GET TO KNOW GIRLBOSS GRANT RECIPIENT, ROSELI!
Hi Roseli! Where did you grow up? How did it shape who you are/the work you do today?
I grew up shuttling around Southern California, my mom was a single mom and we moved a lot. I lived in six different cities growing up, and I think that instilled my desire to explore as many places as I can, while staying grounded and try to build community whereever I land. I have called Oakland my home ever since I moved up to the Bay Area for college, and consider it where I have roots. I love Oakland's history of resistance and rich art and music scene, and short distance to the ocean.
Did you go to college? If so, where did you study and what did you get out the process?
I studied Cartography at UC Berkeley and my dream was to be a mapmaker, using maps as a tool for social change. After spending time mapping the devastating effects of gold mining on indigenous communities in the Northern Philippines, I knew learning about the world and meeting new people was what I wanted to do with my life. I take that openness and curiosity to my business, I want to partner with women artisans from all over the globe.
Who was your hero or greatest inspiration growing up?
My mom. She is such a brave woman. She is also very stylish!
What inspires you now?
I am really inspired by the natural world. I love the colors that appear in the natural world- a jet black sky, the brightest orange blossom in spring. Mother nature is a genius.
How did the idea for ILANO Design come about?
I started ILANO design as a way to blend my passion for textiles and my commitment to social justice. I wanted to build a platform to create good jobs that honor women for their artistry and skills. I'm proud to say that we work with 4 generations of women, paying them 7 x their national minimum wage, and excited to be able to create heritage textiles: naturally dyed, organic products that can be passed down. I love my job and am blessed to have the honor of working with such talented and badass women!
How did you develop the idea into a business?
I am self-taught, self-trained, and was not afraid to seek out the resources from mentors and other women entrepreneurs. I knew that I needed to educate myself when it came to being a business woman. I graduated from a program called the Women’s Initiative that helps low-income, high potential women understand cash flow, sales projections, and build a solid financial foundation. I knew that the product, the story, and the numbers needed to be compelling and in this short year I’ve been able to bring our textiles to 6 stores in the state of California, one rug showroom in New York, and direct to consumer online.
What advice would you give to girls who want to do your job?
Start now, there is never the right time, you just have to dive in! Also, be compassionate with yourself. As women we are our harshest critics, and I think loving yourself is at the core of what it means to be a feminist.
What's your favorite thing to do when you're not working?
Garage sales. Flea markets. Thrift store shopping. I love the thrill of the hunt, and flipping some one's castoffs and making them stylish.
What are you planning next (in work/life)?
Make ILANO Design a household name!