The best thing about a project like Feliz is meeting so many creative people out there making things happen. Today's sponsor, a mother & daughter team our of Austin, are doing just that! Nail & Leslie Hernandes just (as in last week!) launched their web boutique Aro. After previous lives in fashion - Nail's been a fashion enthusiast since the 80s & Leslie worked with some of the best during her time in NYC (Eugenia Kim & Yigal Azrouel) - they've come together to bring shoppers a sharp selection of lifestyle goods & jewelry from independent designers from around the world. And we, for one, couldn't be more psyched to see what this duo has up their sleeve. Keep an eye on these two!
First of all, tell us about your shop!
ARO is an Austin based jewelry and lifestyle concept e-commerce shop that brings together independent designers, artisans and unique finds from around the world. Every piece at ARO has been thoughtfully selected because of its unique design and quality craftsmanship and ARO’s objective is to showcase talented up and coming designers from around the world who are typically not found at local department stores.
You’re a mother/daughter team, right? How does that work out?
Indeed we are! Mom and I do the buy together every season but I'll research the majority of the brands. We take turns with the office works but for the most part I manage the back end of the site. It truly is a family affair, my husband, David, help with the the finance and my father with the website development side.
Leslie, you have a background in fashion, working for some pretty big names in NY (Yigal Azrouel & Eugenia Kim!), what made you want to make the switch to the retail side of things?
My love for discovering brands! In my previous work life, I was in social media/pr and managing websites, with almost everyone going digital I was constantly finding cool new designers. Not only digitally but I had the opportunity to meet them in person. I would place personal orders and over time I had this small collection of jewelry. People were constantly asking me where I got them and then I knew I should start ARO.
Also, retail is in my roots! Before breaking into fashion industry I worked in retail and for a long time. I always wanted to be in fashion and at the time retail was the closest I could get to it. I loved styling and advising people on their style, so for me being able to work with designers, digitally and in retail is a perfect mix!
Nail, you’ve been a fashion fan since the 80s. What have you enjoyed seeing come back around? Anything you’re hoping is officially dead & gone?
Good question - I love that statement jewelry came back. The 80's was all about over-sized jewelry and clothing but I'm happy that the wild prints and colors stayed in the 80's. Another trend that I'm happy is here to stay is oversized blazers. Thankfully I saved some of mine and I whip them out every once in a while and oh ya, I removed the shoulder pads.
What’s been your favorite part about opening a business? Least fave?
I'm constantly learning something new, it can be challenging at times but that's the greatest part of it. Meeting designers and buying for a shop is the most exciting aspect of the business. I have yet to feel a least favorite part!
Tell us something surprising about yourself.
Soo long ago, I almost forgot about till recently, I saw a spiritual advisor to have my fortune read. One of the things she told me was I would one day work with jewelry, at the time I hadn't decided what I wanted for my career path and was just starting collage. I totally wrote it off but she was right, it was my destiny!
Images used with permission by Aro