ARO launched her web store and debuted at Feliz last fall. Since then, she's opened a pop-up shop on Rosewood avenue, the current location of Miranda Bennett's studio and the old location of Olive and has speed-grown into her flagship shop on South Lamar. This lady has an uncanny ability to make-shit-happen. She also has the uncanny ability to find the never-seen-before jewelry designers that will make you want to rearrange your entire identity around a beautiful bracelet.
Name: Leslie Hernandez
Location: South Lamar, Austin, TX
Astrological sign: Libra
What you had for breakfast: Eggs and Toast but wish it was Arepa.
Tell us a little more about your shop! You have a sharp focus on jewelry, right? What else do you feature?
Sure, I used to work in the fashion jewelry and accessories industry, I have always loved jewelry and wanted to open a retail shop that focused on the independent designers I knew and really admired.
ARO launched a year and a half ago as an online shop that focused primarily on fashion jewelry by independent and emerging designers. In September we opened our South Lamar brick-and-mortar and since then we've started carrying ceramics, beauty and aromatherapy, accessories and a little bit of apparel. All the designers we carry whether jewelry or not are independent and emerging designers with same vibe.
Where did the name Aro come from?
I'm half Venezuelan and spent so many long Summers with my family and friends there, all my memories are really great. The memories and experiences played a major role in my style so I wanted to name our business something meaningful and Venezuelan. ARO is named after the ARO river off the Orinoco, which is the river most people are familiar with.
You just moved to a new location, right? How’s your new home treating you?
Yes, really well! I still feel fairly new to Austin and I didn't realize that South Lamar had become such a big shopping district. We're down the street from Noah Marion, Hoiden Supply and Mockingbird domestics and then we're also in the same building as Headdress and Dylan Wylde so we're definitely in good company . Everyone has been supportive and I love that characteristic about Austin's creative community. My customers are ARO supporters from our webstore and Miranda Bennett pop-up shop but we also are meeting so many new local people from the neighborhood. They've been super welcoming and supportive too!
What does the future hold for Aro — any exciting projects in the pipeline?
I'm always excited about finding new designers and the new collections our current designers put out. This holiday season is our biggest buy yet, we have so many new collections to look forward to and we're in the process of releasing our next edition of designers and lookbook. Oh yea and we are in the process of re-launching our website but we're not sure when it will be done.
Pro tip time: tell us about an app/hack/website/thing that has made your life easier.
As a small business owner, you wear many hats and you're constantly on the move - I don't always leave time for traditional marketing plans. Instagram has really made business life easier and helped with spreading the ARO word. I'm grateful for the exposure, audiences and community of fans I've been able to reach out to. It's great that nowadays you are not just limited to traditional marketing, if you are talented and have a something good going people will find you!