Reminder to Myself: Why am I Doing This?

Reminder to Myself: Why am I Doing This?

If you’re reading this, we have some sort of connection. Either we know each other, you’ve bought something from Descalza, or your curiosity has led you here. Regardless, thank you. I know there’s a million and one things on your to do list right now and you’ve chosen to take the time to read this post. 

Gracias, pero before I start I must warn you…


  1. Como dice Celia, my English isn’t very good-looking. Really! English was my least favorite subject and, to this day, I still have trouble with my grammar. I apologize for all the grammar mistakes, run-on sentences, and potential misspellings, but hopefully my thoughts will still get across! 
  2. Hablo mucho Spanglish! To my family I speak Spanish, to strangers I speak English, pero with my friends, I speak Spanglish and I hope that’s how you’ll see us. I see you as a friend and I hope one day you’ll see me as one too. :) 


Ahora, comencemos? 


I often get asked why did I start Descalza? Why now? Starting something from scratch is unpredictable and scary. Why would I involuntary put myself in this position? 

The answer is simple, but, before I say it, I have to give you the backstory.


When I graduated from NC State, I thought about working on Descalza. I wanted to work with the textiles and the artisans in Guatemala, but all my professors, mentors, and advisors strongly encouraged me to get experience first. I’m stubborn, but I listened. The summer after graduation I left to NYC to get “experience”. I didn’t have a job lined up or any idea how I was going to tackle The Big Apple, but I knew I had to be there. 


I was in NYC for a total of 11.5 months before I came back to Raleigh more determined than ever to do my own thing. A lot happened during that year. I went from being laid off from my dream job after working for a month (they lost funding and couldn’t afford me) to working for a celebrity who paid me $11/hour and no overtime, to getting assaulted in Newark, NJ and having my phone stolen (note to self: don’t wear your headphones when walking home at night). 


That was my turning point. 


Life had to punch me in the face (literally) for me to gain clarity. I realized that life is too precious to let it go to waste. I realized that people will take advantage of you when THEY have realized YOUR potential. I realized that if you want something you have to go get it yourself. No one is going to make your dreams come true. That’s on you. NYC validated me as a designer. They gave me the checkmark I needed to feel confident in my own work.


So I stopped working for my boss’ dream and came back home to work on mine.


I left the fashion capital of the world to create a fashion business in good ole North Carolina. 




Life is insane in NYC. Have you been there? It’s literally a jungle! NC is peaceful and has enough coffee shops and inspiring individuals to be fueled by. It’s also a textile state. Plus, I’m Latina. My family means the world to me and I wanted to be as close to them as I could pero also have the space and the support to work on my dream. 


So I’m here in NC. What now?


First, I had to get a job that would pay rent.

During the day I would work as an ESL instructor and in the evenings I would work on Descalza. All I knew about this “idea” was that I wanted to work with the fabrics and I wanted my friends to wear them with orgullo.  I didn’t know anything about starting a business, so I approached Descalza as a studio project. I met with one of my favorite professors (shoutout to Dr. Kate) for advice. She encouraged me to make the clothing and then test it out on my friends. Business pros would call this creating your MVP (minimal viable product) and testing your product-market fit. 


I’ll be honest. I took my time making the clothing. This was the first time I was working on a project with no supervision and no deadline, so it was too easy for me to procrastinate. 


But then something happened. 


On November 2016, Donald Trump became the president of the United States. 

This day felt like a nightmare, but it wasn’t. It was our reality and I was scared. I didn't know what was going to happen to us. I feared for my family. I feared for my friends. I feared for anyone who wasn’t a middle class white male. 


I was also mad. I was mad at how the news was portraying Latino America. I know that Latino America has always been depicted as underdeveloped, but the comments Trump had stated had tipped me over. I took it personal when he was calling us criminals and rapists (when you disrespect one of us, you disrespect all of us). 


I was done. 


The day after the election, I went to work. I had all the fuel and momentum to start Descalza. I still didn’t know how I was going to get it done, but I knew Descalza was going to be a space that would celebrate being a child of many cultures. I wanted people to see that even in the darkest times, and no matter what the media portrays, immigrants are hardworking beautiful people with the kindest smiles.


And our fabrics are proof of that. 

So that’s why I started. It had nothing to do with wanting to be an entrepreneur, but instead using my strengths to speak up. I no longer wanted to stay quiet and wanted to use fashion as my voice. This translated into a business. Something I didn’t plan for, but I’m happy it happened. 


I never saw myself as a business owner, but life’s circumstances put me here. I encourage you all to be open to what life will bring you. Celebrate the small wins, be humbled by the major failures, and embrace the uncertainty that comes with taking risks. I promise you won’t have all your answers figured out, but once you start it will all come together. Believe in yourself. I do. :)