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Inspiring Conversations with Mariel Santos of Universety

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mariel Santos.

Hi Mariel, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I am a 24 years old co-owner of Universety, a luxury streetwear brand. I am also a dancer, fashion enthusiast, and a nurse. I met my my now fiancé, Michael in college about five years ago and he introduced me to his brand Universety that he started up in high school. I fell in love with the idea he had and decided to rebrand and start it up in 2019. Our plan is to create a community hence “universe” that promotes inclusivity no matter what your craft is. We draw inspiration from all different avenues from sports, art, dance, movies, etc. we want everyone to feel good in our clothes and feel represented. We want you to feel you represent that community when you wear any of our pieces. With limited budgeting, we decided to create a men’s basketball league in our hometown in NJ to help fund our dream of rebranding Universety. All while I try to finish my nursing degree. Three years later, we decided to move to LA to fully pursue our passion and dreams of bringing Universety worldwide. In Los Angeles, I decided to pick up my long-time passion of dance and fashion. Los Angeles has given me the countless opportunities to decide the avenue I want to go through — and it is endless. I love wearing the many hats I have because they all make me happy and fulfilled in different ways. Wearing a brand like Universety should give the wearer that feeling. Being able to do whatever your heart desires while looking good at the same time.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It definitely has not been a smooth road. Just like all start-up businesses, financial obstacles were a big thing for us. Being open-minded we used two things that made us happy and turned it into another business — basketball and community. Thus us creating Universety Ball. Universety Ball is an all men’s basketball league that we based out of Jersey City, NJ. Time management, alongside all this was a struggle in itself. Nursing school, designing, social media marketing, managing the league, and dance (and social life) all were things that needed attention at the same time. Regardless, the dream was the bigger picture and everything fell into place with hard work and determination. I always had to remind myself of the future goals we have for ourselves and the brand. To take Universety worldwide.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Universety?
Universety is a luxury streetwear brand from New Jersey now based in Los Angeles full-time. We strive to create a community hence “universe” that promotes inclusivity no matter what your craft is. We draw inspiration from all different avenues from sports, art, dance, movies, etc. we want everyone to feel good in our clothes and feel represented. We want you to feel you represent that community when you wear any of our pieces. I specialize in co-designing and social media marketing. What sets us apart from others is our willingness to connect to the community and our dedication to quality. What I am most proud of the brand is that our quality never settles for less. All of our pieces are carefully handmade in Los Angeles, CA. I want the readers to know the Universety is always and continuously doing research to provide our customers with the best quality pieces. It is a never-ending process to create pieces that we personally feel good in to put out to our community to also have them feeling good. We want the community to feel inspired to continue to chase after their dreams and continuously work on their craft, no matter how big or small. There are so many people that you’ll run into telling you that your dreams are a waste of time or that they aren’t practical. But who are they to tell you how to feel?

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Without Universety and the community we’ve created, there are many things I can say I probably wouldn’t have done. My brand has given me the confidence to go out and live the life that I want to. Do the things that I dreamed to do but was too scared to start. The importance of community is so special, whether it’s a couple of friends, your family, or even a significant other. Regardless it’s so important to keep a positive space because that’s what’s going to help you grow as a person. Without the community I’ve created, I wouldn’t have been able to meet so many amazing people or start my dance journey. Sometimes the scariest things you want to start might be the most positive life-changing things you might end up doing.

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Image Credits
Michael Clemente Rosanna U Houston Rockets

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