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This Is How Mexican-Born Artist, Ilse Valfré Went From Preschool Teacher To Founding A Multi Million Dollar Brand

How do you make your passion into a successful business? Los Angeles-based artist and entrepreneur Ilse Valfré, 29, asked herself that very question, now she’s making millions.

Eight years ago, you could easily spot Ilse Valfré being extremely fashionable on the streets of San Diego.

Her unique sense of attainable style was captured on the pages of Teen Vogue when she was just 21-years-old. Back then the Tijuana native was busy working as a pre-school teacher — she even authored a children’s book, but her real passion has always been art.

Her art work grew a cult following on tumblr and other social media pages. Fans of her illustrations even dress up like characters she created.

CREDIT: Twitter/@neontouch @itskendallkay

Valfré says that art is a form of therapy for her, and the natural extension of her work made it possible to transition into fashion.

“I consider fashion a means of expression, and so is art!” Valfré said when she was 23. “I know this is said over and over, but I do have a deep passion for fashion and sometimes when I see a new collection that I can’t afford, I say to myself: ‘Since I can’t afford it right now, I’ll style my paper dolls with the clothes I wish I had.” It’s like living in my own little fantasy world.'”

Roughly three years later, Valfré started her company, along with her husband, appropriately named after herself.

CREDIT: Valfre.com

At Valfré.com you can find an assortment of accessories including cell phone cases. She said that if someone wants to start their own business it’s important to be very specific about what they want to sell. “At the beginning it was pretty much a one-woman show,” Valfré said in an interview with Fortune. “It’s fun to open up product categories and create new types of products but you need to have a big team to continue to grow these categories once they’re open.”

Her brand’s real seller is women’s fashion.

CREDIT: Valfre.com

The Valfré woman can be described as girly, passionate about being a feminist, and always experimental. Valfré said her stylish inspiration should never be about limiting yourself to one form of trend.

Feminism has always been at the forefront to her brand.

Valfré says that feminism isn’t just about being a woman, but being strong and bold about who you are.

I think don’t think having ovaries makes you a woman,” Valfré said in an interview with StyleCaster. “Like my mother for example, she doesn’t have ovaries; since she had me, she’s had to get them removed, but that doesn’t make her less of a woman because of that, you know? I have a trans friend, and she’s a female, and she wasn’t born with female parts. But that doesn’t make her less of a woman than I am.”

These Sisters Built The Country’s First 100% Ethically Made Business All For Their Brother

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These Sisters Built The Country’s First 100% Ethically Made Business All For Their Brother

All For Ramon was born out of two sisters’ desires to honor their brother’s life.

When Rocio and Diana Ramon’s brother Juan was diagnosed with cancer, the two sisters had to step up to the plate and fill his shoes in helping with the family business. Ultimately their willingness to help their family and show up for their brother led them to a path of entrepreneurship.

After Rocio and Diana Ramon’s brother Juan was diagnosed with brain cancer their father came to them to ask for help.

At the time, the sisters’ father went to Rocio and asked her if she would be willing to take on their brother’s role at the company, who had been highly involved in the business. “I always dreamt of coming to help [my dad] at the factory,” Rocio told FIERCE in the latest episode of “Las Jefas.”

While of course, working for her family had always been her dream, Rocio explained that initially, her work was far from ideal. After all, she’d just lost her brother, and before he had passed away, he’d built up quite a reputation for himself. Rocio says, that expectations for her work were high and when she started working she was pretty much thrown to the wolves.

The wolves being the male-dominated environment in which our brother had been in charge of.

“In this industry, it’s male-dominant so I was here young and a woman so men would come here and see me they would look at me and be like ‘what are you doing here?’” Rocio told us during her interview, before going on to explain that she was ready for this kind of challenge. “I’m like ‘Yes! I’m the boss. This Latina girl is gonna tell you what to do, so you’re gonna have to listen.”

With so much work on her plate, Rocio says that when her younger sister offered to come and help her, she was thrilled.

Diana, who joined the company after her brother’s death to help Rocio says that she came to the decision to work at the factory out of a desire to help and also to grow. “I came to the decision that I had to make a sacrifice to put all of my mind in my creativity– to something that I knew was going to flourish and blossom into something beautiful and I had this dream to do something big,”

Eventually, Rocio and Diana Ramon went on to build their own brand.

The two are now the two founders of the first clothing brand to manufacture designs and clothing that are 100% ethically handmade in the U.S.

“I had just this dream to do something big, so I decided to continue this beautiful journey with All For Ramon with my sister because I know that its something beautiful because I have so much pride in it. “

The clothing brand, which specializes in tie-dye tees, relies on policies and a culture that is strongly rooted in their family values and appreciation of the American dream.

“What I say [about All For Ramon] is bueno, bonito, and ethical because being ethical and transparent is what we learned,” Rocio says before her sister adds that “Quality is not just an expecation it’s the rule for us.”

Today, the two sisters can agree that All For Ramon is more than just a clothing brand to them. Diana says that when it comes to every choice that they make they consider their brother Juan. “Everything that we do for this brand, from choosing the fabrics to picking out the colors, from developing what we’re going to develop in the future it’s like ‘okay what would my brother think about this?'”

While focusing on building their eco-friendly brand, the two sisters have a dream to inspire others as well.

“We want to highlight and educate to Latinos that [they] deserve quality,” says Diana. And when it comes to giving advice to Latinas. Their joint message is clear. “Now’s the time for you to shine and you can shine girl. Shine.”

Leah Guerrero Is The Skincare Jefa Who Has A Key Business Approach That Every Single Latina Should Embrace

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Leah Guerrero Is The Skincare Jefa Who Has A Key Business Approach That Every Single Latina Should Embrace

It doesn’t take a biochemist to know that many of the mainstream beauty products out there are often packed with empty promises. Leah Guerrero, a Latina business owner who spent her entire career working in the salon and spa business, knew this truth well enough to ultimately allow herself to be inspired to put better, truer options out there.

Today, the jefa has built a growing empire based off of this understanding called Brujita Skincare. The founder and CEO of Brujita ships her product to customers across the globe, has made appearances in major magazines like Glamour, and sells her products to one of L.A.’s most popular hotels. There her skincare line is provided to VIP clients.

The secret to her success?

Following her quirks and dreams.

Guerrero says that her business sprouted from various influences, but the soul of it came from an impression of her identity.

“Friends would just call me Endearing Brujita,” Guerrero tells FIERCE in the latest episode of “Las Jefas,” a series by mitú. In the episode, Guerrero explains that in her early days of attempting to build her skincare line and brand she went to mercados to find earth ingredients to use in her facials and came across a vendor who became curious about all of her purchases. “I told him what I was doing and he said ‘eres un brujita’ and it clicked.”

For Guerrero, this embrace of her identity– one both earned and perceived– was key to making her own business unique. It’s also an aspect that she says can take someone else’s business to the top as well.

Guerrero biggest piece of advice for Latinas looking to create businesses is to create their own lane.

“And when I mean their own lane I mean be you,” Guerrero says. “If you’re weird and quirky and all of these things then do it make your product weird, make your product weird… Try not to let people get you down or to [project] this map about your life because only you are going to live out that map truly.”

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