We had the good fortune of connecting with Cardie Molina and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cardie, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I think the most important factor behind the success of my brand Oilcloth International is that I created it over 25 years ago after researching and creating a business plan that verified it would be successful. The product I import and manufacture with partners was not really widely available in the USA at that time and with the internet just blowing up I was able to get the domain oilcloth.com and start plugging away at creating a market for it here. It is imported from Mexico and is such a practical and functional product that everyone can use it. Like tissues or soap or something everyone can use and needs in a home. It used to be manufactured here but as cheaper imitation vinyls starting being imported the US companies dropped out…it kind of disappeared from the domestic market. I had always admired it at the 5&10 as a child, it used be a yard was on everyone’s back to school list. The other important thing besides it being an overlooked product by the majors was that I had a great passion for it. It is nostalgic, a bit exotic and very attractive! Besides being practical and low costs. We were able to establish a great market because at the time I was growing trade shows were popular and wholesale showrooms were thriving. Things are different now and I really don’t think those same opportunities are there – but there are different ones now! You really do have to keep up with the times and we have done that with our website, recently we started to sell retail as well as wholesale and we are now partnering with the new style of online wholesale sites that are whizzes at marketing and targeting new customers. We can’t do everything alone and have always relied on great employees, contractors and new technology.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I have a background in art with a degree in Museum Studies from the University of New Mexico. I knew little about business when I started and have become self taught. Prior to having my own business I worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art for 7 years. Once I had children (I have three grown ones now) I took a break and when I was ready to go back to work I realized that the money was not going to be there in the non-profit sector and decided then to start my own business. Yes, I was motivated by income and also wanting to have the freedom that owning your business offers. It was a great experience and lots of fun. There are many women in the textile industry and lots of room for creativity. We have worked with big and small companies. Crate and Barrel’s/Land of Nod early orders helped our cash flow and other big ones like Restoration Hardware but I can say that I prefer working with smaller, independently owned stores, manufacturers and women.
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?
I would definitely take them to the Huntington Gardens in San Marino. We would also go to Malibu for a beautiful drive on PCH for a picnic. We would visit the architectural sites downtown like the historic Los Angeles library, MOCA, the Broad and Grand Park . We would visit WI Korean spa on Wilshire and get a massage. I think the Hollywood Farmers Market would be fun to buy ingredients for cooking at home. Perhaps go local on some restaurants in my “hometown” of Eagle Rock or to the Arts District downtown.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wrote my first business plan with the help and guidance of an organization called AWED – American Women’s Economic Development which unfortunately no longer exists. They offered a 12 week program taught once a week at TELACU in East Los Angeles. It was based on the Harvard School of Business and was broken into different topics each week. Fantastic program!
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