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 firstname.lastname@example.org if this interests you in anyway, and let’s create something beautiful.