72 HOURS IN NYC

There are a few things more exciting in a fashion enthusiast’s life than spending time in New York City in September, during Fashion Week and Fall fabulousness. So I was particularly thrilled to be able to spend 72 hours in the Big Apple earlier this month for Market – touching garments and feeling fabrics – after years of virtual “visits” during Covid.

When I choose items for a collection to sell at GAL Fashion, I consider many factors: What will my customer where this with? Who am I buying it for? How many pieces and in what sizes should I purchase? How will this work alongside other items I’ve purchased?

On the first day of Market, we visited Coterie, a fashion marketplace where hundreds of brands and designers from all over the world show their collections for three days. Later we hit the showrooms, which offer private one-on-ones with the brand and sometimes the designer. Sometimes showrooms will allow buyers to choose customized and preferences according to what will be the best fit for the individual store. This trip, we saw Cinq a Sept, Ramy Brook, Delfi and other brands that our clients love.

Among my favorite finds on the trip: B-low the Belt, designer inspired handbags and Amanda Uprichard, and an up-and-coming international brand from a hidden market that will launch exclusively at IL Mercato on October. 7th.

What’s IL Mercato, you ask? IL Mercato is a project that I’m thrilled to share will be a series of pop-up shops inspired by market travel and buys. The retail experience will feature one-of-a-kind brands not sold in department stores, online or event at GAL Fashion. IL Mercato is for the true fashionista who will discover treasure pieces in a real market setting! The pop-up will be replete with mini showrooms, brand reps, models, and even local bites in the lounge (market shopping can be exhausting!). IL Mercato will be appointment-only, affording shoppers quality time with the brands, seeing the clothing on the models, and the opportunity to ask questions and feel the items.

Generally, markets are extremely costly because you have to buy full collections, not just one or two pieces. But to me and my fellow fashion fanatics, it’s a worthwhile opportunity to discover things you will probably never find again.

Honestly, I more excited about what I bought for IL Mercato during my visit than I am or Spring 2023! The items are so limited and precious, I am curious about the response to the appointments that will be set; I am eager for my customers’ perspectives and points of view on the international luxuries we found. Will they love them? Will they hate them? Will we sell out? Will they want more? The suspense is killing me…

Finally, back to NYC:

We went from place to place to find the best and we did. Here are a few trends to look forward to for Spring 2023:

  1. Emilio Pucci Print: The classic swirls
  2. Dolce and Gabbana Florals: Amalfi and Positano-inspired
  3. Prada 90s vibe with day dresses and all 90s
  4. Techno fabric, a huge trend in the 2000s
  5. Pastels: An Easter must have

The 90s and 2000s continue their dominant comeback, so dig out the looks from Prada, Pucci, Miu Miu if they’re still hanging in your closet and call it vintage! Headbands and hair clips, low rise jeans and tie-back halters… they’re all hitting, Baby, one more time.

Other notable moments from the Big Apple: Taking an elevator with Nick and Kevin Jonas; I was oblivious meanwhile my Gen-Z stylist, Pablo, freaked out silently. Later, a slice of delicious NY-style pizza rounded things out – the perfect way to end 72-hours of fashion.

As I reflect on this trip, I’m reminded how blessed I am to be able to do what I love for a living. I know I always this say this, but it’s true. During my morning prayers, I thank God daily for giving me the opportunity to work in an industry I absolutely love.

Thank you for joining me on my journey, and I hope to see you at IL Mercato!

