Mexican-American designer Kimberly tells us about her bi-cultural designs and why the Latinx community matters to her.
Hi, Kimberly! Thanks for taking the time to tell us more about yourself. Your Instagram account tells us that you’re a Mexican-American. What’s your background and how does it play into your designs?
I was born in Cancun, Mexico and later moved to the United States. When I lived in Mexico my dad had a manufacturing and screen-printing shop where he would produce, design and screen print T-shirts. He would take my brother and I to work with him, this is where my passion for t-shirt design and expertise comes from. When I moved to the United States, I struggled a lot to learn the language and the culture. I felt like I had to work so hard to try to blend into the culture, I slowly lost my identity and suppressed my Mexican culture. I learned perfect English and followed all the American customs, even though I am also American because my Grandpa is 100% American. A lot of times I felt bullied or put to shame because of my skin color, looks and way of speaking. As a result, I suppressed my Mexican heritage to try to fit in. After graduating from college, I landed my first job due to the fact that I was bilingual. This was an awakening moment. I realized that having two cultures and speaking multiple languages is actually valuable and that is when my perspective started to change. So now as an adult, I have learned to really value my identity as a bicultural person, especially because I am a new mom and I would hate to see my daughter never know about my/her Mexican heritage. I want to share my design skills and t-skirt expertise with the Latinx community. My goal is to really empower bi-cultural women to be able to embrace their true self, with positivity and cultural awareness.
Thanks for sharing! Why did you decide to start your own merch shop?
Because I think that it is overdue to have positivity inspired apparel. I am a true believer that you are what you consume, so therefore I want to ensure I can provide a positive influence in the apparel and merchandise industry. I especially want to provide this to the Latinx community because I feel like we get misrepresented a lot of the time and I want to ensure I can be an outlet to positivity and kindness.
We love your positive and colorful Spreadshop designs. What kind of feedback do you get from customers and followers?
My followers mostly connect with the positive messages. They also relate to the Latinx imagery. It is a connection to their heritage. Definitely some of the feedback I have received is that they LOVE the bright and colorful designs.
Who do you think your customers are? When you are publishing new designs, who do you imagine wearing them?
My target audience primarily is a Latinx bicultural woman. They are age 25- 40 years old who speak both English and Spanish living in the United States. These are women who support the Latinx community by listening to Latinx music, podcast and books. They are very submerged into the community; however they work and have a lot of acquaintances in the American culture. These women are into personal development and look for podcast, social media and influences for this.
How do you come up with new design ideas?
I tap into the Latinx community and my current and childhood experiences to come up with ideas. I use my Instagram as design research; I see what type of phrases and imagery my followers are drawn to. I usually post phrases and see how the community reacts and if it has a huge reaction, then I create a design for purchase.
Care to share some secrets? What came first – the Spreadshop or Instagram page? And do you see them as mutually beneficial? Why?
Spreadshop came first, my history and knowledge with t-shirts and screen-printing is why I wanted to pursue this adventure. I love the opportunity that Spreadshirt gives me to be able to get started with this passion, easy and hassle free. I then opened my Instagram account to be able to connect with the Latinx community. I definitely see it as beneficial because Instagram allows me to connect in a deeper way with my followers and it also drives traffic and awareness to my shop.
What’s your favourite product in your shop and why?
I love the Spreadshirt brand sweatshirt! Overall the quality is really nice, and I have heard positive feedback from my customers about it.
What do you like about the Spreadshop merch system and what would you like to see improved?
I really love the quality of the products; the actual product is really nice. A few concerns I have received from my customers is that the printing quality is not great, particularly in color printing, it comes out super pixelated and not as bright as they imagined. Also for the mugs, maybe some size comparison against a human hand so that they know how big it is in real size, because I have received feedback that it is way too small in comparison to what they thought it would be.
Thanks for the feedback! We’re always working to make our Shop system better! What are your thoughts for 2020? Any interesting projects, design ideas or business goals?
My goal for 2020 is to host a networking event for Latinx women to attend and get inspired. The event will be focused on personal development, and healing from past trauma. I want to create a design for this event and tie it with the merchandise available on Spreadshirt. The event might be a virtual event or at a specific location. I also want to collaborate with similar brands who want to inspire, help and influence the Latinx community in a positive way.
Thanks for chatting with us, Kimberly! Wishing you a successful 2020!