@0:04 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
Hello everyone and welcome to the Shades of Entrepreneurship. This is your host, Mr. Gabriel Flores. Today I have jazz readily getting.
How are we doing?
@0:18 - Jezarely Miguel
We're doing good.
@0:20 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
Yeah, and you said great there. I see we were talking so I think it's important. We were talking about the importance of names before we got on there and I always asked my producer names and we were talking about it how you actually had your name changed in around the second period.
Tell me a little bit more about that.
@0:39 - Jezarely Miguel
Yeah, so my mom raised me just that I didn't get out. My dad allowed my mom to name me and she chose a long but now a name that I very, very much appreciate and love.
But yeah, it was second grade. Yeah, my teacher was like, I can't get it. You're just just from now on.
And Jesse has stuck with me all throughout school, all throughout college, all throughout professional life. And really when I started my business, I was like, this is my time to really shine and embrace the name.
Just because nobody has really ever known me that way. So that is a little story behind the study.
@1:21 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
I love it. So for the folks at home, tell us a little bit more about you. You're kind of Pat to where you got here today before we talk about your brand.
@1:30 - Jezarely Miguel
Okay, so I went to school for interior design. I went to the Art Institute of Portland and I completed my time there.
I worked in the commercial interior design world. Worked first at a French dealership for a few years and then moved towards the architecture and design industry.
So my big project there was PDF airport. And that's something that I am very, very proud of. I finished my.
a project and it was during the pandemic that I started thinking behind closed doors kind of like what I wanted to do and I knew I've always had this little niche for textile design and color and now I call myself a designer, a creator and a storyteller as well.
@2:24 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
Yeah, in fact, yeah, let's talk a little bit about your company, Mates.
@2:30 - Jezarely Miguel
Mates, yeah, meaning hue, the hue of color in English.
@2:37 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
Now, what is it?
@2:39 - Jezarely Miguel
So, Mates, we really focus on designing wool textiles, but most specifically handmade textiles made in Oaxaca, Mexico. Oaxaca, Oaxaca is known for many things.
I mean, if you hear about Oaxaca, you hear about the Mascale, you hear about the Mascale, you hear about the Mascale,
a chocolate and hear about the landscape, the food, the culture. And out of all of those things, there's also the hand weaving craft.
So I work with artists in Oaxaca who have been doing this for the past four generations and take great pride in that as well.
And I developed my own rug collections or textile collections. And I'll get more into the rug and textile now because my piece designs, informative designs or informative collections that really embrace what Oaxaca is and who or what makes Oaxaca the state it is.
And so the designs are very unique and one of a kind to the point that sometimes they are no longer rugs, but they are now art pieces.
So I get a lot of clients purchasing my textiles as wall hanging. So I almost stopped marketing them as drugs, and now I market them just overall general textiles.
@4:10 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
You know, I'm looking at them right now. So folks, if you haven't had an opportunity to see them, you know, we actually met at the pitch Latino competition.
These are just gorgeous. They're really pretty. They're very individually made. And they're just, again, to your point, these are something you can hang on your wall.
@4:30 - Jezarely Miguel
@4:33 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
Now, how did you start it? What tell us about the beginning of the company?
@4:38 - Jezarely Miguel
Yeah. So it started for many reasons. One of them being actually lost my oldest cousin during the pandemic. And he was still very young.
And it really awakened me. And it made me realize you don't know when you're going to go. and it can happen at any moment, it can happen to anyone.
So I quickly, you know, I was awakened. I started thinking of ideas of how I could really do something that allowed me to be happy, fully happy in content for the things that I was doing and be proud of them every single day.
So behind post doors, while I was still, you know, working my full time as an interior designer, I was starting to develop, okay, what can I do?
I know I like textiles, I know I like color. This is the time more than ever that people are embracing where they are coming from and being proud of that and trying their best to teach others about it.
And so I was like, you know what? Well, Hakka, well Hakka's known for so many things. Okay, so let's narrow it down even more.
And I was like, okay, so there's cotton weaving, there's the wool rope weaving, there's the plastic weaving, like what do I want to do?