- Logo purple

Dear Reader, It’s been exactly two years since I last updated my blog, but it feels like a lifetime has passed. While this blog has always been an important creative outlet for me, the past twenty-four months have been a time of deep, unprecedented evolution and growth for me, and I wasn’t in the place to share until this moment. Now, tapping into my experience, strength, and hope, I feel grateful to share my journey and updates once again. Speaking of experience, strength and hope… this October will mark two years of sobriety for me. I consider my recovery God’s biggest blessing; my life and significant relationship have been restored and perhaps the most meaningful gift has been finding my True self: discovering who Gesuina really is. My journey hasn’t been easy and it’s by no means finished, but it has been rewarding in more ways than I ever thought possible. Another seismic shift? This past summer, I closed MAXIMUS, the luxury men’s store that I opened in 2020. What started off as a booming business quickly downturned, but I realized that rather than invest more time and resources into making something work, I would follow my true passions and channel that energy into my real love: women’s fashion. So. Many. Lessons. Learned. This brings me to this moment: I lead a team of eight employees at GAL Fashion. They’re the light of my life, imbuing the store with uniqueness and joy. We’ve re-branded GAL, an evolution I invite you to follow at @galfashion. I hope you will feel the special attention the quality and the high level of expertise that our team exudes on a daily basis. After six years in business, I finally feel that we are enjoying the fruits of our labor come to life. What a beautiful (and delicious!) experience. Speaking of evolution… fashion is never boring. Styles and trends change with the seasons, and I have adapted this same rhythm. The past two years have been rife with reading, learning, traveling, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, even in the face of a global pandemic. Challenges? I now welcome them as opportunities to grow. Where I used to make decisions out of fear, I have become a Yes Girl who, like my friend Nanda says, embraces when “it’s time to say yes to the universe!” Some of the yeses that I would have said no to two years ago? Producing two major large events, judging a pageant, traveling alone, facing the closing of a business with bravery and honesty. So it’s in this inspired spirit that I welcome you back to this blog, to walk this journey with me… whether you’re in studded Valentino heels or sneakers. My recent travels and life experience have inspired a very special project. On October 7th, I’ll share the details, so save the date and join me in YES!

- Logo purple

The struggle is real. Not only are we in the middle of a worldwide pandemic but it is also summer. In the retail industry, summer is considered the worst season of the year. Sales and the amount of work drop as everyone is out on vacation, traveling, or staying at home with their kids while they are out of school. Well, my friends, that is a double misfortune for myself and my team at Gal Fashion.

Amid the silence and uncertainty, I started to talk to my neighbors. If you have driven by the Shops on Mesa lately, you may have noticed some of the shops remain unopened, while others have closed their doors permanently. I also began to conduct a bit of research regarding everything there is to know about taxes and our local economy. For instance, if we purchase items locally, those items are taxed in the county. Therefore, taxes stay within the city and we contribute to the local economy. However, whenever we make purchases online we pay taxes, but where do those taxes go? Although online shopping may be more convenient, unfortunately, it does not contribute to the local economy.

As I witnessed more and more local businesses struggling, I decided to act and do something about it. I reached out to my followers and asked if their business had somehow been affected by the pandemic.

“Has your business been affected by the pandemic? DM me for information on how to collab” - I posted on Instagram. My intention was simply to open up a conversation and figure out a way to support each other, collaborate, and grow as a community. I was astonished by the positive response and the feedback I was receiving. As entrepreneurs reached out, we explored ways to collaborate and support each other.

One of these collaborations was with Jordan Freedman and Tara Livingston from “Jordys.” By now, you may be familiar with their succulent and amazing charcuterie boards on my stories! Jordy’s has been in the catering business for a year now, but they have years worth of history in the food industry. This young couple sure knows the true meaning of hustling, especially during this pandemic when they have focused on getting creative to attain brand awareness. We have recently collaborated by becoming a support system for one another. We are young entrepreneurs who lean on each other and wish to succeed and experience growth within our city and community. Every time I have an event or a small social distancing friendly get together that requires food I go to them.
Because fashion and food don’t go hand in hand, we mainly support each other by word of mouth and referrals.

