Betty Barajas

Industry: Fashion and Entrepreneurship
Location: California, USA
Age: 33 years
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As a child what did you want to grow up to be? Did you stick to it?

As a child I wanted to be a few things. A lawyer, a social worker or a teacher!
I actually started out in a teacher track program in college and changed my mind. I ended up studying Psychology and worked as a counselor and then case manager for many years. Essentially, close to being a social worker. Things changed as I changed as a person and with my life experiences.

What and where have you studied?

I have studied psychology and graduated with a Bachelors from California State University, Long Beach. I decided not to continue my education for my Masters, but still might be something I will do in the near future.

Why have you changed courses in your career?

I have worked with at-risk youth since 2007 professionally and volunteering since 2004. I have always loved to help youth and have done it as a counselor, school coordinator and also as a case manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters LA for 7 years, until I recently left this past May.
Currently, since May of this year, I took the leap to start my own business and switch into something more creative and own my own terms!
I have sacrificed a lot to try this out, but so far it has been good. I am currently running an online shop for men’s vintage clothing, inspired by rock ‘n’ roll and also doing styling/makeovers and personal shopping. It has been fun, challenging and even fulfilling. It’s been interesting to see how this goes, but so happy I am taking this chance and so far people have been receptive.
I love to give back, so I am also planning on donating a $1 of every sale to Sweet Relief Musicians Fund. This is challenging, but I will do what it takes to make this business successful!

What made you choose to start up on your own?

I have always felt that I was meant to run my own venture and do things on my own terms and most importantly have creative freedom. A huge inspiration was the encouragement of my late friend/mentor that always believed in me. She unfortunately passed, a few weeks ago and that has been very hard on me. She kept encouraging me to take the leap and I did and I owe part of this big step, to her. I love you Diane!

“My parents have also, always wanted me to have kids and get married, but I personally do not want to have children. They are not too thrilled about that choice, but they have respected that!”

How to crack it in the fashion and retail industry?

It definitely is not easy, but when you find your niche and what your passion is witting the industry, that defiantly attracts your potential customers. I have learned from others around me, by self research, by my previous experiences with sales. It is definitely a learning process, but I am open and willing to learn as I go and reach out to others that may lead me in the right direction as well.
Betty Barajas

How have your family influenced your personal and professional life?

My family has influenced my professional life, in me wanting to give back and help others. My mother is someone that has cared for many others and that was something that inspired me.
Also, unfortunately I grew up in an unhealthy environment, but that also inspired me to help youth and also to help women empower themselves and share their strength. My educational choices where all me. My parents were just glad that I was getting educated and they would be happy with whatever I wanted to pursue.
They have also, always wanted me to have kids and get married, but I personally do not want to have children. They are not too thrilled about that choice, but they have respected that! So far my family has been supportive since I decided to start my business and that has been wonderful.

If you had not been in fashion, what would you have been?

Right now, I honestly can only see myself doing what I am right now. However, in the future I would be traveling all over to style men in great vintage and living in other countries doing this as well.

“Continue to grow and learn about your trade.”

What is the most profound advice you have heard and remembered?

Some of the most profound advice was from my friend/mentor Diane, that passed last month. She told me that no matter what she wanted me to be happy, to go with my heart and go in fully with whatever I did. She knew that I was a leader and she helped me grow into a more independent leader and someone that would not let fear get in the way of what I wanted.

Do you live your life by principals? What principals are important to you?

I do live by my life principals. It’s very important to me to treat others the way I would want to be treated. To do what I love and do it with passion.  To dream big and envision where I want to be and put it out into the universe.  To only keep positive and supportive people in my life.

What advice do you have for women in your industry?

To continue to grow and learn about your trade. To show your true self to your clients and customers, since genuine connection will grow better relationships in the long run.

What advice do you have for young women and girls in general?

My advice would be to always love yourself no matter what. To use your strength to keep fighting for what you believe in, to get closer to your dreams and goals. To find and connect with other strong women and support one another and build a positive community. I think it’s very important to be able to have people that you can count on, go for advice and people that encourage you and are happy for each others successes.

Your favorite memory from childhood.

My favorite memory from childhood was when I had a blast being part of a performance of Criss Cross’ song “Jump” when I was in elementary school. we had practiced for weeks and I was so glad that I didn’t mess up and we all had a really fun time. My mom and some of her friends where there to cheer us on. Funniest part, was that I was wearing a very goofy pink dress with lace all over, but it was cute and ill never forget that day in school.

What was the worst work day you’ve ever experienced?

The worst workday I ever experienced was in my previous career, working with at-risk youth. I had to make a child abuse report and it was so hard to do. I felt sick to my stomach. However I overcame that with knowing that I did the right thing and I was helping protect a child from more possible harm.

What brands do you love?

As far as brands that I love for my men’s vintage collection, I love vintage Levis, Pendleton, Givenchy, Lee, Harris & Frank, so many to list. I did some vintage shopping in London when I was there two years ago. I love to shop in Los Angeles, Denver, Vancouver, Orange County, Joshua Tree.
I do love following @vintagevandal for her own personal vintage style that inspires what I like to wear and she is very strong and encouraging to  her followers. I also like @barriodandy.

Are you married? When did you marry? If not, do you plan on marrying?

I am not married I do plan on getting married, I am just waiting to meet the right man, and so far he has not come into my life yet. I know he’s out there and it’s just a matter of time until we cross each others paths!

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