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Conversations with the Inspiring Mary Rodriguez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Rodriguez.

Mary, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m truly an OC native. Santa Ana and Orange have been my primary stomping grounds for my entire life.

I have always been a creative. To put it simply: when I’m creating, I feel at home. I’ve nurtured this creative bug in me for as long as I can remember – always signing up for art classes, painting, sketching, sewing, design. I didn’t always know I wanted to have my own business, I just loved to create. Some of my earliest memories were making fashion sketches of gowns that I was sure would one day grace the red carpet for celebrities (or really just JLo if I’m being completely honest). Gotta love a queen!

I was definitely more of an independent child which I feel is a trait I definitely carried over into my adult years, allowing me to start and run a business.

I initially had plans to attend FIDM right out of high school but didn’t feel as though it was the right fit for me and decided against going shortly before the semester began. Instead, I enrolled at Orange Coast College to complete their Fashion Merchandising course.

After numerous jobs and internships, I still didn’t feel fulfilled. No matter where I was or what I was doing, I quickly fell out of love with it after a year and found myself questioning what I was doing there. I had been going around with this idea of opening my own online clothing boutique for some time. I had been freelance styling and doing multiple pulls during the week and each time I went, I began studying the labels, learning about the vendors. the styles and quickly realized that I could still continue wardrobe styling but take it the next level and brand something that was completely mine from the ground up. Without a doubt, it was the first moment where a career choice actually felt right.

Pink Motel launched on August 15th, 2016. From when I first had the idea to actually launching, I took a little over a year to meticulously plan, design the website, select the merchandise and brand it just the way I wanted. Even on the day I launched it, it still wasn’t everything I had envisioned in my head, but I didn’t want to wait for it to be “perfect” for the fear that I might be waiting forever psyching myself out. I took the leap – launched, learned, and adjusted accordingly.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
In the beginning, at launch, it was anything but smooth. I served as my own website developer, shipping department, social media manager and everything in between. And to top it off, I knew nothing about business, graphic design, web design or even Instagram for that matter. It’s safe to say this entire journey has been one filled with learning but through the learning there’s been so much growth not only in Pink Motel but in myself and what I feel as though I’m capable of now.

My best advice to young women out there who are just starting out:

1. As cliché as it sounds, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something! It’s insane the number of times I heard “you can’t do this”. “you can’t do that”, “that’s a bad move” and I’m here to tell you it’s 100% FALSE.
2. If you don’t know something, learn it, google it. Google will truly serve as your right-hand man.
3. There is room for EVERYONE to succeed. Don’t feel like you can’t dive into an industry, a career or a community that might be perceived as “too saturated”. If you’ve got the ideas, if you’ve got something to say, if you can provide value in your content – dive in!
4. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Believe in your craft, in your talent, in your ideas. Stay passionate about what you’re creating or trying to create. Once people see your passion, they start to believe in it too.
5. Lastly, patience. Nothing happens overnight and that’s coming from personal experience. It takes time. It takes work. Always strive for more.

What should we know about Pink Motel Boutique? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’ve curated my online shop to specialize primarily in contemporary women’s clothing, filled with items that are on-trend, stylish, quality, and comfortable while staying within a reasonable budget. Everything online is currently $50.00 or under and I truly try to keep the price points for almost all of the items within this range – mainly because when I was in high school, college, and early twenties, I purchased all of my own clothing and would have such difficulty finding items that fit my style as well as my budget. I strive to alleviate this problem that I feel some girls and young women still have, all without compromising the quality of the garment.

I pride myself in curating collections and creating content that is as true and authentic as it was since the first day I launched and I’m constantly looking for ways to improve. Of course, style and branding have changed over time since the beginning (in the best way possible), but at the end of the day, it’s still a labor of love for me. I like to think that service is one thing that sets me apart from the rest. Whether people are shopping with me at a pop up shop or clicking ‘add to cart’ online, I want my customers to always feel welcome, at ease, comfortable and appreciated – almost like they’re browsing through their best friends closet to borrow a cute outfit for the night or walking up and down the aisle at home goods or Target. (You know the feeling I’m talking about?) It’s the most relaxed and exciting feeling in the world.

Along with that, what I’ve done since the beginning and what I plan to continue to do is to always add a handwritten note in an order to give the finishing personal touch. I know that this might seem like a small gesture but you’d be surprised at how many people truly appreciate this, knowing you personally took your time out to thank them.

My ultimate goal is for every person to have a fun, exciting, and spirited shopping experience, all while walking away with something that is as special and unique as they are.

Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
Patience. Consistency. Hard Work. Confidence. Mindset.

I feel like these five things really create the secret sauce.
You have to be patient in the whole process. Things don’t just happen overnight.
You have to be consistent in the work you do, in the content you produce, all of it.

And on top of that, I’ve come to believe that mindset plays one of the largest factors. Focusing on the positive, letting the negativity fall away, daily affirmations and manifesting the things you truly want in all aspects of your life and career. Sometimes, it’s easier said than done but on the days that seem more difficult, keep showing up, put in the work, forgive yourself, learn from the mistakes and keep pushing forward.

We all have the ability to do, create, or share something special with the world.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Professional Images: Rebecca Gnasso

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