Like, let's just start with drugs. And so again, his middle pandemic, nobody was traveling. I quickly got on YouTube actually.
And I was looking at travel vlogs. And I found a travel vlog of a girl that had gone to Oaxaca.
And as she went through the whole process of, you know, her, her time with this family. And so I connected with her.
I asked if I could be connected with the artisan. I did my own research. I found the agency that she went with.
Connected with the travel agency. Travel agency then connected me with the artist. And then a few families later that I interviewed.
I really wanted to find the right fit, you know. So I interviewed a few other families besides the family that I now live with.
And I just landed back with the first family that caught my attention and seemed excited about the opportunity. And I learned a little bit more of.
just industry in general, the craft in general. And I got ready and I started working and developing designs and a lot of submitted my designs back in March.
And by May I flew down with one of my friends who is also photographer and photographed the workshop, photographed the whole process, the actual design, did some styling on a beautiful Airbnb.
And then here we are now, so that is kind of how we started.
@7:33 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
So tell us, tell me when was that time, that moment when you realize I can do this, I'm going to pivot from my job, my secure job to be an entrepreneur.
@7:47 - Jezarely Miguel
I think it's like, you know, being a Latina myself and being Mexican myself and I see how no matter what.
Circumstance came their way. They have still been a very successful Successful individuals And I'm like if my parents can do it knowing that you know they immigrated to the US with so little money and such different situations and Have been able to Be so successful.
Why can't I do it? You know I have the creativity I Have the opportunities from the connections. Let's do it.
You know it never hurts to try I think that's another thing and never hurts to try and if I fail I fail and if I don't at least I tried and I saw it Man I keep telling these folks.
@8:44 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
I've never felt the day in my life. I either succeed or I learn right That's that's even if you fail you're gonna learn something from it and you're gonna continue Right, right you talked about your parents Are they a big influence in why you're doing this?
@9:00 - Jezarely Miguel
They are a big influence in the aspect to not give up and to always take risks. That's definitely one of the biggest things.
In regards to design in general, they have been my biggest motivators and have always stood strong when I said that I want to do design.
Especially when I was like, I want to leave my full-time corporate job and really fulfill this dream of mine.
Even more to embrace our culture and embrace who we are, get even closer to that as well. They get very excited also, just like the whole idea of what I'm doing and doing it in honor of where we are from as well.
@9:51 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
Now, is this your first business?
@9:53 - Jezarely Miguel
It is. It is my first business. So it's been an interesting ride so far.
@10:00 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
So you went from design school, you said, you know what, I'm going to start a small business. What has been difficult about starting a small business without knowing much before?
@10:11 - Jezarely Miguel
Yeah, I would say one of the biggest difficulties I've had so far is trying to wear all the hearts, like all the hats in the business.
I come with such a creative mind. It's hard for me to take that hat off. They have to focus on the numbers.
And I think that's something that's created lack on because, you know, we're taught to, okay, let's think about concepts, let's think about, you know, the great stuff is what makes a product in the storytelling and so forth.
And then you ask us about the numbers and we're like, you know, we really think about it because it's just not our forte.
But the great thing is like there's people always willing to help as long as you have and one of the most physical things, but again, knowing that their support out there has made it much easier.
@11:05 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
You know, one of the things you constantly mentioned, I think this is actually really good for entrepreneurs to realize and try to focus on too, is the storytelling aspect of creating something.
Because I think a lot of entrepreneurs focus on the business, right? They are focused on the numbers. But you kind of talk about it like, hey, let's bring folks in and talk about this piece as a story.
How do you...
@11:31 - Jezarely Miguel
So first of all, with Matisse in general, I really stuck with that little tagline that I have made in Wahaka, inspired by Wahaka.
Because my goal is to really only be made in Wahaka, support our artists in the craft as much as possible, and the local economy there.
But also be inspired of what is Wahaka, and what makes Wahaka. So through my designs, my friends. first collection was all about topography, the topographic maps of Oaxaca.
So like the four locations that were special to me, two of them being where my parents are from. And the other two was one that is a location that I've always wanted to visit and the other one is Yulahaka, Oaxaca City.
