Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Gaby Reyes, Creator of Melancholy Clothing Brand, located in Erie, PA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Melancholy is an apparel and lifestyle brand. The customers I try to reach are those who resonate with mental health and allies to those who struggle with mental illness / Cancer survivors / 17 - 30-year-olds.
Tell us about yourself
I am trans (they/them) and queer, Hispanic, the descendant of two immigrants, and a cancer survivor. I started Melancholy when I was 18 because when I was 17, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I went through some intense bouts of depression because of my cancer experience. After I was declared cancer free on November 30th, 2017, I wanted to create something that was representative of my experience and story with mental health and cancer. Melancholy was born in 2018, and the brand advocates for self-love, personal growth, and mental health awareness. My biggest motivation to continue what I do is my mother. She came to the United States as an immigrant from Mexico and became a citizen. She is one of the hardest working people I know, and I am proud to carry on her hope of fulfilling the American dream.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is starting my business and keeping it alive these last few years. Running a business is no joke, especially when you're a one-person show. Also, taking into consideration the COVID pandemic, this hurt a lot of businesses, and I felt that as well.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner, I think, is keeping the business afloat. There are many bells and whistles to manage, like finances, social media, in-person events, packaging+shipping, and e-commerce. At times having to run all of those aspects can get overwhelming.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- I would recommend looking into if the city you're looking to start your business in has a business accelerator program where you can get paired up with an experienced mentor to help grow your business.
- Growth takes time. A new idea and bringing it to life can be very exciting, but all good things take time.
- Look into vending opportunities in your own city and elsewhere. I find that when I am face to face with a customer and am able to share my story that it is more impactful.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I fully believe that anything is possible. If someone wants to start a business, go for it. If you have doubts about the whole thing, that's okay too. It's okay to be scared to take a leap of faith. It's okay not to know what you're doing at first. Running a business is all a learning experience. You'll grow alongside your business and will master your craft. All in due time.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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