Honduran American Lilliana Alvarez, 30, considers herself different, and she likes it. Her main goal is to communicate to the world her "fierceness," as she puts it, through her own personal style. "Wear your look, walk it, talk it and live it for the moment," she says.
She currently owns and runs her own fashion boutique LilXurious. The boutique carries costume jewelry, bags, sunglasses, belts and scarves. In addition, she is currently working on a children's accessories line as well and is responsible for all the business functions of the company.
Affordability was at the top of her list of priorities. "[I want to] make people feel fabulous without spending a whole week's pay on a statement piece that will make an entrance anywhere you go."
Read on to find out what Latinas inspired her along the way and her advice on how to make your dreams a reality.
Did the town you grew up in influence your personal style at all?
"Absolutely. I grew up in Union City, New Jersey, which borders many big and small cities booming with culture and fashion. Union City housed a majority of the Latin community, which influenced me a lot. There was so much that inspired me to dare to be different. I found fierceness in all styles which is when I started mixing and matching new looks all the time to be versatile."
How do you support yourself and your business?
"To pay bills and fund my business I am an EA (executive assistant) at a financial institution. I currently own and run my own fashion boutique LilXurious, which I am hoping continues to succeed as I work on to build my stylist portfolio. As a workaholic and being a perfectionist I independently perform and handle all of my business functions from marketing, inventory, website, photo shoots, fashion shows and customer service."
How did you get to where you are today?
"Nonstop grind. Faith. I began working at the age of 14 and had my own responsibilities buying my own clothes and lunch. It was really hard to try and stay focused on wanting to be better and live better but I did and it is worth it so far."
What is it about fashion that you love so much?
"Fashion has no limits as to expression. It is art. It is music. It is people. It is imagination. It’s a form of communication. Fashion is so powerful. It can influence the entire world. “
Tell us about Lilxurious?
"Lilxurious.com is my website where you will find information on my company, experience, and journey.”
Have you worked with any big names?
"Through interning I had the pleasure to work with Chrisette Michele and Trey Songz. Later, I worked with talents such as Cam’ron, Juelz Santana and LisaRaye. I've also been honored to be featured in the show Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane."
Do you design the accessories yourself?
"For the most part no. I just have an eye for what people want and what I think people would look hot in.”
Is it difficult to handle both the business and creative end of the business?
"Yes. I love the creativity part of my job. But working as an executive assistant to support my business and life is tough. Plenty of sleepless nights to work extra gigs.”
What Latinas do you look to for inspiration?
"My mom. I’ve never seen any other woman work harder. She has stuck by me through thick and thin and took care of the family. She is who also lets me see that anything is possible. Being an immigrant from Honduras and trying to make it in America to support her children was hard but she made it happen and she did not need the glitz and glam of the high life to make us happy. She is a real Latina whose succeeded."
What advice do you have for young Latinas who want to make their dreams come true but come across obstacles in their lives?
"Stay focused. Do not get caught up in the hype. Stick to your goals and work hard towards long-term dreams. Pay attention to your experiences and what you learn from them. There is nothing worse then making the same mistake twice."