We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrea Palma and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Andrea, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Ever since I could remember, I always loved art and creating things with my hands. I use to always go to the fabric and flower district in DTLA with my Mom asking questions, and feeling inspired to want to do everything and anything that had to do with creativity. I always knew I wanted to be some type of artist, maker or designer. It was always around me growing up and luckily it was never discouraged in our family. I really started feeling that spark to make it into my work when, my brother who is a Chef in Los Angeles, needed some aprons for the kitchen. After a friend saw what I did for my him, he asked me to make some aprons for restaurant. That’s when it really became a vision,that’s when I knew I wanted to hold onto this.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My creative background is sewing and crafting. As a kid, my best memories were watching my mom on her sewing machine, while cooking dinner for the house. Which is something I find myself doing now. All my apron creations and ideas. are done on my kitchen table. I never imagined that my form of art would be,creating working aprons for makers of all walks of life. The type of aprons I love to design and sew the most, are the custom made ones for clients. I enjoy putting in the time to get know what the person’s line of work is, or what they are going to need the apron for. That alone tells a story and inspires me to want to make the best apron I can possibly make for them. To me an apron is beyond an article of clothing we use to do our tasks. It’s a statement when we wear the heck out of an apron. It means we are giving it life and character, so that it can tell its own story. I am proud of the fact that all my aprons and other pieces I’ve worked on. Are done locally in Los Angeles, in small batches or made to order. Which makes my line of work feel more special and personal to me as well as to the person using it. I am also excited that this year I took the leap of collaborating with other artists, and makers. It has opened me up to new ideas and I’ve learned so much from each project that I’ve done so far. Some collaborations are leather bandanna slides, designing my own bandannas and getting them screen printed in Los Angeles, as well as doing more graphic design based projects with other artists. Collaborating with other people, not only has given me exposure to other audiences but it has also given me the opportunity to create unity within art the industry. This took a lot of work to get to this point of being daring and unbothered if an idea doesn’t work the first time around. I almost gave up on my business for awhile. That break from sewing and creating made me feel like I was missing a part of me and felt depressed. When I went back to school two years ago, I started taking classes on marketing,business and graphic design. I began to feel inspired and pick up sewing again. After that I ran with it! For me, school has been helping me to put my goals and ideas into order. I’ve gain more confidence in how to run my own business and to brand myself. School isn’t the only way to learn, but I am grateful for the amount of knowledge and confidence that I gained from it. I get asked alot about the name of my brand and I always love to share the story behind it. In Costa Rica or “Tico” slang, the word “brete” means work and “amor” means love. Anything worthwhile in life, like our careers,our goals, ourselves and relationships with others, require a lot of brete (work) and a whole lotta amor (love). I always hope that those two elements show in my work and pieces I make.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First thing would be to have an authentic Costa Rican/ Mexican brunch in my own kitchen. I love to cook for the people, I love. Next thing, I would take them to Joshua Tree to visit for at least two days. Than if we could, I would love to catch a local show, Local live music in LA is my. favorite. thing to do with a. friend. After a night of live music the next morning we would go eat at my favorite taco spot in East LA, “La Azteca”. The tortillas are handmade and I swear the tacos and chile relleno burritos are magic.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Wow, I can write a whole book based on this! But to keep it short, the first people that come to mind are my parents ,for always doing their best to keep me engaged and curious in different interests. Especially my Mom. She taught me everything I know about sewing and crafting. I am grateful that she never discourages me and my dreams. No matter how far out or dreamy it seems. She always has my back and never lets me give up on myself. My son for being the reason why I keep doing what I do and always reminding me to enjoy life as well. I also have to thank my parents cultures. My Dad is from Mexico and my Mom is from Costa Rica. Growing up, they always embedded it into our lives and for that reason, I am proud to be a Latina designer and always try to reflect that into my work and brand. I also have to thank friends and fellow artists and makers, who I have had the privilege work and grow friendships with . It is never easy to share your art to world, it can be intimidating. So it’s nice when you meet other people who are on that same mindset, who support you and show up. Even if it’s by hyping you up on an idea and keeping the inspiration flowing. In particular, to “Tu Madre Crafting” club, who was founded by two sisters, Jacqueline and Marisol Rivera. They welcomed me into their creative community and thanks to them I found a second family.

Instagram: @breteconamor
Linkedin: Andrea Palma
Facebook: Brete con Amor

Image Credits
Andrea Palma most images by myself, pumpkin apron picture, Mari Rivera

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