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Meet Isadora Alvarez of Back Beat Rags in Downtown LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Isadora Alvarez.

Isadora, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I knew I always wanted to have a brand when I moved to LA after completing my fashion degree in SF but I didn’t really know how to start one. So I started off in the industry in LA in a buying department of an off-price retail company because that was the first job that I could find.

I wasn’t very happy at that job and the products that they were putting out in the market because it was all very cheaply made and very wasteful. After two and a half years of working for them, I finally decided to leave and do my own thing but still not knowing exactly how to do it.

So I started off selling vintage at markets while still deciding what direction I wanted my brand to go in. While I am selling vintage, I realized that I was specializing on the essentials- tees, sweatshirts, jackets… and one day, I had a eureka moment where I was like ok, these items are what I love to wear and buy so these are what I should focus on.

But I also wanted to have a more sustainable way of making clothes, so that’s how I came about to using sustainable fabrics.

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?
I don’t think any entrepreneur will ever say that its a smooth road, this whole owning your own business life. It has A LOT of ups and downs, and every mistake (and accomplishments!) have a huge impact on your business, so every single step has a lot of weight.

The biggest struggle that I’ve found is trying to juggle being creative while running the business. More often than not the business part of it- paying bills, managing the team, and everyday tasks take over your work life, so there’s not enough time to focus on creating which is the most fun and the best part of the job!

Also, having a small business budget has been tough. In fashion- a lot of money needs to be spent on not only producing the items but also marketing, which is greatly needed to break through all the noise. So constantly trying to have to figure that out has been challenging.

Back Beat Rags – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I say our company focuses on everyday essentials using low impact fabrics and our style is heavily influenced by the California living easy culture… So it’s a lot of pieces that you will wear over and over again, but they are special because we have a very specific color palette and the fabric we use is pretty comfortable AND sustainable!

We also try our very best to have an attainable price point. I’m very proud of how the company has been able to have the balance of creating rad clothing while also taking in account of the clothing and manufacturing being low impact.

I think what sets us apart from others is that our clothing isn’t just a piece of thing that you wear, it actually represents a lifestyle.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
So many! My husband and family have been huge supporters. I’m not going to lie- there are times when I have felt like giving up, but they always push me to keep going, as cheesy as that sounds.

My community of designers and artists here in LA have kept me going. I have been so lucky to have a circle of friends who are doing the same thing and who are always willing to help, share resources and also act as sounding boards.

Being a solo entrepreneur gets isolating because you only have yourself to bounce ideas with- so having that support group of people who get it is a such an important thing to have.

Pricing:

  • Tees 37-55
  • Jumpsuits 68-75
  • Pants 90-145
  • Sweatshirts 68-80
  • Jackets 100+

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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