I am a self-taught fashion designer, dream chaser, chicagoan, wife, dog mom, get sh*t done kind of gal. I founded Swap & Strut to help women feel beautiful, empowered to pursue their dreams, and uplift marginalized women from poverty.
I first discovered my love of fashion as a little girl. I watched every episode of America’s Next Top Model to see what the models were wearing. I was so inspired by the confidence and personal power the women displayed!
However, when it came to my career, i decided to not pursue fashion design simply because i thought it wasn’t lucrative. I was bombarded with societal hints- from the way creative people are branded with the label “starving artist,” to career articles highlighting the low average salaries of fashion designers…
See, I was raised by a single immigrant mom from Guatemala. The harsh reality of an immigrant woman who couldn’t speak much English, presented her with limited work opportunities. As a consequence, our family barely got by financially.
So, instead of pursuing my dream of being a fashion designer, I decided to pursue a “smarter” and more lucrative career path, in business…
This Plan B career path proved to be quite lucrative.
I landed amazing internships with some of the world’s biggest investment banks, private wealth and trading firms. I even had the opportunity to work on the trading floor at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Eventually, I graduated into a great paying job with a Big 4 consulting firm.
Four years into my career, something still didn’t feel quite right. On the surface, it didn’t seem to make much sense. Here I was, finally reaping the rewards I’d worked so hard for for so many years, in a career with so much potential…And yet I still didn’t feel truly happy.
Then, one day it hit me: I was “following the money.”
I’d done what I was “supposed” to do… I’d done what society told me to do and what was financially “safe”… But I hadn’t done what I wanted to do!
I realized no amount of money was worth me being miserable. So i decided to finally follow my passion: fashion.
Shortly after, I quit my unfulfilling corporate career to start a women’s clothing brand. I began sketching my ideas and teaching myself the process of fashion design.
I knew I wanted Swap & Strut to be more than just cute clothes. I wanted to create a brand that its mere existence was a testament that dreams do come true. I also knew that i wanted to empower women financially and create jobs that pay a live-able wage.
And so i did just that. In 2019, Swap & Strut was born.