What is the inspiration for your brand’s name?
My grandmother, Celeste! She helped run our family’s jewelry store in Puerto Rico 60+ years ago. She traveled all around the world acquiring the pieces, so we try to embody her wanderlust and independent spirit in our jewelry, made modern at affordable price points.
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer? Why or Why not?
I would definitely not classify myself as a designer, I wish I had the talent for that! I consider myself a merchant. I have 10+ years as a Buyer for big box retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, and Ross Stores, so my passion is in merchandising and product development. I’m the ideas person, meaning I have a strong sense of what can perform at scale, so I leave the technical stuff and actual design to the experts!
"Just start! There will be no “perfect” time. You will change your logo, colors, font, etc. a million times, so don’t get caught up in the minutia."
If you could do something different before starting your business what would it be?
I probably would have utilized my existing network to talk to other entrepreneurs or gotten a mentor. I could have avoided some mistakes starting out had I done that first.
Do you feel working in the fashion industry is different today than from when you started out? Why or why not?
It’s completely different! I started as an Assistant Buyer at Neiman Marcus in 2008, when brick and mortar retail was still king and social media didn’t exist. It has definitely evolved!
What advice would you give to young designers just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?
Just start! There will be no “perfect” time. You will change your logo, colors, font, etc. a million times, so don’t get caught up in the minutia.
"Self-fulfillment; providing for my family and providing opportunities and empowerment to women through jobs, mentorship and charity."
What direction do you believe the fashion industry is headed?
The customer has a lot of options, so she is definitely wanting a more personalized and unique experience. Whether that is a pop up, the ability to shop while she “swipes” on social media, or chatting with brands via DM. I think the industry is also becoming more conscious of its’ waste issue and taking a stand on other social causes. This is important to the consumer as she is deciding where to spend her money.
How do you define fashion?
There is no definition, that’s what I love about it. Cover yourself in whatever makes you feel good.
What does the word “success” mean to you?
Self-fulfillment; providing for my family and providing opportunities and empowerment to women through jobs, mentorship and charity.
"Celeste Sol will be a vertically integrated lifestyle brand that employs, empowers, and gives back to women — predominantly in the Black and Latinx community."
What other designers/brands inspire you? Why?
I admire Chanel for their longevity and ability to produce classics over the ages. I love the aesthetic of Celine (especially at the helm of Phoebe Philo). I admire Tom’s for leading the way for socially conscience brands and their commitment to charity. I think Warby Parker is also an innovator for the DTC model which completely changed the game.
What is the vision for your brand in the next 5 years?
Celeste Sol will be a vertically integrated lifestyle brand that employs, empowers, and gives back to women — predominantly in the Black and Latinx community.