The MNY Spotlight

Mothers in Business


With Mother's Day one week away, Lou and Ale wanted to write this post together, as they are both mothers. When brainstorming, they realized they had their own story to tell, Alessandra raising a son alongside a growing business, and Louisa with two toddlers, one born in the throes of the pandemic. They decided to ask each other about their individual experiences as mothers, trying to build the same company side by side.

Q: Ale, you gave birth to your son, Carlos, the very same day launched. How has seeing Carlos grow up alongside Mestiza impact your experience in building the brand with me...when there was still nothing?

Mother's Day Gifting

A: June 14, 2015 was a very auspicious day for me. When I went into labor with Carlos I had no idea that he would share a birthday with Mestiza.  My mother told me that evening in between contractions that he would be my and Mestiza’s good luck charm. 

Looking back, Mestiza was barely off the ground, we had a handful of dresses to sell, we didn’t know what we were doing and I was doubting myself this was all a terrible idea and not at all ready to be a mother. But that day, I bravely gave birth to two children, Carlos Augusto Perez-Rubio Briggs, and Mestiza New York. 

Over the years, small things started to fall into place for us and we slowly grew.  We secured our first big account, raised a round of funding, moved into our first office. At the same time Carlos grew from a baby to a toddler and now a very rambunctious creative boy. He has watched me hunched over my laptop designing, been there during fittings, eavesdropped on all my strategy calls with Lou.  He’s basically had a front row seat to watching me build Mestiza one dress at a time.  

Recently, Carlos has gotten more curious about my job, mostly he’s been thinking a lot about what he wants to be when he grows up himself.  I explain to him that I design dresses. “So an artist?” he asked me.  I suppose. Carlos currently wants to be a racecar driver, but something tells me he will be a creative just like me.  Sometimes when I am designing, he will sit next to me and draw, the two of us dreaming up crazy ideas and putting it to paper. Next month Carlos turns 7, which will of course mark another year around the sun for Mestiza. I am pregnant again with another boy, and Carlos is beyond excited to have baby brother he can teach all the things he knows. This time around everything is different, I am a little bit older, and Mestiza, like Carlos, needs me in a different way than before. But one thing I do know, is that I no longer doubt myself about Mestiza being a terrible idea.

 Q: Lou, you had Elliott and Clementine while we were in the trenches of building Mestiza. The pandemic was raging and we were knee deep in scaling the business. How did that impact your experiences at growing Mestiza?

Mother's Day Gifting

A: In January of 2020, about 5 years after launching Mestiza, I announced I was pregnant for the second time.  Mestiza’s website was really ramping up and we were starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel after what had been a very grueling half decade.

Twelve weeks into my pregnancy, I became sick with a virus which would later be formally diagnosed as COVID-19. New York City shut down, the stock market crashed and events were canceled. Ale and I panicked as we watched our first baby, Mestiza, start to waver…and I was about to go on maternity leave during what was one of the most tumultuous times in history and for our business.

Not only is there that lingering stigma of women and pregnancy in the workforce that was haunting me but, what was bad proceeded to get worse. Two weeks before my due date, I had a transient ischemic attack and was rushed to the hospital. The aftermath included crippling  anxieties over the health of my unborn baby, my own health, and how I would be able to care for my business and family if I were to be debilitated. 

As soon as Clementine was born, I sobbed tears of relief. I had delivered a beautiful, healthy baby girl. I wanted so badly to be there for her and her big brother Elliott. The thought of being unable to care for my babies, who needed me so badly, was more than I could bare. 

My dad said that sometimes you need a wake-up call to get you back on track. I think becoming a mom was that wake-up call for me. Having a second baby was huge change for me. I had to face the music that I was overwhelmed and to stop pretending like I had everything under control. While it was painful in the moment, looking back, I am so grateful that I’m ok and that I was able to work on myself. I focused on my health, streamlined my priorities and continued to educate myself. In doing so, I made space for more love in my heart and more clarity in my head. I went back to work more inspired and focused than ever. Mestiza is now growing and thriving, even more so than pre-pandemic levels. Of course, this has been truly a team effort with Ale overseeing my side of the business while I was on maternity leave, her beautiful designs, and our passionate colleague’s contributions. I feel so proud to be part of this incredible team and can contribute to this amazing (and resilient) collaboration that is Mestiza!

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