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

Hi Paulina, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
For us, it was all about representation. I was actually shopping for earrings that I felt would allow me to celebrate my culture, but I couldn’t find anything that I really loved. So I taught myself how to wire letters to make custom wired hoops in 2020 and started selling custom hoop earrings soon after. Since then, my husband and I prioritize designing earrings and accessories that center our culture while using multiple mediums such as wire, polymer clay, and even 3D printed elements! We want people to feel seen and represented when wearing our pieces.

We named our store Eres Una Maravilla which is Spanish for “you are a wonder, a marvel.” We hope to remind our customers and community that they are special and marvelous!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Alvaro and I both have professional careers outside of our small business and I think the knowledge and experience we’ve gained has definitely helped us throughout this journey. I have worked in Marketing for over 7 years and graduated with an M.A. in Communication Studies with a specialty in strategic communication from CSULA. Up until recently, I was also teaching Public Speaking at my local community colleges. I think my experience has allowed us to genuinely connect with our communities on social media and find our audience. To me, marketing our small business is all about being ourselves, education, and transparency.

Alvaro’s professional career has centered on design, from teaching Drafting at Garfield High School to creating 3D models and designing application controls for commercial projects. His expertise in design was the reason we jumped into 3D printing tools and earrings at home. When working with polymer clay, artists usually use cutters and stamps and I was ordering custom cutters for months. Alvaro made the decision to purchase our first 3D printer and since then we have been able to provide one-of-a-kind designs to our customers which is something we are very proud of!

Alvaro and I work diligently to make sure we launch items that we know celebrate our Latinx culture in a special way but running a small business is difficult. We have worked hard to get more comfortable with failure and to use it as fuel to keep going instead of letting it stop us from creating. There is always something to learn or improve on when running a small business. It’s not easy, but it is fulfilling.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of our favorite restaurants in Los Angeles is La Guelagetza on Olympic Blvd. If you’re on the hunt for authentic Mexican food, go there! Our favorite panaderia (bakery) is Celaya on Vermont Ave. They have the best conchas and pan dulce! If you’re looking for a great hike, head over to Deukmejian Wilderness Park in La Crescenta. It’s a little further away from the city but worth the drive!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Our little store wouldn’t be the same without Alvaro, my husband. When I first started the store, I was doing everything on my own. As sales started to increase, he was always willing to help make the earrings, package the orders, and provide his input to the design and quality of the products. We soon started handling all sides of the business together and I don’t think we would be where we are now without his knowledge and commitment.

We also have the support of our family. My mom makes crochet earrings that I sell in the store and Alvaro’s parents have been our biggest cheerleaders and even help with packaging whenever they can.

Website: https://shopmaravilla.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eres.una.maravilla/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eres1maravilla

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