Child Fashion brand ‘Motoreta’ has been exploding outside of its native Spain, having won prizes internationally, from such coveted organisations as the Japanese Milk Magazine.
Founded by architects Cristina López-Lago and Maria Llerena, following a conversion of their architecture studio in 2012, the pair sought to combine the minimalist principles of architecture to their simple yet sophisticated child fashion designs; sourced locally and sustainably.
How did you decide to start your own business?
We are both architects and we had our office in the centre working for a few years. There was a moment when my particular motivation for architecture went down a little bit because of the bad moment we were going through.
I was pregnant with twins, as a mother I never lost motivation and decided to try a new thing.
I did fashion as a hobby and I decided to go into parallel with the architecture. So we decided to go with fashion at the same time. We started by producing a small collection which we started to sell it.
So we went at the beginning to Paris where there is an important fashion show for children, which was very successful for us. Then we decided to work more in the fashion side than the architecture side of the office.
After that we started growing a lot so we decided to open our market and went to places like Japan and USA. So something that began as a small business project started to grow up and then we decided to go focus with that. The onward vision was really high. That was the beginning of Motereta. Part of the success, was because we transported what we used to do in architecture, like shapes and concepts to fashion.
Our brand was recognised because of the contemporary, fashion we were doing. And that was easy for us. The process of creating, producing, using, selling and photographing was the same.
How is the fashion business for two Spanish women working internationally?
We grew up on the Erasumus plan you know, so we were the first generation to go abroad to study in university. Before that, people used to study only in their own country, but we grew up knowing there are no borders, so we feel can go anywhere worldwide as a result.
For the first time, this generation has start to speak English and other languages. So I would not say it was easier, but kind of normal for us to think that whatever we do, we can sell it everywhere because we didn’t think in terms of borders; we just thought we could do anything outside them.
We have been educated that woman can do the same things, we used to travel, we speak English and we are also encouraged to run businesses. That is something very organic and conformable for us.
We don’t believe in limits and neither does this generation
Do you think that running your own business is the best way to avoid the glass ceiling?
I think the only way we can break that ceiling is having the same opportunity that men do, working together and being aware of this ceiling, as it’s the only way we can fight against it. I think things are changing but I think we still have a lot of work to do, you can see always in maternity more and more parents who are not women get involved. So I just have a positive feeling that everything is changing little by little, and we all need to help to go in that direction. I feel I have done something more than my parents and I will try to do more with the next generation, my children. Because we have been working on that since my children were born. So we have to work on this so the glass ceiling disappears.
What does women’s day mean to you?
Woman’s day, I didn’t even know when it was…
Of cause when there is something we have to work on I think it’s important to have a day because it’s a day used to talk and think about what being a woman means and what you have to do or what you have to work with; be it people, your business, your partner or your children. So its good to have a day to work together in getting to the same point men are at currently because I think we have legal equality but not true equality in some things or facts of everyday life.
What would be your advice for a young woman trying to run a business?
I think it wouldn’t make any difference between a woman and a man, I didn’t feel being a woman has been something that affected me in my work so I would say the same for both, be prepared, study ,work a lot and go, because when you decide to run a business you have to think you can succeed or not and if you don’t try another thing, probably in Spain we have to be more aware of that because in many company’s before succeeding have been failing and in Spain we have to work more on that, try try try as many times as you need and work as much as you can.