At Latina, we strive to inspire our readers with real-life stories that celebrate Latino achievements. That's why we decided to create a weekly segment called #LatinaMakers, where we will highlight Latinx entrepreneurs that are empowering our community through their creativity.
The Latino population in the United States reached 58.6 million in 2017. Despite our a significant presence in the country, we continue to be underrepresented or forgotten in the general market. While there are countless brands which celebrate the American Dream, finding merch that has a Latin flair can lead to hours of Google searching online.
That's why after struggling to find cool Colombian-inspired hats online, John Serna decided to take matters into his own hands and began designing his own on a graphic editor software. “I decided to design my own hat on Photoshop," he said, adding, "I got about 20 embroidered since that was the minimum order and thought to myself, 'Maybe I can sell the others to friends and family.'"
To his surprise, the nineteen remaining hats were gone in the first two days. "I was shocked how someone else related so much to the hat because they also loved Colombia as much as me and wanted to represent it in a Fashionable way," the 27-year-old said. "I stayed up all night thinking how I could make this into a brand and try not to do this just for Colombians but for all the other Latin cultures."
Looking to create merchandise that reflected other culturas among Latinos, Serna came up with Cvltura. The online shop features a variety of headwear—including beanies and dad caps— and tops that celebrate Latin diversity.
Unlike other trendy streetwear, Serna draws inspiration from famous logos and elevate them by adding a modern Latin twist. “My design process is very simple. I like to mix what I personally like with something relatable in our culture. For example, I grew up watching "Friends" and thought to myself if I wrote "Parceros" which also means friends in Colombian slang with that same font style it would look dope. My next step was creating mockups in Photoshop and sharing them with friends and family to get their opinions. If I felt more people would relate to them and like them, I'd produce it. I also like to gather ideas and save them into my Inspiration folder."
While the shop currently carries headwear and apparel, the graphic designers' mission is to take the brand to the next level by collaborating with some chart-topping Latin stars. "We have so much in store for the future. But off the top, we’d like to continue doing hats and shirts and apparel then add accessories. I also do social media marketing and branding for a Latin artist by the name of Fuego. So eventually I’d love to do collaborations with an artist as well. The skies the limit," he shared.
When it comes to giving advice to the Latino community on starting a business, the Colombian-American designer said, “As a young Latin entrepreneur I've learned that failure is our best teacher." He continued with, "Everything happens for a reason, I went from being a graphic designer making club flyers to using that knowledge to create my brand and every day I push to learn new thing that will somehow help me in the future.”
Check out all the current pieces on the shop here.