We had the good fortune of connecting with Claudia Guardado and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Claudia, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am a first-generation Mexican Latina. My Father immigrated here from Zacatecas Mexico and my Mom from Mexicali. Both my parents had limited education and spoke no English when they came to this country. Both my parents learned English through work and also watching programs like Sesame Street. My father’s first profession was as a shoe shine boy and later married my mother when he was 19 and she was 17. My father got a job at a company called The Linen Tree which did all custom quilts. He was so good the owners gave him the opportunity to design quilts for Sonny and Cher and Barbara Streisand which were later featured in the magazine House Beautiful. The owners of the company were two gay men and it was in a time where being gay or even working for a gay owned company was not accepted. My father learned business from both men and saved enough money to purchase his first home and buy a business. I remember living in a small apartment where we all slept in one room all together on the floor. The interesting thing was as a kid even when you don’t have material things as long as there is love you truly do not see past it. I had two brothers and a loving childhood. My father’s first business was as a bar owner, so as I grew up, I learned lessons of hard work and the understanding of the dollar. My father was the life of the party and it was amazing to me how his rags to riches story built our family. He put me and my brothers through college but the glue of the family was always my mother. It was her that always set the pace and she was front and center in the business taking care of the finances. I must say watching the path that my parents took was hard because the bar business eventually took its toll on my father. He had live entertainment and often pulled long hours. Entertainment was always in my dad’s blood and he would often sing in his own clubs. My father passed away at age 71 which was too young but I am so proud of him because he was raised with no mother and father and to be able to have 3-night clubs and 2 homes, kids in college and create a loving environment was a miracle. I have always been artistic and creative and I know now that those traits came from my father. I was always taught from both parents that I can do whatever I put my mind on. Principles of race color and sexual orientation were subjects often talked about in our home. In a Latin family it was quite unusual to have such liberal views in those days. It shaped my life style of acceptance for all mankind. The biggest lesson my father gave me in business if do not be afraid to sit at the table with the big executives. Learn from those who have more knowledge than you. Most importantly never forget that no matter what position you get to in life always treat the janitor, dishwasher or anyone who is in a service profession just as you would anyone in the room. I do not take those lessons lightly. I believe that the core of the family comes first and raising good humans is a lesson all in itself. Regardless of circumstance we all have the ability to build our dreams even when it seems impossible. Watching my immigrant parents walk together through many obstacles has been a better lesson that I could have ever received at any college. Watching my mom be the strong woman that she is has helped shape my values. She always taught me to make sure I was educated enough to stand on my own two feet and that being a woman is the greatest gift. She told me I had super powers and now I know what she meant. Building Puchie Socks is a creative venture for me but the roots of what the company stands for comes from values of my parents. I wanted to create a company that gave inspiration in each step. I am able to draw and put messages on my socks and I am proud to say that I have customers worldwide. We have been able to give thousands of socks to our front-line nurses during Covid and also give back to the wild fires in Australia in 2020. although COVID stopped our operation in March we worked through our challenges and are excited to be in production again, The company is still less than a year old and we can’t wait to bring you our fall line ” Anything we dream of can take flight we just have to BELIEVE…….. all it takes is one step in the right direction”.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I actually only had an idea and knew nothing about manufacturing and how I was to go about it. I took the time to learn business through a woman who I met at a business conference in LA by the name of Sue B Zimmerman who is known as the Instagram Expert she took me under her wing and truly guided me. she had several successful businesses before she became started teaching Instagram. I was able to study with her for 8 months prior to my launch and she is still my mentor today. I spent 6 month studying manufacturing and I was determined to find someone in the USA who would help me do that. I spent countless hours researching until finally I got a call back from a manufacturer and I set up a meeting to meet with them in house and it has been history from there. after kissing a lot of manufacturing frogs, I found the one that worked best for me. I won’t say the road was easy but the best advice I can give anyone is that you need to be laser focused on you goal and do not spend time with other time wasters that get in the way of your goal. Repetition is the key to becoming an expert at anything. Spend time perfecting your product and learn all aspects of your business before hiring others to take on roles. It is our responsibility as business owners to stay on top of all aspects of your own business to maintain the integrity you want to see carried forth.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
We are in Sunny California so not taking guest to the beach is a sin. My favorite beach would have to be Crystal Cove in Laguna Beach because you take a beautiful trail before you hit the beach also, they have rock formations that many other beaches in southern California do not have. I would pack a lunch and spend the entire day there. California is full of amazing cuisine and exciting night life. I love all things food so for Mexican I would take them to Ordonez in Montebello for true authentic Mexican food. I am a lover of all Sushi and have found my Sushi spot in almost every city but my favorite would have to be Sushi Zo in West LA. I love the food and the night life in the area filled with music and eclectic people.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This is truly dedicated to both my parents Jose and Lydia Guardado