According to a study by Business of Fashion, women design fewer than 50% of well-known womenswear brands, and women hold less than 25% of leadership positions in top fashion companies. Of course, great clothes can come from anywhere—and Who What Wear champions that—but today, it’s more important than ever to rally behind marginalized communities within the fashion industry, which includes women.
One of the easiest ways to show support is by learning more about the female founders that make the fashion industry what it is today. Ahead, you’ll hear from Marie Isabel from the Unique on why she started her brand, her advice to young designers, and of course, shop some of their favorite pieces.
1. HOW DID YOU START? WHAT INVESTMENT WAS NEEDED?
I started my entrepreneurial journey in the middle of my master’s degree, at the beginning of the pandemic. At that time I had several business ideas, but they involved a lot of investment. UNIQUE came along the way, it wasn’t planned at all. It was also the most feasible and that’s why jumped to it. The business started totally different from what it is today (a clothing brand).
Here’s how I started:
It all began one night when my cousin gave me the idea to start a personalized items business and I loved the idea. I remember my first orders were Christmas ornaments and clear mugs, later when we were all at lockdown, I started making custom PJs and it was a success.
My mom always loved the name I had for the business and one day she told me that it was perfect to start a brand carrying a message that we are all UNIQUE. I loved the idea and what I did was choose pieces of clothing that were totally my style: minimal, comfortable and most importantly: established “sets” that saved me time.
On January 10 2021 I managed to organize my first photoshoot with the help of my friends
and after taking courses on how to build websites, I created my own and launched it on February 24th. In that moment is when the business shifted from personalized items to a clothing brand. That was the beginning of UNIQUE OFFICIAL LLC.
I registered my business, trademarked my logo, and from then on I have worked on different collections, on a lot of marketing to create brand awareness and a lot of content that carries our message.
2. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO START UNIQUE?
What motivated me to start UNIQUE was my great desire to be an entrepreneur. Since I was little I wanted to have something of my own and I remember telling my mom that one day I was going to be the owner of a “Hello Kitty” store. I also have an entrepreneurial streak from my dad.
But it wasn’t until I did my BA in Marketing that I took the Entrepreneurship class as an elective that I confirmed my true passion for creating something and owning my own business.
3. WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
What makes me most proud as a businesswoman is that at an early age I am doing what I love and what I feel is my purpose in life, which is: celebrating people as they are with my clothing brand.
We live in a world where we spend time comparing ourselves to others and where the beauty industry makes us feel like we are not enough. With UNIQUE it is the opposite. We celebrate what distinguishes you in others, we empower you, we break stereotypes and we make a difference.
4. WHAT ARE YOUR SUCCESS HABITS?
There are 3 habits that I have to be successful.
First: Believe in yourself. There are good days and there are bad days. But believing in yourself and having faith in what you do regardless certain circumstances and what others think is very important.
Second: Be passionate. Doing what we love and what genuinely makes us happy is key to success.
And finally, have a vision and work towards it and towards that goal. Running your own business is a mind game and having a focused and healthy mindset is crucial to succeed. “What you affirm as true in your subconscious mind, comes true.” And I affirm that UNIQUE will be a successful brand, recognized worldwide and I will make a positive impact in this world with my brand.
5. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU’VE FACED SINCE BECOMING AND ENTREPRENEUR?
The biggest challenge I have faced as a businesswoman has been the ability to be patient and enjoy the journey.
Sometimes I get desperate and want to achieve all of my dreams overnight and it just doesn’t happen that way. Success takes time and there is still a lot of work to do. One should enjoy the process and believe in the long-term potential.
Creating a brand from scratch has not been easy and, honestly, reaching the right audience is not as easy as I thought. It takes time to be recognized, for people to trust you and your product. That’s why most of the money goes to content creation, collaborations, and marketing.
6. IF YOU COULD SUM UP YOUR CAREER IN THREE WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
7. SHARE US SOME TIPS ON HOW TO BECOME MORE HAPPIER AND HEALTHIER PERSON.
(1) Be grateful. Good days bring us happiness and bad days bring us lessons and experiences. Both are necessary to grow and to succeed and that is why you have to thank God, life, the universe for everything. Also, when we are grateful, the universe rewards us with good and beautiful things.
(2) Be balanced, don’t be so rigid. Have habits that you can maintain in the long run. Do things that make you happy and surround yourself with people who genuinely love and support you.
(3) Rest when you need to. Working hard is good and it is important, but rest is also just as important. Sometimes we have to disconnect to come back with more strength, creativity and focus.
8. WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO RENEW THEIR LIFE AS IN NEW JOB, MOVING, ETC?
I would them that:
(1) The time is now. You are never late to start the life of your dreams or a life that you genuinely feel happy and satisfied with. The simple passage of time does not make us lose our ability to evolve as a person.
(2) Don’t let the pessimism of your current reality paralyze you. On the contrary, make the necessary movements to achieve everything you want (that if you set your mind to it, it is possible). There is a wonderful world on the other side of our fears.
(3) Don’t get influenced by what others think of you and your life. What truly matters is what you think of yourself and how you feel about yourself.
9. IF YOU COULD BACK AND TELL YOURSELF ONE THING BEFORE BEGINNING YOUR CAREER WHAT WOULD IT BE?
If you have the ability to dream it, you have the ability to achieve it. The road will not be easy and it will take a long time, but BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND TRUST THE PROCESS!
10. HOW DO YOU THINK MODERN WOMEN CAN BE MORE FULFILLED IN THEIR LIVES?
Modern women can feel more fulfilled in their lives by doing what we enjoy the most and loving every part of our being. Feeling complete with ourselves without depending on anyone. Living our lives how we want to without seeking approval from others. Working to be the best version of ourselves by being confident, independent and leaders.
Once we begin to accept ourselves and take advantage of reaching our maximum potential, we will feel invincible and that will be reflected in our attitudes, decisions and in our lives. When you change your behavior, your thoughts and your way of feeling in a positive way, that is transmitted and perceived from the outside and this will reinforce your lifestyle.