Q&A Interview with Gabrielle Aceves, CEO of Lola 76
Gabrielle Aceves is a brilliant designer who also gets inspiration for her handbag lines by travelling and emerging herself in the cultures of the places that inspire her. Take her “Montego Bay multi-lambskin” clutch and her multi-lambskin clutch in rasta red, for example, she is intrigued with the Caribbean and designed a line that represents the bold colourful Caribbean culture, also sold on the Caribbean Shopping Channel. “My goal is to travel to the top destinations and create a collection per location/city/resort. This is how I come up with the main/story and colour theme“. Her handbags provide a fresh pop of colour at a time when many women stick to neutrals especially as part of an everyday career wardrobe.
Her business started as a result of a career transformation. ‘After losing my full time job in 2011, I felt it was my window of opportunity to pursue what is my destiny in fashion design. With no formal work experience in the industry, I jumped in and started my business from home’, Gabriela revealed. We sat down with LA based Lola 76 owner Gabriela Aceves – to talk about our favourite topics – entrepreneurship, careers and mentorship.
Source: Caribbean Shopping Channel
1.Q.What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
A. It comes down to freedom, to have the opportunity to live my life without limits, and take my career in any direction. Although I don’t regret working in a corporate environment, I did feel confined by my cubicle, not being able to fully deliver what’s inside me because my job title only required data, scheduled routine meetings and conferences. In other words I felt only a fraction of me was living. Owning a business I utilize all my senses, I get to explore a new venture and can change it as many times as needed or as pleased. There is a sense of real accomplishment and real living.
2. Q. Tell us the inspiration behind Lola 76.
A. My inspirations come from various outlets. Visually, colors found in culture,architecture and food. The emotions that music bring move my hands. Mentally, the power that women have inspire me. I believe that our personalities have several dimensions but society has us trained to be what is reflected in common fashion. It’s predictable, neutral, it blends in, classic black and white, soft and feminine but what about the contrast in our inner selves. What about the colors that represent our views, our passions, determinations, our inner confidence our sensuality/sex appeal?
I want to empower women that we can be powerful in a male dominated industry, that we can be feminine, nurturing but a talented force to be acknowledged through a bold statement that is her handbag!
3. Q. Why do you think Lola 76 has experienced growth over the years?
A. Mentorship has played a significant role in my success along with reading books like “The unmistakable power of grace” and “Women who run with the Wolves”. I had to look within myself and start living a purpose driven life. By making a commitment to myself it has a ripple effect in every aspect of my life. I’ve humbled myself to ask for help by working with Mentors. Currently I have the privilege of being coached by Leo Frincu.
4. Q. Do you feel like entrepreneurship is really a viable path for kids graduating out of school?
A. Yes! You have the opportunity to utilize your skills immediately. It’s a great way to put your ideas to the test, collaborate with your colleagues and you can learn a lot about yourself. There is a fresh positive energy in students and that energy can be funneled for a better cause. It’s motivating to see young entrepreneurs that are hungry and passionate.
5. How important do you think mentorship and networking is today for young graduates trying to find a job in today’s job market?
A. Mentorship is the main artery to a successful heart of a company. Having a mentor is like being an athlete and having a highly recognized and accomplished coach in your corner. To have guidance and support from a professional with experience is priceless. His/Her insights will give you valuable information that will change everything from the way to speak to how you approach your business plans. As I mentioned I credit my growth on the continued support from my mentors.