On this episode we’re joined by Eva La Cruz and Jennifer Ladd. Eva runs a clothing design company for children up to 8-years-old. Running her own clothing design business was always her dream, and after facing a lot of challenges, she finally made that dream come true.
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Jennifer is Eva’s daughter, and they work in the business together. While Eva looks after the design, Jennifer manages the business and is also responsible for marketing. Their fashion design business is truly a family business, and their story really emphasizes the importance of seizing opportunities as they come.
On this episode of the Live. Love. Engage. Podcast:
- A little bit about Eva’s background and long-standing passion for clothing design.
- The competition Eva entered at a young age.
- The challenges Eva faced in starting her own company.
- How Eva learned about clothing design and fashion.
- How Eva and Jennifer divide their responsibilities within the business.
- Why their family moved often and how this influenced Eva’s journey.
- How Eva decided it was the right time to start her business.
- How hiring a coach helped Eva launch her business.
- The most difficult part in starting a business and how Eva navigated that.
- Why you need to exercise patience when building a business.
- What Eva and Jennifer have enjoyed most about this journey.
- What sets their designs apart from their competitors.
- The social media accounts where you can follow along with them.
Connect with Eva La Cuz and Jennifer Ladd:
Eva La Cuz website: https://evalacuz.com/
- Join the Live. Love. Engage. Community
- Intuitive Business Coaching
- The Live. Love. Engage. Book
- Support the Podcast with BuyMeACoffee.com
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Gloria Grace Rand: Namaste and welcome to Live. Love. Engage. I am Gloria Grace Rand and I am excited today because I have not one guest. I’ve got two guests on live, love, engage, so I want to welcome first Eva La Cuz and Jennifer Ladd to our show. Glad to have you here today.
Eva La Cuz: Thank you so much for inviting us
Jennifer Ladd: And thank you for having us.
Gloria Grace Rand: Well, I’m really excited to have you share your story and let me tell our listeners and viewers on YouTube a little bit about what piqued my interest. We actually met a little while ago through the publicity summit and I thought, Ooh, this story would be good. So Eva runs a basically a clothing design company, provide they design special occasion dresses for newborns through eight years old, and they’re handcrafted in the United States, which is cool. And the designs are even named for family members, which is also nice, and I know that I am doing research on her is that when she was a child, Eva actually dreamed of being a fashion designer and would draw sketches in a notebook in her home in Puerto Rico. But it took a little while for her to get to this place to be able to launch her clothing line. So I thought that’s where we kind of start and say what? What happened in the interim from when you were a child to, I guess it was twenty seventeen when you finally actually launched your company. So please share with us why that was and what was going on.
Eva La Cuz: Oh, thank you so much. First of all, I’m able, of course, from Puerto Rico. I have four years if four kids and always I dreaming being a designer since I was a kid. And that is my my dream, my dream. And finally, a lot of struggle, I pastor a lot of struggle in my life. And finally, I became the owner of the Eva La Cuz clothing line right now. But before all that, when I was a kid, I draw. I have my my notebook and I drive a lot of designers pictures and. I saw that in the TV competition of the designer, and I saw one of the rules was that I have to send some of the sketches I have to pay. And I sent them but I made the the error mistake mistake. And Sent my notebook all and I, when I pass a I think a month, I my mom, my mom, never know of that. Yeah. And when I some day my mom received a card, a letter, sorry, a letter. So the letter say that I win the competition.
Gloria Grace Rand: Oh, wonderful.
Eva La Cuz: Yes. Yeah. But that that the competition, I never know that that that kind of of competition was for for eighteen years old. Oh, I was just 12, 13 years old.
Gloria Grace Rand: Oh… yeah
Jennifer Ladd: It was a national competition. It was like in this, you know, middle of the day TV show program. So they do a lot of like competitions. And that day my mom saw on the television scholarship for fashion designing, but maybe she was thinking about something else. It was meant to be for more, you know, 18 years older.
Gloria Grace Rand: Right?