It's the heart of Oaxaca. And then moving on to the second collection, it's more about the inspiration or the environment of Oaxaca.
What makes it special? And that is usually the streets, the brick and stone walls, the colorful facades, all of that.
So I think how we story tell is through design. And the best way to do that is actually like verbally going through each society.
This is a reflection of this. This is a reflection of why those colors because of this and that and this.
So that is how we story tell. and we try to embrace Oaxaca as much as possible.
@13:03 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
And so essentially, you're kind of creating is like you're identifying inspiration with yourself and then kind of creating our, how do you, how do you find inspiration?
@13:14 - Jezarely Miguel
Going to Oaxaca. Yes. Or not even going to Oaxaca, you know? Because I had to develop my first collection without being in Oaxaca at first, right?
Because it's a pandemic. So that is why, like, OK, like, what is special to me or what? So that's where I chose my parents, cities, and then where I chose the two locations that I had always wanted to go to and visit.
@13:42 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
And you also mentioned when you went to Oaxaca, you found a family interviewed a couple different families that work with.
Can you tell us about that process and what do you'd work with with the family? Like, what processes of the rug they can do, they all do?
@13:56 - Jezarely Miguel
So thank you everything from everything I'm producing. they do. My job is really just to develop these beautiful collections and how we work is, you know, I develop my collections, I have my own master's set of color yarns and that is how I develop the actual colors of the textiles.
I submit my designs, my designs are produced from start to finish, so they still practice all of the traditional methods of production, which is the gathering of the wool to then the brushing of it, like physical hand brushing, the washing of it, and again we don't use any chemically or synthetic soap during anything like that.
We actually use a root that produces a very beautiful and a beautiful soap. So we use that and then after it's been dried we continue to brush it again and then it gets into the
Findles, then we actually start the weaving of the rug. So it's a whole process and they are the master weavers, so they do it all.
They do it all.
@15:11 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
Man, I wanna see this process because it sounds so cool. Like I wanna go to Oaxaca now, go for a second, some inspiration myself.
@15:20 - Jezarely Miguel
It is, it really is beautiful, especially the natural dye. And once you see how we get the teens, send the blues and all of that, and to make all these different cues, it really is, it's like, wow, the things nature allows us to do, right?
@15:35 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
We just have to go and search for it. Yeah, and so folks, I'm not sure too many people are familiar with this, but a lot of the colors that are, I was down in Mexico City two years ago or a year ago, and we were going through a tour, and they're showing us how they make different colors using plants.
They don't use dye, artificial dyes. They use plants that are grown right then and there, and it's really, really unique and fascinating how they make different colors.
they're able and they're vibrant colors. And they last forever to wash them and wash them when they're last forever.
And they keep that vibrancy. Now, in the business perspective, what you mentioned, this is your first time kind of starting this business, what has been easy about this?
@16:18 - Jezarely Miguel
What has made it easy, I'd say, has been the community and the support. There's always somebody that is willing to help, whether it's giving a word of advice, whether it's connecting you to someone else, whether it's lending a hand at a market or something, but somebody is always willing to help.
It's just a matter of asking for it. Or when people really believe in you, they want to be part of it.
They want to help and they want to see you just as they have succeeded as well. So that is really...
But it comes down to once you have a community and a support system, it does become much easier. Especially when you're just like a woman owned on your own running the business, any kind of support really is special and meaningful.
@17:17 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
So it kind of sounds like the networking, right? How important has networking been to you?
@17:25 - Jezarely Miguel
So important. So, so important. Any way that I can network with either Latino and Latina, you just seem to understand yourself a little bit better when you see somebody, whether it's in the same industry or just another small business owner doing the same thing.
People in the design field as well, or just woman designers in general or woman owned businesses, any kind of networking like that is super special.
Yeah, I can't like stop saying that because it really is super important. I think another thing is I've always practiced networking since college.
I always thought it was so important because you never know where it's going to get you. That is how I was able to land my internships, my job opportunities, and it is still continues to do miracles to this day, right?
@18:28 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
I can't agree more. I mean, networking, the power of networking. I was talking about it earlier today in the presentation, just the power of networking.
