Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Ramirez.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Jessica. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Motivated by my love of fashion and a desire to connect with something I was truly passionate about, I started my little shop after six years of navigating my way through a demanding, male-dominated profession. Despite being successful in my former career, something was missing. I came to realize that I craved the connection of sisterhood, and felt disengaged from my true spirit. I decided to make a change and create a platform where women could find support and advocate for each other. Believing that fashion can make you feel both beautiful and empowered, I got to work, and little by little, Salt + Sirena became a reality.
Starting a small business with no prior experience or connections was uncharacteristically risky of me. I took a good chunk of our savings, moved everything out of the guest bedroom, and started by googling “how to start a business in California.” The night I hit that ‘publish’ button and officially opened my shop, I was so anxious, I felt nauseous. That feeling didn’t really go away for months. It was scary putting myself out there, but I’ve grown, learned, and made meaningful friendships all from stepping out of my comfort zone. Whenever someone reaches out to me to let me know that their new dress makes them feel great, or that my blog post encouraged them to take a chance and try something new, it feels absolutely amazing! I’m so proud of, and incredibly grateful for, where Salt + Sirena is today.
Has it been a smooth road?
The entire first year was a cycle of learning and adjusting. Honestly, I made every mistake there is to make — spending too much on shipping, not knowing where to find the right vendors, not using order reports to complete my financials — I mean, just everything, haha! There are so many ‘tricks of the trade’ and resources that I had no idea existed, so I was researching solutions as each specific challenge arose. It was a slow, tough learning curve, but gradually, my mindset evolved and I started to get the hang of things.
My advice for someone starting their journey is to be honest with yourself about what your strengths and weaknesses are, and then draw from your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. I was very hesitant to spend any money in the beginning, and unfortunately, it showed. When I decided to re-brand in 2015, my husband talked me into investing in external talent by hiring a look-book photographer and a graphic designer. The two women I worked with brought my ideas to life in a way that I would not have been able to, and it has made all the difference.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Salt + Sirena – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My mission, and the shop’s by extension, is something I truly believe in and am passionate about! Women supporting each other, self-love, and mental health are all priorities in my life, and I make a conscious effort to really have it shine through in everything I do — from meaningfully engaging on social media, to hand-writing each customer a personalized thank-you note, to curating collections for the shop. Nothing about Salt + Sirena is thoughtless. It’s all a reflection of how much I genuinely care about my customers feeling beautiful, happy, and empowered!
I’m most proud of our chosen cause. A percentage of all proceeds is donated to organizations that provide scholarships for female, first-generation college students. I feel strongly about the role that education plays in opportunity and success, and hate to think of how many women are barred from higher education because of prohibitive costs. When I was 17, I was awarded a much-needed full academic scholarship to an amazing university, and that scholarship changed my life. I’m now in a position where I can give back, and my hope is that our $500 scholarships can at least be reminders to these young women that there’s someone out there who wants them to succeed.
Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
Definitely! I was extremely lucky in many ways. I was raised in a loving home where I always felt safe and supported. My parents set a wonderful example of what hard work can accomplish, and I grew up believing that if I wanted something, it was up to me to make it happen.
When I was 10 years old, my sister and I started a little business selling Mexican candy out of a cardboard box to the neighborhood kids. They loved it, and we were so happy. It lasted for about six months, until a neighbor called the city on us. The city official and police officer who stopped by were very nice, and even expressed annoyance that someone had reported us, but nevertheless, we had to retire our beloved candy shop.
Understandably, I was really upset for a while, but it opened my eyes in such a way that I was more motivated than ever to work towards the life I wanted. I learned a valuable lesson about rising above outside obstacles and persevering.
- Women’s Clothing and Shoes: from $15.99 to $71.99
- Women’s Jewelry and Accessories: from $11.99 to $51.99
- Website: https://saltandsirena.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saltandsirena
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saltandsirena
Salt + Sirena, LookBook photos by David Voorhees