Jennifer Ladd: But then she, you know, she was really excited because she had a book full of sketches and she really wanted to to compete, and she actually won the competition and got a scholarship. But my grandma didn’t know, and that’s when she received a letter and ask her, OK, what is this about? So you’re not going to the capital to sing one by yourself at 13 years old, like, that’s not going to happen. And like how her passion started, she started to be drawing on her notebook. Let me say that she says that she did is that she sent out her entire notebook so she doesn’t keep those memories of, you know, her first sketches.
Gloria Grace Rand: Yeah.
Jennifer Ladd: Time, you know, that’s kind of like how her passion started. And it was, you know, a passion sent by generations. It has been passing through generations, so her mother does sewing and her grandma, so others. Mom has also done sewing for for the family, and none of them had any proper education. It has been, by just washing them, do clothing pieces for their families in terms of, you know, providing them clothing in times of need. They couldn’t afford new clothing from stores, so it’s being out of necessity, but at the same time is a passion that they share. And my mom being the third generation, so is it’s been incredible seeing that that journey from that she tell us about how she dream of becoming a fashion designer into now becoming a business, you know, owner of one clothing line.
Gloria Grace Rand: That’s awesome. And I just realized and thank you for probably clarifying it. So for those of you listening, I didn’t. I didn’t say this at the beginning is that Jennifer is actually Eva’s daughter, and you actually you work in the business too, right? What do you what, how, what do you do because
Jennifer Ladd: Your
Gloria Grace Rand: Mom’s maybe the designer? Do you do design too or something else?
Jennifer Ladd: I wish I had the patience and then I am creative. But just in another way, as I was discussing yesterday with my mom, it’s just like, you know, the creativity comes in two different ways. She does the signing part of things, and then I manage the business marketing and finding creative ways to market her new clothing line for childrenswear and just finding ways to to show her talents and and designing unique designs for little girls. And is everything handmade? So I help out with everything in terms of the business, which is which I’m really passionate about. And then my mom does the designing, sourcing for fabrics and sketching and actually making the full product from ash to at the end, where you see it on the little girls on her TV or baptism or birthday party, you name. And we have been starting the business. It has been the family of. Says for over three years now.
Gloria Grace Rand: Hmm, that’s awesome. So do any of your sisters or do you have brothers and sisters? What are you said for daughters, right? Was it all right? Yeah. So do sisters participate in the business as well as anybody else? I mean, maybe
Jennifer Ladd: It’s been more us, but my other two sisters kind of plays, sometimes in the background. One of them likes, you know, more like makeup and fashion and ways to really dress up nicely for one. She does. She used to do modelling and compete in in different pageant competitions back home in Puerto Rico, which my mom made a couple of her, you know, final competition dresses. She does also photography, so she has helped us a little bit in taking photoshoots for from our models. Mm-hmm. Okay. Well, wonderful. It’s been something that we collaborate and ask them for opinions as well, because overall, it’s our family. If we don’t ask them that, they may just share it anyways, their opinion. But definitely we try to keep it, you know, family oriented and also just, you know, keep their fresh ideas to consideration.
Gloria Grace Rand: That’s awesome. Well, now so you said that you kind of in a sense, sort of lost all of those drawings when, you know, sending them all to the competition. So. So since you weren’t able to actually, you know, take advantage of that scholarship when you’re being too young, did that then sort of set you back? Is that why you maybe didn’t necessarily pursue it when you got done with school or just life? Just sort of lead you on a different path? You share a little bit about that.
Eva La Cuz: Can you repeat the question?
Gloria Grace Rand: Well? Well, just wondering like, you know, you didn’t. You didn’t. You wound up? Not really. It sounds like to me and correct me if I’m wrong, that you didn’t necessarily pursue fashion too much after that initial competition that you were in. So what? What did you wind up doing after and why did it take you until, you know, just a few years ago to really get into doing it?
Eva La Cuz: When I graduated high school, I went to the university and start to to study no fashion designer I start to. If I start a teacher, Becoming a teacher, but I never finally the stories because I get married and three years in the in the university, I get married and I, I have my first child, second child. I never study a designer. But in the in the apartment I live, I start to sewing little dresses for my daughters. Mm-hmm. I was live in Germany. That Jennifer born in Germany now. Yes, I sewing a little dresses for my girls and all those other girls around there in the church I been. And but that’s just that.
