Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Olvera.
Laura, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I created my clothing line to inspire and empower other Latina women to embrace their bodies and express their sensuality. As I have grown and connected with other Latin women, I realized that my journey thru self-love and overcoming sexual repression was not as uncommon as I thought. Growing up in a conservative Catholic household, experiencing disordered eating, and my journey to developing positive body image, all were the precursors and inspiration behind my brand. That combined with my endless love for my culture and my desire to also support small businesses and artisans in Mexico is what directed me towards where my business is today.
I actually started with Jewelry making. Mostly because the start-up cost was low and I always had such good memories of growing up and finding unique semiprecious stones in Mexico with my grandmother. On those visits, we would also pass by the artisans in the streets in town and purchase all kinds of accessories and clothing that you could not find anywhere else. It was then that I developed an appreciation for one of a kind items and the thrill of finding something special that was like nothing else. There was something exclusive and luxurious about having something no one else could.
When I started, I had about $150 to invest. I went to downtown LA, with a good friend of mine who used to be in the jewelry business, and purchased a few small beads and metals to play with. A few months later I went to Mexico and went to visit the same mining towns I used to go with my grandmother when I was younger. But this time as a buyer! I came back, decided what my brand would be called, and started selling on Etsy and Instagram!
The name came from a few ideas. But the primary thing I wanted to communicate was the idea of using very limited resources to create beautiful things. I felt like the Agave plant was a perfect symbol of that. It represented not only my ability to use very little to design something beautiful, but also the Mexican artisans and small business owners I use to source my materials. The salt was added to represent the beautiful white sandy beaches of Mexico that I adore.
After a few months, I realized that I wanted to use a different medium to communicate my brand message of inspiring Latinas to embrace their sensuality and positive body image. I felt limited in my ability to communicate that thru the jewelry. So I began to design clothes! I always designed dresses for myself growing up in high school for dances, but my sewing skills were always minimal. So I enrolled myself in sewing classes on the weekend, so I could better execute my designs. After a few classes, I handmade a collection made up of 3 styles and started doing pop-ups in Los Angeles area. I remember the first sale I made at a pop-up, I was so thrilled!!! It was so amazing to talk with other Latinas, share my inspiration of my brand, and feel so connected to complete strangers.
I now don’t really offer jewelry. I realize my gift is in the clothing design. I have ALOT of ideas all the time and I’m in the process of expanding my little tiendita and partnering with a manufacturer. I still am and will always be Inspired by Chingonas and colorful Latin coast lifestyle. And the growth of my brand will always be driven by my desire TO EMPOWER ALL WOMEN TO EMBRACE THEIR BODIES AND EXPRESS THEIR INNER DIOSA.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Nooooo!! Lol. I think for a long time I thought I had to quit my day job to be able to start. I told myself that story for a long time. Then I realized that if I kept waiting, I would never make my dream a reality. So I stopped making excuses and started finding creative solutions. Trust me it is not easy working a day job and then also putting in work for my small business. But I feel like because I am so clear on my purpose and vision, I don’t get tired or ever see it like a waste of time. I know in my heart that this just feels right. So I don’t second guess and I just keep moving forward. I guess that is what has helped me get thru the late nights, no days off, conservative spending, and any other lifestyle changes I have needed to make. Because I know and I trust in myself and my vision that it will grow.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about AGAVESALT – what should we know?
AGAVESALT is a handmade clothing and accessory brand. Latin inspired boho chic styles. All uniquely one of a kind. Made of textiles and materials sourced from Mexico and Los Angeles. I am most proud of the fact that I work with small business owners and artisans in Mexico to source my product. Supporting my small business not only means you’re supporting me, you are supporting a small textile business in a rural part of the world who would otherwise not have the opportunity to share their talents.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Honestly, I give alot of credit to my friend Ozzie. She was the first person I was with who shared her knowledge and was with me the moment I made my first pair of earrings. That moment was so memorable for me. My father, who always said I was meant to own my business. He never stopped encouraging that in me till the day passed away.
My close friends who have encouraged me to express my talent in my creations and visited me at my first pop-up events and were my first customers. My good friend Alejandra who I think is still my number one customer 😄 Every vendor who I have ever sold next to or had the pleasure of meeting at an event. It truly has been inspiring and motivating to meet all these small business owners, especially women, who have graciously offered advise, contacts, friendship, and even cross-promotion throughout my journey.
- Website: www.agavesalt.com
- Phone: 5623555620
- Email: Laura@agavesalt.com
- Instagram: @agavesalt
- Facebook: @agavesalt
Mimosa Luong, Anthony Takii