It takes guts, intuition and savvy to be a success. Analisa Jimenez has an abundance of all three. It also helps when you have a knack for timeless design for functional and durable leather goods. 😉
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I started Marloe when I took a leap of faith and left my short lived career as a merchandising assistant. I left in search of something that didn’t feel creatively forced.
I was living the life of an unemployed creative for about a year when I started to fill my time with teaching myself the art of making handbags and perfecting my sewing machine skills.
It was all sort of a hobby at first and people would ask me where I got my bag. That’s when my fiance pushed me into turning my “time filler” into a growing business!
I started playing around with fabrics and sewing machines in early 2013. I was filling my time by actually teaching myself something I’ve always wanted to learn. That’s when my hobby started to get attention.
By the end of 2013 I was making “custom bags” and learning how I could make this a real flourishing business. I was fortunate enough to start Marloe right when the demand for my totes was hot! So from the time that I launched my website in March of 2014, to having a steady flow of orders was only a span of a couple of months.
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE BRAND NAME?
I get this question asked all the time and really, for me, it all came down to branding. As a creative grad, I dabbled in graphic design, and it just came down to creating a name that was strong and graphically appealing to the eye.
I think as a creative that comes from a field in merchandising and graphic design, its second nature to want objects, letters and shapes to be cohesive and to tell a story of their own.
It started as something very formal that later embodied the persona of my company and what I wanted to portray as a brand. Although, I don’t share the same anecdote as my fellow artisans of naming their companies after their loved ones or something personal, I still believe it all comes from the same place of wanting the name to mean something.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST HURDLE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME TO GET STARTED?
The biggest hurdle for me to overcome was skill. I was trying something entirely different than what I was previously experienced in. I knew my way around a sewing machine prior to starting my company, but leather was a medium that I had never worked with before.
I’m entirely self taught with the exception of tips and tricks passed down to me from people that I slowly met in the leather industry.
People don’t realize how unforgiving leather can be. You really have to have, at the very least, some skill to work with it. It’s very different from sewing fabric, where if you make a mistake you can go back and alter it. Leather, on the other hand, is far more difficult, because there’s very little room for error.
I think when you start a new company from nothing, there’s always that learning curve and whether or not it was the smart way of doing it, I just keep learning new things along the way. That’s what keeps the world of small businesses exciting!
Marloe was a success from the start, I was constantly waiting for that tipping point. That moment, when people would lose interest.
Of course, you work hard and hope for the best, but because it was something so new to me, it definitely was a scary feeling to have such a quick success. It sounds funny that success can be scary, but I think I was having fears of “Is this something I can handle?” “Do I know what I’m getting myself into?”. I think these questions are the same all new business owners ask themselves. The first year of any business is the year of figuring it all out.
I truly had no idea how people would respond to my products, but fortunately I figured out to keep it simple and slowly introduce new styles to my customers.
WHAT WAS THAT “JUST DO IT” MOMENT FOR YOU TO GET STARTED?
I think that I’m naturally very cautious and like to weigh all of my options before I do anything drastic. However, no one tells you just how boring unemployment will be. Especially for a creative. We function a little differently. Our creative minds are constantly on the go in search of anything creative.
So, for me, the “just do it” moment was when I got multiple requests from strangers to make them a bag. The creative release was almost a high of fulfillment. At the time I wasn’t sure I would be successful in starting a company, but I decided that I was just going to it and see what happens. Three years later Marloe is growing and thriving as a company. We receive orders not just from the US but all over the world – and if that’s not a sign that we’re succeeding as a company I don’t know what is!
I think the “wow, I’m really doing this” moment came when I was contacted by OC Weekly to have a write up printed and published online on my company. It was that moment of “wow! I am getting attention for my designs!”. I’m sure every creative dreams of this kind of exposure, but to actually have it happen, is the greatest feeling in the world. I already love what I do. I love designing and making these bags myself but this kind of acknowledgment, makes it so much more special!
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