Ariana Rodriguez not only serves as a Veteran, but as Aluxe CEO she also serves as a bomb Boss in the fashion world. Ariana’s epiphany came from trying to balance work wear fashion and glam. Monday through Friday she works in a professional environment where bottom boobs and mini skirts are not allowed. However, that doesn’t stop her from turning heads.
“I wanted to kind of create that safe space for women. There are people out there you who want to look professional Monday through Friday because you have to present yourself in a mature way, but on the weekends you can be free and dress however it is you want to dress and be confident in your body.”
So how does a Government employee become a fashion guru? Ariana says she received so many compliments for her style in the work place. Being young and working with a lot of older women can be a little trying, because of the style factors between age. However, Ariana exceeded expectations, so much so that she was nicknamed “Threads”.
“What drove me to it was the fact that I received so many compliments from both men and women. I had one job a couple years ago where they nicknamed me Threads because the older women were like “you always have the cutest threads”. So they used to call me threads. Their encouragement I think gave me the bravery to kind of jump into the business . It is an over saturated market. It is so easy to do now that everybody is trying to do it”.
Ariana says she enjoys seeing women in her merchandise, or when men purchase it for their women.
“Just that confidence boost, it gives me a great feeling to know that I can contribute to someone else’s confidence”.
Ariana’s journey has not been the smoothest. So how has she managed to differentiate herself in an over saturated industry?
She launched her brand Aluxe on April 1,2019. She was getting a lot of traffic and hit over 30 sales in three weeks. Unfortunately, she unexpectedly ended up in the ICU. Ariana has since then picked herself back up and focuses on managing time.
Ariana’s full on entrepreneurship includes balancing a full time education, a full time job, and being a divorced mother.
” I’m pretty transparent with my journey as well. A lot of women write me and they ask for advice. They as how did I make it through a divorce, or how am I handling being a single mom and doing all of these things that I am doing. a lot of them tell me how inspirational I am. That’s what sets me aside is that I am willing to talk to people. I’m willing to put myself out there, you know the ugliest parts of me and share that”.
“I feel like my daughter is a mini me. She is going to grow up and be her own little boss. Just seeing how much she looks up to me it makes me push forward. So challenging myself, and challenging her to be the best that she can be, because we live in a cruel world. It’s definitely hard to raise kids and chase your dreams”.
Ariana has set a mission to make Aluxe the brand for women in the work industry, with fashion that doesn’t break the bank.
“It’s costly to look good. Especially at work, or you can look boring for cheaper. For me I prefer to be vibrant, and I feel like what you wear really does say a lot about you. Your clothes are kind of like your personality. That’s the first thing that someone sees, that and your body manner. That is why you always hear your first impression is so important. When I am getting dressed for work that’s what I think about.”
Throughout building Aluxe, Ariana has also endured the ripoff wholesale drama that many can relate to in this industry. She wanted to make sure that her material was valuable. However, Ariana encourages anyone starting out in the industry to stay their course.
“It is definitely hard work. You have to put time in it. You won’t get results unless you do. It’s kind of like your body. Everybody has summer body goals, if you ain’t working at it through out the year come summer time you’re just out of luck. Ask for advice. It’s not going to hurt you to put yourself out there. Ask others how did you do this, or how did you dot that. There are people out there that will help you, that don’t want to gain any monetary value from that help.”
Ariana says it has been hard learning inventory and putting trust into vendors.
“I’ve lost so much money ordering stuff and it looks good online and I get it, and I’m like absolutely not. I will not put this on my store. I did a lot of research. This is like five years worth of research to me finally starting and taking a leap of faith.”
Ariana explains that everyone is different, the hardest part for her journey with building Aluxe was finding her niche.
” You have to be really into what you are doing. Do the research. Train yourself. It’s like a job, especially now because you are the owner. If it fails, you fail.”
Ariana advises every business owner to be aware of the market, be aware of your surroundings. Not all money is good money.