Jennifer Ladd: And also, she was moving around just to add to that because my dad was in the army. So we had moved to different stations and one of them was Germany, where she stood there for like four or five years, right? We leave there and that’s where I was born and just moving and having one place to be established and then dedicating herself to her family. That’s kind of like what made that dream kind of like, put it on hold.
Gloria Grace Rand: Yeah, yeah, exactly. That makes sense. Yeah, because you’re you’re raising a family and and that I think happens with a lot of women sometimes is that, you know, we do we take some time to do that, to take care of our family. And then as as our children grow up, then it gives us a chance to start saying, OK, well, what do I want to do now because they’re living their lives, hopefully, and it gives us a chance to kind of kind of take some stock again. So. So was there maybe something that triggered where you decided to say, You know what, I’m going to, I want to go back and pursue this fashion design? Was there one, maybe some event or something that sort of sparked that for you?
Eva La Cuz: Well, I I from I am from Puerto Rico. I moved to to United States, Minnesota right now. We live in Minnesota. And my first reason for being here was my my son. He has me looking for a better education, for a better health for him. That’s the first reason and when I was three years ago, when I see that he was stable mentally and physically, my daughters told me, Mom, why you don’t start a business doing sewing because you have you, you, you are so talent. Well, I I thought of that. And you know, I know maybe in the future, one day came in the morning and I I thinking of that and I save inside of me. And well, this is the time I set the time to get the first step to to start my own business clothing line. Support of my daughters. I started and we already we. My other daughters, Jennifer, we we make a meeting and we talk and talk and, you know, building the the first things of the business because we didn’t know about that, you know, and we started educating, especially Jennifer and looking for for resort, resources to educate it and start. Finding a name for the clothing line and what I have to do to register. Register the business right? All, all, all things that to be
Jennifer Ladd: Able for the business because I don’t have any business background or she doesn’t have any fashion background. It’s been like grow from from the passion and talent from my mom. So it’s been a learning curve and that was something that she really wanted to start, you know, slow to see how things go goes. And we kind of started that way. We say, yes, we support you. And the three sisters got together to kind of like start planning and setting up goals for the business, and we started it with an Etsy shop on Etsy. And then our building from there all the way to build our own website and to even participate it last year at the New York Fashion Week. So that was really amazing.
Gloria Grace Rand: I was going to ask you about that because I know that, well, I’m a big fan of Project Runway. I will tell you that and whatever the the other one making the cut now, I guess the other one too. And and I I know that this is a dream of so many people to be able to get to to show their clothing at New York Fashion Week. This is a really big deal. So congratulations, thank one. And number two, how did you mind how did you wind up doing that?
Jennifer Ladd: It wasn’t. It wasn’t planned. We only had like three weeks or two weeks to send out all of our designs, and it worked out. And I said it was because God opened those doors for us. We are believers of that and has worked out for us. It was just at the perfect moment, perfect timing and anything planned. Really, we are part of a group coaching that is the fashion angel warrior from Christine Dahl. She’s located in New York and the pandemic. It was really hard for us to really like, decide, OK, there is not a lot of special occasions being celebrated, and that’s kind of like we dedicate our line to create handmade, special occasion gowns. Now what do we do? And we decided to, you know, spend some time and money, invest in our knowledge and ourselves. So we kind of hire Christine Dahl and she she has over 15 years of experience in the fashion industry, and she educates us in terms of how to build your own clothing line. From the beginning, you know the right steps, and it’s great information that she provides, and she also invites other resources too, and she interviews them on her Facebook group.