Another recent collaboration is with Balloon Ve.ga, your go-to shop for original and out of the ordinary balloon arrangements. Caesar and Jesus, two young, Venezuelan entrepreneurs, started their decoration business in El Paso in a little under a year. After they reached out to me on Instagram and a couple of conversations later, we decided to create a huge and gorgeous backdrop inside Gal Fashion that served as an instagrammable spot and a summer selfie stage. Everyone that visits Gal and our sister store, Tesori, gets exposed to Balloons Ve.ga and they can experience something different that you don’t usually find at our store. Fortunately, Caesar and Jesus have been booking balloon decoration gigs left and right, especially for drive-by parties during this pandemic. Whether you are looking to decorate your ride or add a nice touch to your lawn, Cesar and Jesus are your guys! Working with Balloons Ve.ga has allowed me to expand my creativity while supporting our community in a new way. I look forward to continuing to work with them on all of my upcoming events and special occasions, especially those social distancing drive-by parties!

The last local collaboration I will share with you today happens to be one of my favorites! I genuinely believe it was destiny for us to meet and come together to create something beautiful. Andrea Aguirre De-Leon reached out to me to collaborate. To my surprise, she is also a local fashion boutique owner, has a background in retail having worked with Ruby-Lola and we share the same age. Coincidence? I think not. We are a match made in heaven! I decided to pay a little visit to her shop downtown, Veintidos (which happens to be my favorite number), and was so impressed by the little gem I encountered. I just could not believe she has been around for so long (5 years), offering unique statement pieces to our border community as a young local female entrepreneur. My kind of Gal!

Andrea also happens to be a talented jewelry designer. We sat down, had a heart to heart, and realized that when two like-minded individuals who work in the same industry come together, amazing things happen. My favorite aspect of this story is that there is no competition but pure collaboration, all while we help raise each other to meet our ultimate goals. When I asked Andrea what she was seeking out of this collaboration, her response generated a sense of hope and excitement for the future.

” I want for us two El Pasoan female entrepreneurs to create the most innovative and unique jewelry line together” - Andrea

Surprise! Veintidos and Gal Fashion are working together to launch an exclusive jewelry line.

Every collaboration I have experienced has opened my eyes in one way or another. What I appreciate the most is people from various industries reaching out only to find that we share the same longing for our community. It is important to support one another as individuals and also to support our local businesses. We are all struggling during this pandemic in one way or another - may it be emotional, mental or economic. However, when we come together things get easier Feel free to email me at gesuina@galfashion.com if this interests you in anyway, and let’s create something beautiful.

- Logo purple

During this quarantine, I was so amazed and proud to see my entrepreneurial friends get extremely creative in finding new and effective ways of making money during this unusual time. They sought out to offer one-on-one mentoring and group workshops that focused on teaching people new skills from home through a video platform you may already be familiar with called Zoom. I was very impressed with how effective ZOOM webinars were for them. The cool thing about hosting workshops on Zoom versus video content on YouTube is that it is very interactive so you get the chance to actually talk to your audience and answer questions on the spot, versus a pre-recorded video.

Being the curious and confident gal that I am, I sought out to find out if I could also partake in the ongoing Zoom trend. But what would I have to offer? What could I teach that is of value? What am I particularly good at? Fashion, of course, was my first response. However, I have a blog for that and I am always sharing my knowledge on social media. I wanted to offer something more. I began to really dig deep and put some thought into it. I then realized that ever since I was 18 years old, I have actively been involved in several successful startups ( Soon to be 9 start-ups, stay tuned to find out more on this ;)) To be honest, I don’t know of anyone better who knows how to open a business – in what I like to call an interesting and strange market of El Paso, but myself. Not only have I helped develop 8 successful startups over the years, but I also worked for a genius and powerhouse master, the former owner of Tres Mariposas, who taught me everything there is to know about owning and running a successful boutique. I have also been heavily involved in other industries beyond fashion ranging from party halls, hair salons, The Gal Brunch, my mom’s store Tesori and so much more. The more I walked down memory the lane, the more I added to my list. I have experience and sharp skills in marketing, networking, buying, sales, accounting, managing employees, travel, and even architecture! I have done it all during the last 11 years of my life. As I added more and more to my list, I could not help but feel the adrenaline rush through my veins. I
I was so confident that if I was able to help my mother turn her dream into a profitable and successful company with my knowledge and experience, I could help others get their business off the ground! It was then that I realized I had it in me to help others achieve and accomplish their dreams! I was born to inspire, motivate, mentor, and execute.

