Photo Credit: Alejandra Rodriguez
Who is Alejandra?
What happens when life hands you lemons? You make Lemonade, of course!!! That’s what our awesome EDL Mover and Shaker, Alejandra Rodriguez, did after she got laid off from her job. Instead of feeling defeated, she decided to act upon her dream of owning her own boutique. She combined her love of fashion and retail, transforming a delivery truck into a chic mobile boutique she christened, Rolling Threads. For the past 2 years, Alejandra has been leaving her fashionable trail all over L.A.
” I had my very own boutique. It has really been a dream and an experience of a lifetime to be able to what I love, and the best part is that I get to take my boutique ANYWHERE!”
My name is Alejandra Rodriguez but everyone calls me Ale unless you’re my brother and sister then you call me Jandra. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I come from a very tight knit family, so family has always played a huge role in my life.
I discovered my love for fashion as a little girl. I remember spending my summers with my grandmother and staying up late hours of the night watching her sew and wondering how she didn’t get her finger caught under that super fast needle (LOL). She use to get these huge catalogs from Finger Hut; it was kind of like a Target except in catalog form. I use to grab the catalogs and pretend I was ringing up customers. My grandma had this big calculator that would spit out a receipt and I would sit there and play with that for hours. It was then that I discovered not only my love for fashion but retail as well.
Alejandra was gracious enough to talk with Educated Latina about being a boss, FIDM, and following your dreams.
About College life:
EDL: You decided to go to FIDM. Why was this school the best option for you versus a liberal arts university?
A.R.: I’ve always loved school but I knew a liberal arts university wasn’t for me. There was nothing out there that made me happier than fashion. I started working in retail as soon as I turned 16 and I loved it. I loved interacting with customers, merchandising the floor and dressing the mannequins. I knew this was my calling and FIDM was the perfect place to learn all the skills necessary to succeed.
EDL: What were you like as a college student?
A.R.: As a college student I was really to myself, which I regret now. I wish I would’ve been more social. Although it was a bit tough because I was going to school full time and working 2 jobs so I didn’t have much time to hang around and mingle.
EDL: What was your favorite thing to do on campus?
A.R.: My favorite thing to do on campus was walk around and look at all the projects displayed on the windows. I would also love to hang out at the café and read magazines.
EDL: Looking back on your college journey, what is your proudest memory?
A.R.: My proudest memory was risking it all and going for my dream. It wasn’t easy for me financially; there were days where I wasn’t sure I was going to have enough money for parking or to eat lunch. But I pulled through and made it happen. It was also very difficult because I was not only going to school full time but I was also working 2 jobs. There were times I would sleep 1 hour because I was up all night working on a project or studying for a test. I remember for my graduation party my mom gave a speech and said “I remember waking up around 4 in the morning and her bedroom light still being on, and its because of that hard work and dedication that we are here celebrating her accomplishment”
Photo Credit: Alejandra Rodriguez
About Rolling Threads:
EDL: When did you realize you wanted to work in the fashion industry?
A.R.: Ever since I started working at GAP at the age 16 I knew I was going to do something that had to do with fashion. When I originally started FIDM my major was merchandise marketing but after a few classes I met with my advisor and told him I wanted to change to Product Development because I wanted something with more creativity. I like to describe Product Development like the best of both worlds, you get to learn the business side of fashion as well as the creative side.
EDL: What an amazing leap of faith to start a business in a down economy, Did you always aspire to be an entrepreneur? How does it feel to be in charge of your own business?
A.R.: Yes, I would dream of the day that I could own a boutique. In 2009 I was working as a merchandiser and due to the economy I got laid off. Although at first I was distraught, I knew it was going to be ok. Thanks to that layoff I am now the proud owner of Rolling Threads. It honestly feels amazing to be blessed to do what I love. At times it can get a little stressfull but it’s oh so worth it.
EDL: What is typical day like on Rolling Threads?
A.R.: A typical day running Rolling Threads starts off with a morning cup of coffee; I can’t start the day without my coffee. I then make my way into my pink office and start replying to emails, looking over line sheets, and researching on what’s hot and in at the moment.
EDL: How do you balance life, family and your business?
A.R.: At times it can be difficult to balance things around but my one rule that helps me make time for everything is, work stops when my husband gets home.
EDL: Where do you see yourself, Rolling Threads and your career in 5 years?
A.R.: In 5 years I see my blog being very successful and tons of fashionistas knowing who Ale is, and visiting Styledbyale.com to get their dose of fabulosity and inspiration. Im lucky and blessed to have my husband as my partner for Rolling Threads so I see us running a much larger company. Our goal is to franchise the Rolling Threads brand, so I am sure that in 5 years you will see many Rolling Thread trucks in different cities.
EDL: What keeps you motivated and inspired?
A.R.: The one thing that keeps me motivated is the desire to succeed. I know that things don’t come easy or overnight so I make sure that I keep working hard to accomplish what I want and not giving up no matter how difficult it may get. When I get frustrated I turn to my husband and somehow he always knows what to tell me to make things better.
EDL: What advice would you give to an EDL who wants to Move & Shake the world?
A.R.: My advice is to stay focused and passionate and NEVER EVER give up because no matter what it is you want in this world it is possible to obtain, with hard work, passion and faith.
EDL: What do you love about being an Educated Latina?
A.R.: What I love about being an Educated Latina is the opportunity to inspire others. I love that with my experiences I can help other girls reach their goals and dreams.
Get more Alejandra!
Want more style by Ale? Check her out on her…
Blog: Styled By Ale
Website: Rolling Threads
Facebook: Styled By Ale Page
Do you want to be the next EDL Mover & Shaker? Click here to apply!