Jennifer Ladd: And from there, it kind of like grow our interest in Into Flying Solo, which they highlight international and international independent designers. And we’ve always been interested in that. They have a location in New York where you rent a space on their store and have an online store as well. And I had always think about that will be nice if we can just, you know, brand the space on that store, but it didn’t happen at the moment. Then later on, I learned that they run a New York Fashion Week show, and today just exactly that, they just highlight, you know, specifically independent designers. Mm-hmm. We I had emailed them before a long time ago that I was interested in having the space in their store, and they had email us. Like I said three weeks ago, saying a fashion designer had cancelled their participation to the Fashion Week will be interested. And it just came out of nowhere, and I didn’t know I wasn’t going to say no. I was like. And then I’m sitting like, OK, what are we going to do now?
Gloria Grace Rand: Right?
Jennifer Ladd: And then I told my mom, but I just wanted to confirm that yes, they’re OK for us showing childrenswear. They’re OK, showing the specific designs that we had. And what I said that it worked out is because we’re going to launch during the pandemic before the pandemic happened in new collections. But we hold it until the end of the year to launch it because after everything was closed down and we just didn’t know what was going to happen and how, you know, the learning thing we were going to be launching at the end of the year of 2020, and we actually ended up launching the new collection at the New York Fashion Week. So it definitely worked out. We haven’t launched it yet. We had a new collection ready, photos ready, photoshoot ready. And we just haven’t polished it yet. And then this opportunity came out, and that’s when we decided that it was the best time to launch it.
Gloria Grace Rand: I loved that
Eva La Cuz: Also it was strong experience for us.
Gloria Grace Rand: Oh, I can. I can only imagine. And there’s a lot of lessons here that I just want to make sure that everyone listening is. Aware of because there’s a couple of things that you did, no one is you. You hired a coach, you know, to get to get support and to help you to, you know, to fill the gaps in the knowledge that that you didn’t have, which is so important for people, especially, you know, when you’re launching a new business, know whatever type of business it is. So I commend you for doing that. And then the other thing is that you took action and you were, you know, sending out emails and things even even before you knew what could happen. And then you were just ready to say yes to opportunities when they presented itself. And and I love how you know, somebody dropped out and then you were able to step in. And that’s so that’s so wonderful. And and I think that is because you were you were putting yourself out there and you were taking advantage of opportunities. And and I do think, you know, God and you know, or whatever else you believe out there. But I do think that, you know, it’s I like to say that, you know, it’s divine timing and the things happen for the right time and that God is also watching out for us. And you see that you’re doing, you’re taking action. The right steps and things can can move around to help you move even faster. So that’s that’s wonderful. What have you what have you found to be maybe the biggest challenge in this that you’ve then been able to overcome in in launching this business?
Eva La Cuz: Well, I think the financing thing, yes, we have because running a business included that sometimes it’s not easy to get the the money we need to to run the business. Yeah.
Gloria Grace Rand: Hmm. So how did you? Yeah. What did you do did to be able to accomplish that? Did you have to get like a business loan or things like that?
Jennifer Ladd: And yeah, besides putting ourselves together and kind of like of support her on her dream kind of like the sisters got together for that. And that’s what she has been to win a lot of a lot of different projects or special requests in the community as well. So she does a lot of alterations for bridesmaid dresses, too. So that’s a source of income that we can generate something and use something to the business, everything that we sell to. We just put back in the business. So definitely everything involves money to days. Again, it’s not impossible. I don’t want this suit just believing in yourself and making a dream happen. It may just take longer for some people, which has definitely taken longer for us to really accelerate the process of, you know, building this business and growing it. But we are not giving up. We’re still here after three years and it has been a slow growth, but we’re taking one step at a time and with how we can, you know, financially, that’s how we’re making things happen.
Gloria Grace Rand: That’s awesome. Well, and I think that’s that’s the right way to go about it is to just keep keep going there. But I will make a recommendation to you if you pick up a book called Profit First and by a man named Mike McCall, which is a very long name. But I read that book several years ago, and even now my daughter, who also started her own business, kind of follows some of this. Some of his methodology, but one of the things he talks about the important thing to do is when you’re building a business that you should still take a small part of what you’re, you know, the profits that you make are actually from the revenue and set that aside in a separate account. And because you want to take your profit first, even if it’s only one percent, you know, but just to be able to have that money set aside so that that’s you know, that that you’ve got you’re actually being able to benefit, you know, to enjoy the fruits of all of the hard work that I’m sure that you are, all are putting into it. But if you just keep putting all the money back into the business, sometimes it can be, you know, you get to a point where you might burn out and it’s like, why am I doing this if I don’t ever get to enjoy the money? So I encourage you to check that out and say, OK,
Jennifer Ladd: Thank you for that recommendation.
