting my 6 year old ready and out the door on time with brushed hair and a lunch box is an incredible challenge... but that's life:) Struggling is a big part of life. You can get overwhelmed and negative about challenges or you can see them as an opportunity to learn and get passed them. I choose to see certain struggles as a positive. A challenge is a moment to prove something, so suck it up and do your best! Pretend failure is of no consequence and you'll be just fine.
What is an important lesson you’ve learned as a female latinx entrepreneur?
Be true to yourself. Put voice to your story. All my life without realizing, I've really become great at assimilating to perceived notions of what women have to be, of what being Mexican is... the truth is, there is no such thing. And the challenges we've been through, feeling marginalized, being an outsider, perhaps not feeling like you 'belong'... those are all advantages now for me as an entrepreneur. Because I'm a woman of color I've had to work harder, I've had to be less qualified and hungrier than my privileged competitors and you know what---- it's made me stronger. My point of view is very unique, its what makes me special.... all the parts that make me whole. So embrace who you are and shout it proudly!
Best advice you’ve received and would like to share?
Relationships are everything, in business and life. If you work hard at maintaining positive relationships your priority you will surround yourself with the kind of support you need to succeed. Those who are able to make valuable connections with co-workers, staff, clients and friends are irreplaceable and usually the first characteristic I look for when hiring.
To check out all the latest products from LOLA Y TULA, follow along on Instagram: @LolayTula.