I rolled up my sleeves and started a 4-series workshop. Each session would be 60 minutes long and I would host two sessions every Friday. I was so nervous to get started. However, I want to add that my motto lately has been “expect nothing, get everything.” In a gist, this reminds me to be present and make the most out of every situation knowing that there is always a lesson to be learned, whether it is failure or success. This mindset and attitude have completely changed my perspective and turned my life around. To my surprise, my first session was completely booked! People wanted to hear what I had to say, but more importantly, they were ready to learn from my experience. I was both humbled and extremely excited. I began my first Zoom session with great confidence knowing that I have put a lot of hard work, passion, and love into this and reminded myself that everything would work out just fine. Well, let me tell you, it turned out to be better than just fine! My first class was actually an hour and a half long ( disclaimer - it only felt like the best 10 minutes of my life! ) To be honest, the only chance I really get to talk about my experiences is through my blog, and although I love sharing them with you, this was different. I was sharing with a group of listeners who were eager to learn and know everything about my career of 11 years in fashion, retail, and business.

Most importantly, I got the opportunity to know each attendee firsthand by name and learned about their dreams and what they wanted to accomplish. I was able to connect with them on a different level sharing words of compassion, care, and shared interests. I have always said, when you do something out of love and passion, the results come in abundance. I was so amazed and surprised by the success and the positive feedback that I received. The sessions were a hit and people wanted more and more. Being able to help others by doing what I love was completely awesome and extremely gratifying.It made me realize that not sharing my knowledge and experience would be selfish of me. I can’t describe what it feels to be able to help and inspire others to make their dreams a reality, other than by sharing that my heart is full of gratitude. This coming Thursday, I will be hosting “The Net with Gesuina” to meet all my fellow students and mentees. I have a lot of surprises in store for them because this is only the beginning of Zoom with Gesuina. Stay tuned.

- Logo purple

The last few months have been unexpectedly insane, to say the least. In the midst of living in panic and uncertainty during this pandemic followed by a series of unfortunate events fueled by hate and racism, it hurts my heart to experience a continuous thread of backlash, bullying, and hatred. Now, more than ever is the time when we need to come together to bring peace and comfort to others and restore faith in humanity. In order to advocate change, we must be willing to initiate change within ourselves.

With that being said, I want to challenge all my readers to practice acts of kindness, gratitude, and courage daily, so that together, we can create a movement that will incite positivity and create a progressive impact in society given the situation that we are currently living in. I invite you to lead by example, and with our example, let us inspire others to do the same and thus create an endless chain of actions.

Kindness and Respect You may be familiar with the old saying “ You can’t understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” We don’t know what people go through, therefore we should be slow to judge. No matter what religion, skin color, or sexual preference we are all from the same race – the human race. As such, we should speak with kindness and treat one another with respect. Let your actions be driven by compassion and words fueled by love, because believe it or not, kindness is contagious.

Gratitude If you have a roof over your head, food on your table, and something to look forward to every day, know that you are beyond blessed. Let us not take the little things in life for granted. Your trips and gatherings can wait. They won’t make an impact on your future, but who you spend your time with during these days will. I challenge you to keep a gratitude journal and write down 10 things you are grateful for every day. Today, I am thankful for having the opportunity to share this with you. I am grateful to be able to have a voice that inspires others.

Courage Dare to be different and dare to be bold. Don’t fear being different and most of all, don’t be afraid to act with braveness, stand up for your neighbor and do the right thing. It is through acts of courage that we grow as individuals. It is through the seeds of endurance which we plant on this earth that will grow trees of hope in the future. Have the courage to act with righteousness and speak with words of wisdom and hope, especially today, when the world needs it more than ever. With this being said, I really want my readers to take a step back and realize that there is so much hate going on right now and we need to be wiser and use this opportunity to love and bring light to others. It is a time to unite, support, and come together as a community. I would really love for the city of El Paso to be an inspiration and an example. Let’s stand up for peace and hope for a brighter future.

- Logo purple