They say that you should create the change that you hope to see in the world, and that’s just what fashion entrepreneur Caroline Alvo did. Frustrated with her own shopping experiences as a petite woman, Caroline decided to create a solution: Gambita. Gambita is an online “boutique for fashion-forward petites.” Join us as we shine this week’s spotlight on Caroline, a petite entrepreneur with big ideas about fashion!
What inspired you to start Gambita?
I was inspired to start this business to help solve my own shopping issues (I’m 4’9″) and the problem of millions of other petite women (which makes up half the female population in the U.S.). Despite the fact that there are Big & Tall and Plus-Size retailers, the petite population has always been overlooked (no pun intended).
Besides creating an amazing shopping experience for petites, I want to create a community for petites to be inspired by one another and feel a sense of pride. It’s disappointing to me that petite women can’t shop anywhere and see models remotely close to their size. I’m proud to say we’re changing that.
I actually had the idea a few years ago, but was content with my previous job and hesitant about starting something on my own (my background is in international development/non-profit and felt I had no business starting a fashion company). But this past January I was unexpectedly laid off from my job and felt like I didn’t have anything stopping me from pursing this dream.
How have you seen your work impact others?
I think the first thing I realized is that people really responded to the statistic that petite women make up half the female population. For some reason, as petites, we subconsciously assumed something was wrong with us because we shorter than “normal-sized” people. I think it helps to know that being petite is totally normal to dispel that feeling like somehow you should be different.
It’s also been great to hear from customers that they love the selection that’s been curated for them. It’s the first time they’ve ever had a shopping experience quite like this, which is exactly what I wanted to hear!
Who or what inspires you to think big?
My husband definitely pushes me to think big. He is an entrepreneur himself and I’ve had a front row seat for the past 5+ years since he started his company on how anything is possible if you put enough passion and persistence behind it. I also read a lot of books by other entrepreneurs (Seth Godin is among my favorites) to learn and be inspired by great things they have accomplished.
How do you deal with [the idea of] the “F-word” – failure?
For the most part I (respectfully) ignore it. Yes, of course, failure is always a possibility, but I don’t see much point in spending time thinking about it. If I did, I would never get up and do anything that scares me.
Instead, if you think of failure and making mistakes as a natural part of the process of getting anywhere in life, you’ll feel a lot more liberated to get out there and make things happen.
What is your advice to aspiring and established Latina professionals?
I try to live by two mantras everyday: “be remarkable” and “never settle.” Whether you’re just starting your career, in between jobs, or well-established, I think these four words can be applied to almost any situation and serve as a great way to keep you accountable, i.e. – “Is the work I’m doing right now really my best? Or am I just settling because it’s the easy way out?” Easier said than done, but it’s important to remember.
To shop Gambita, visit http://www.gambitastyle.com/
You can also follow Gambita on Twitter @GambitaStyle