I had myself randomly on stage with sugar free because I met his nephew at Syracuse. Like it's just the most random things, you know, just because, but to your point, you know, putting yourself out there and, you know, building, building your self brand, right?
Right. But how did you? So that's how you build it networking, right? You build your self brand. How do you build the Mates brand?
How did you build that?
@19:03 - Jezarely Miguel
So right now When we started in the piece or when I started my piece I I launched in December 1st of 2021 So I launched on December 1st and as soon as I launched I quickly looked at any kind of market that I could do that same weekend And I found one in deeper 10 10 bucks and I was like Who cares let's do it.
So I Went to the markets that weekend or one single night and that day I got I went from zero followers to 70 followers So it's just like One of them is just being a being in person because people want to see who you are who who is running the show, right?
Nothing like storytelling in person That is one way we've been doing it just doing markets Or events or trade shows or anything like that
But then obviously month went by and I started learning, okay, I need to see my products are very different from what you would typically see at a market.
I need to see a little bit more specifically, or specific of where I need to be. So that's when I started looking at markets that were a little bit more costly, but that is where my market was going to be, my consumer market.
So far it's been market, social media, and because I have my design background, it's also been with designers in the industry, whether it's mature designers or architects, whatever it may be, but that has also been a way that we've been able to get the brand out and market ourselves that way.
@20:47 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
You know, I think you brought up a lot of great points that I want to pull out just for the folks that are listening.
One, I love that you just went out and started doing it. Right? And then you're like, let me just figure out what works.
And then you're like, And you started to define who your customers were. And then you understood, okay, now I know who my customers are, who they are, now I need to go to where they are.
And I think that's very important for the entrepreneurs, those folks that want to start through in small business. One, just go out there and start doing it, right?
We just start doing it. And then you can kind of start to fine tune it. I mean, like this podcast is about two years almost, going on two years coming up.
It's like, I just started doing it. And now I'm starting to get better and better and starting to bring in sponsorship dollars and things of that nature.
And things are starting to trickle down. I didn't know what the hell I was doing, right? But just putting yourself out there to your point, you gotta kind of put yourself out there.
You kind of build that. Now where is your items? Now you mentioned you went from the market, where are they at now?
Like where can we purchase?
@21:52 - Jezarely Miguel
Oh, okay, sure thing, yeah. So now they can be purchased at a Portland showroom. an interior design boutique, woman owned as well, SMG collective in Portland and the Pearl downtown area.
And now we can also be found in LA, happy A plus R showroom and row downtown LA. And something else is in the works, but there will be further representation of Matisse and other seats here in the West Coast as well.
More to come on that though.
@22:25 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
I will tell us what we without getting into detail. What is the five year plan? What is the 10 year plan?
Where does where do you plan to see Matisse growing?
@22:35 - Jezarely Miguel
I would love to see Matisse all throughout the nation. Next, I think my next goal would be the East Coast.
I kind of hit on the West Coast now. I want to get the East Coast. The other thing is I want to continue to support artisans in any way and capacity that I can.
So if that means growing my team to artisans with focuses. different areas like back at Whee-Weem, then I want to do that.
And so that is the plan to grow the product line once, continue the rug collection, and potentially be in a retailer, a larger retailer that shares the same goals of sustainability and supported artists, but that is yet to come.
@23:28 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
I love it. I love it. Now, you know, one of the things you kind of mentioned too, you really have a focus on really aligning your company with individuals that support artisans.
Why is that so important to you?
@23:43 - Jezarely Miguel
Because when you learn, when you learn what it takes to do this kind of product, the time, the physical labor, and you know, all of it, all the steps in order to create this beautiful textile.
Now, So a lot of people understand it, but once you do, you understand why it's valued at the price that is that.
So again, that is where it's my turn to educate people as to why this handcraft item is price accepted at this price.
So, yeah, I hope I answered your question there.
@24:28 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
No, you did great. In fact, you know, one of the things you used to do was pricing. How do you go about like finding the right price?
@24:35 - Jezarely Miguel
Well, you know, like studying my business, I really had to look at my competitors and it wasn't looking at competitors that were doing mass-produced drugs because that's not what I'm doing.
