At the age of 22, Elsy Guevara has managed to disrupt the fashion industry by turning a hobby into a successful business. When Elsy was just 17 years old, unlike most teenagers her age, she started to brainstorm ways she could use social media and her love for fashion to launch an online business. As a hobby, she and her sisters, Beatriz Guevara, Jennifer Guevara, and Patricia Guevara, started creating and posting fashion layouts and taking full-body outfit pictures for social media. The fashion posts became so popular that it captured the attention of a very successful fashion brand, Fashion Nova. The company directly messaged Elsy and asked her if she could create content for them, which eventually lead to a full-time job in the company. While working at Fashion Nova, Elsy and her sisters worked on building their fashion brand, OOTDFash. OOTDFash began with one rack of clothing in their mother’s bedroom where the sisters would find places in their small apartment to take outfit pictures and promote the few styles they were selling. Fortunately, the outfit and fashion content were getting recognition on social media, which resulted in an unexpected sales growth for Elsy and her sisters. Although the business is continually growing and now considered quite successful, there were many challenges and obstacles that Elsy and her sisters had to face and learn to overcome.
Almost Quitting but Finding a Reason to Move On
Not only did the increase in social media following and incoming sales encouraged Elsy and her sisters to continue, but these small successes over time also discouraged them. With growing social media popularity also came constant criticism and negativity. Every new fashion post was followed by mostly positive comments, but critical commentators always made their presence known. Commentators compared the growing business to other competitors, and Elsy found that it fueled the tensions between the more experienced competition and OOTDFash. Launching a business with no experience was sometimes discouraging for the sisters because there were moments they felt lost and had to find the right ways to manage and run the business with their research. Going up against businesses with years of experience before them and assistance was a challenging mental battle that was fought daily, especially when social media always reminded them of who they were up against. Being constantly critiqued and compared was upsetting to Elsy because there was still that strong human nature desire to satisfy everyone. Although it was very discouraging to read some of the negative opinions, overtime the sisters started to understand that the negative comments were not a real reflection of their work and self.
While criticism was constantly testing Elsy’s patience, there were even tougher lessons Elsy learned the hard way. It was always in Elsy’s nature to immediately see the good in someone and gain people’s trust quickly. When meeting new people, intentions were never questioned, but unfortunately, she learned the hard way that not everyone walks into the business with the mindset to help. Welcoming the wrong people into the family business has lead to company money and ideas being stolen, but over the last couple of years, Elsy and her sisters have managed to look past their losses and learn from the experiences. They have accepted that they will always face setbacks as business owners and with these failures and negative experiences, come valuable lessons and personal growth.
Standing out from the Rest
In the fashion industry, there is and will always be competition. Standing out and setting the business apart from the rest is a challenge that never seems to go away due to the fast-changing industry the business is in. Creating styles that not only make the person feel amazing and comfortable but also believing in one’s fashion sense is how Elsy and her sister found themselves setting themselves apart from competition. Although OOTDFash is growing and gaining popularity, Elsy felt like she could use the lessons and experiences learned from starting a business with zero experience to help other young women with little to no experience start their ventures. She felt that she could do more than just sell to her audience, but instead also help those few that want to follow in her footsteps.
For this reason, she recently launched a wholesale fashion company, Galifornia Wholesale. Galifornia Wholesale sells styles to small new boutiques at affordable prices. The new wholesale business supports Elsy’s efforts to try and help other young women bring the latest styles to their own boutiques and help them get started in their sales growth. One may find helping other young women build businesses in the same industry Elsy competes in herself may hurt her business in the long run. However, Elsy does not view competition from a negative perspective. The unselfish and kind guidance Elsy hopes to give these young entrepreneurs is something that makes her stand out. Afterall she states that she does not measure success in the amount of money she makes, but instead the number of lives she positively impacts. The four sisters hope to continue their journey, along with helping others as they grow.