Gloria Grace Rand: Yeah, put put a little bit aside, you know, it doesn’t have to be much, but just eventually you can increase it. Let’s see. I’m trying to think what else? What would be before we kind of close this out today, what is what’s been the most fun thing you’ve liked best about this journey that you’ve been on, what’s been and for for both of you? You know, what’s what’s sort of been your favorite thing about launching this business?
Eva La Cuz: Well, when I when we received the reviews from from the Moms By, there was by the the dresses reviews told us they’re they’re wonderful, they’re happy, they are with the product and that satisfies us. Mm-hmm.
Gloria Grace Rand: Yeah.
Jennifer Ladd: Yeah, I will agree with that because you put so much effort and work in time, and my mom has said, well, you know, the signing and just coming up with a product and she loves, you know, creating something new from a fabric into an idea, into a product. So having the satisfaction from moms or got mothers or and when they ordered his dresses and then they just find that it’s like super great quality. And we kind of know this things, but it’s just a good thing that they are telling us because a reassurance that we’re doing something good. Absolutely has. And if you know, we always ask for honest feedback, and so far it has been great. But we’re always open to listen to any suggestions or anything that they may just have to say of other products. But so far it’s been great. And they had definitely like my mom’s unique designs because the designs are made for appropriate to their age. And that’s the moms will look at our designs if they’re looking something like that. And also, you know, if it’s high quality, if it’s unique, and that’s kind of like why they shop for for clothing line. And those reviews just give us a really great feeling that, hey, we’re we’re in the right path.
Gloria Grace Rand: Well, that’s awesome. Yeah, it’s I I know it’s always nice to hear good things to know you doing. Well, that’s awesome. And I have I’ve looked at your website and yeah, the dresses really are beautiful. I don’t have any little girls in my life at the moment. My little girl is all grown up, so I’ll have to wait. Maybe someday I’ll have grandchildren and then I can look you up and can. So which brings me to letting people know who might be interested and want to look at your clothing and to see what you all have to offer. Where is where can they contact you? What’s what’s the website?
Jennifer Ladd: Absolutely. You can find those at w w w evalacuz dot com. So that is E-V-A-L-A-C-U-Z dot com and you can find those like that too on Etsy. We have we still have our Etsy shop open a lot of customers. They still prefer to buy us through through Etsy so that still available another venue that you can find us. And we’re also social media. We are active on Instagram and Facebook the same way at Evalacuz, so you can find those and follow us like our page and follow our journey. We share a lot of things that doesn’t have to only do with the products, you know or the business. We also share my mom’s journey how she started behind the scenes. So just feel free to search and and like our page and or if you have questions, you can also email us at info at Who’s com?
Gloria Grace Rand: Awesome. Well, I will be sure to put all of that information in the show notes so that people can get in touch with you. But I really do appreciate you taking time out of your morning to be with us today and to share your story, and I wish you much success in the future.
Eva La Cuz: Thank you so much. Thank you.
Gloria Grace Rand: And I thank all of you out there listening and watching, and I really appreciate you and I’d love to hear your comments as well. And we actually just got a couple of new ones on on Apple, so it’s nice to nice to hear it. And yeah, and until next time, I encourage you to go out and live fully, love deeply and engage authentically.
Gloria Grace Rand: Did you know that a majority of entrepreneurs tend to discount the importance of their work and a good number feel their success is simply due to luck? I know from personal experience that self-doubt can keep you from having the kind of life and business you desire. That’s why I’ve created a free guide called Uniquely You How to Move From Self-doubt to Self-love in four simple steps to claim your free guide. Go to live love. Engage dot gift that’s live love. Engage dot G I F.T.