Introducing The De La Cruz Collection: Discussing The Ups And Downs Of Creating A Business During A Pandemic.

Introducing The De La Cruz Collection: Discussing The Ups And Downs Of Creating A Business During A Pandemic.

For many who have been planning the launch of a new business venture for years, like Rosalinda De La Cruz, COVID-19 came at the worst possible time, pausing all manufacturing projects and ideas. Having had months living in this new way of life, Rosalinda decided this pandemic could actually be in her favor, so she pushed on and The De La Cruz Collection was born. Want to get to know what is buzzing through the mind of a fashion entrepreneur right about now? Catch our interview with her below!

SLTV: Let us introduce you to the SLTV family! Tell us a bit about yourself.
DLC: Thank you so much for the opportunity to tell my story and introduce The De La Cruz Collection.
I’m from Harlingen, TX which is in the Rio Grande Valley. I grew up thrifting through my dad’s wardrobe of fabulous printed and patterned dress shirts when my parents lived in California. Polyester never dies! My dad Mauricio was very stylish, and I used to wear his dress shirts to school and it didn’t matter if it was a men’s shirt as long as I felt good in it. I’ve been in SA since I left the valley when I was 18, and this has been my home ever since. Like most entrepreneurs, I have a full-time job until I can sustain myself with my dream job.
SLTV: What inspired you to create your own label?
DLC: 
I wanted to create my own label, so I could express myself through design and inspire others to express themselves too.  I think what is so refreshing in Menswear now is that we are looking beyond the stereotypical gender colors and seeing vibrant prints, patterns, and embellishments. I love floral print in Menswear.  Insert..I love Harry Styles/David Bowie vibe. I want my brand to have an aesthetic that promotes gender fluidity. I don’t want my clothes to define you because you will make them “you”.
SLTV: I knew there was something about you that I loved…and now I know it’s our love for Harry Styles! LOL 
The De La Cruz Collection is very new and so exciting! What do you wish to accomplish with this new venture?
DLC:
Thank you! I am so excited to present this brand. In March, I was in L.A. meeting with a manufacturing company. My goal is to produce a line of Men’s dress shirts inspired by my dad’s vibrant style, but everything started to shut down as soon as I got back to SA. These are uncertain times economically, so I’m considering manufacturing a small collection for both men and women myself and outsource some aspects of the process. My philosophy is “think big, but start small”. 
SLTV: What a great philosophy. These are hard times, so I applaud you for pushing forward and taking a leap of faith with your label. With a pandemic among us, how has our current situation helped or altered your plans for your brand?
DLC: The pandemic helped expand my brand into adding Womenswear a lot sooner than I intended. Since stores were closed temporarily I felt I needed to be inclusive.
I started making masks, and then I came out with my branded Homebody tees that included unisex tees. At first, I questioned continuing because I launched a week before everything shut down, but I decided to pivot my business and help with mask donations.
SLTV: The start-up of a label such as yours is always difficult in the early stages, with creativity and different avenues of ideas circulating your mind. What have you found to be the hardest part of the process?
DLC: The challenging part for me was finding the aesthetic for the label that represented my vision.  I started making masks during the pandemic, so my creative direction started to change. I began with a Men’s Collection, and now include Womenswear as well. Another challenge is not only creating but the marketing aspect too. I have a lot to learn yet.
SLTV: Tell us about the process of manufacturing your own line. 
DLC: So, a week before the shutdown I was in L.A. meeting with Indie Source about starting the process to manufacture Men’s shirts. When I got back to San Antonio the Pandemic hit, and then I had to rethink manufacturing at a high quantity during the uncertainty of the economy. I decided to start producing my own line of dresses. I sought out help from my friend who is an expert seamstress and custom gown designer who is teaching me so much about the cut and sew process. I plan to eventually work with a manufacturer so that I can continue to grow.
SLTV: This is so exciting, but I’m sure it took a lot of courage to jump into this. Many have hopes of doing the same so, what would be your advice to those hoping to expand their business with manufacturing their own products?
DLC:
Definitely do your research on finding a manufacturer that will produce quality items in an ethical fashion. Hire a fashion business consultant if you don’t know where to start. Attend trade shows and network within the industry. Just remember that you don’t have to start manufacturing high quantities. There are factories that will work with low minimums or start on your own. Information is so valuable in this industry, I researched for several years before I decided to let go of the fear and just start. 
SLTV: I’m looking forward to seeing what you create with DLCC! What are you most excited about with The De La Cruz Collection?
DLC:
The future of The De La Cruz Collection will be fun and daring with lots of color and embellishment. I’m looking forward to Fall/Winter with a small collection I’ll design. I look forward to flourishing into a bigger brand and supporting other brands and designers. I believe in collaboration over competition!
SLTV: Thank you for sharing your experiences, I’m sure there are so many entrepreneurs out there who saw the pandemic as a pausing point and I hope your story has inspired them to continue on and adapt. We wish you all the luck with The De La Cruz Collection and I’m excited to start shopping!
Kassandra Rodriguez
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Kassandra is a Trendsetter Member of the Texas Fashion Industry Initiative currently learning about online fashion media and content creation through its mentorship opportunity. Originally from McAllen, Texas, Kassandra is a fashionista at heart. She hopes to inspire everyone to dress outside of their comfort zone and use style as a form of self-expression. She's an advocate for plus size fashion, believing that fashion shouldn't discriminate on the basis of pant size. From working Alta Roma Fashion Week, to styling Milan Men's Fashion Week her experiences bring a unique flame to San Antonio.