I'm doing small-batch drugs. And so I looked at what their prices were like. If they shared the same kind of style or aesthetic as I did and the fiber car.
content as well. Then that's kind of how I went with my pricing, but also in a way that my artisans were being paid fairly.
I have never negotiated my pricing with them actually. When they have set their prices by respect it. And that's how I allow myself for them to get paid for myself and I have the pricing structure here.
@25:32 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
I like it. I like it. Now, what advice would you have for aspiring entrepreneurs? Maybe aspiring female entrepreneurs?
@25:44 - Jezarely Miguel
So female entrepreneurs specifically, that's a tough one because I don't know. I think when it comes to all of us, you know, maybe.
Maybe for females specifically, we could just uplift each other as people can, let's grow from each other's lessons learned or advice.
But I think in general, with any entrepreneur, I would say learn to have fun because you're doing this because you trust yourself and because you believe in yourself.
So find the fun somehow, one way or another. And trust yourself. Yeah, it's difficult. Sometimes the numbers are not there that you want to see yet.
But remind yourself, you know, we just started in a slowly growing and embrace any kind of small wind that you come across, whether it's your first self, whether it's gaining the one new subscriber, anything is worth celebrating, especially when you're on your own, anything of worth.
allocating and embracing for sure.
@27:02 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
I love it. And I think you mentioned there's some difficult times throughout entrepreneurship. There's those lonely moments you kind of get through it.
I think that's one way to kind of get over that self-doubt is celebrating those small victories.
@27:15 - Jezarely Miguel
Exactly. It's so important because it's so easy for us to get caught up on the difficult times. It's happened to me so many times, but then I remind myself, you know, you did this or you already partnered with two retailers in the West Coast.
Like keep the going. Keep it going. Try to find other avenues. What is next? What's the new collection going to be inspired from?
What other cities can you touch on? So there's always something to celebrate, no matter what. What does that timeframe come out?
I'm really pushing for some time in develop my new collection in the summertime so it can be launched for either end of fall or early winter.
Again, just another collection inspired by Wahaka. This time I have two concepts in mind. One would be insect. Insect is a huge thing in Wahaka.
Some people are willing to eat it. Others are not. And another collection I'm thinking of is corn because corn is such an important factor in culinary in Wahaka.
So still trying to decide which one I want to move forward with. But again, the idea of just embracing what makes Wahaka special.
And why do people want to visit Wahaka?
@28:58 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
Great. Yeah, no, I love it. In fact, But folks are listening the collection, you know, as you mentioned, hopefully come out in the fall.
I will have this information on the newsletter, which is a great time to plug the newsletter. Please visit the shades of E.com to go and subscribe to the newsletter.
We'll have this information as well as contact information. In fact, how can the folks at home get in contact with you, your social media site, your website, if they're interested in finding out more, how can they find you on the social website?
@29:25 - Jezarely Miguel
Yeah, website is mataeco.com and Instagram is at mataeco underscore. You will list those.
@29:40 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)
Yes, and they'll all be listed as well. And I'll make sure they get tagged. Jazzarelli Miegel. Thank you so much, the founder of my piece.
Really great conversation. I think you had a lot of golden nuggets for our listeners. So folks, I really do hope you took the time to listen and really listen to what she's saying because the way she's building this business.
is the exact way you should be doing it, right? She took her time to go out there and network, she understood, okay, who's are my customers?
Let me reassess that. And then really kind of focusing on her expertise and understanding it seems like you know what your zone of genius is, design.
Now let me let other people do the other things that might not be competent as well as the zone of genius, right?
So I think you're in a phenomenal job. I'm excited. I'm going to definitely check out your products. I remember seeing them at the pitch Latino.
So I'm excited for you. I really do hope we do see you across the country because really pretty beautiful rugs, really cool.
Again, they could be on the floor or hung up. I think personally I might find it being hung up in my house because they're really cool design.
So thank you again so much for being on the show. For those folks listening at home, you can find me at theshadesofe.com or you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn by visiting at theshadesofe.
Thank you and have a great day. Night.