Dallas moms Gisa Marsicovetere de Heinz and Susana Arce were set up by their husbands. The men used to work together and upon learning that they both married Latin American women they knew their spouses needed to meet.
The date proved to be a match made in small business heaven. Today the women own Folklore Baby & Kids, a stylish clothing and fashion accessory label for littles made from beautiful textiles and materials from their home countries.
We sat down with the business partners to learn about their startup, struggles and how they juggle it all with three kids in tow.
How did you both land in Dallas?
Gisa: I came to Dallas to get my MBA at SMU so I could get a business background to apply to the family business in Guatemala. Destiny had other plans for me when I met Peter, my future husband, in school. I got a job at 7-Eleven corporate shortly after graduating.
Susana: My husband and I were living in New York City when he got transferred to Dallas. We were looking for a change, so we jumped on the opportunity!
How do you operate a business with two owners? Tell us about your day/process.
We have complementary skills and our roles have gotten more defined over time. Gisa is the marketing, sales and merchandising specialist and Susana is more involved in production and sourcing. We both have go-go personalities and like to get things accomplished right away.
Give us a quick rundown of your business backgrounds:
Gisa: After years of traveling the world and focusing on my career in Guatemala, I took a risk and headed to Dallas to pursue my MBA at Southern Methodist University figuring I would return to the family business upon graduation. Fate had other plans for me, and I ended up staying in Dallas and marrying her MBA sweetheart. I was fortunate to score a job at 7-Eleven Corporate upon graduating SMU in 2009. I worked my way up from operations to marketing where I managed the day-to-day marketing for 7-Eleven’s most recognized brands, Slurpee and Big Gulp. Three years later, I decided to leave corporate America to start a family in Chicago where I had our first daughter, Annalee. Fortunately life brought us back to Texas where I had our second daughter, Emilia. Today, I work remotely for the family business while enjoying the beautiful chaos of starting a new business and raising two beautiful girls.
Susana: My college years were spent between Montreal and San Francisco. University led to jobs in boutique hotels & restaurants, mainly focusing on marketing and concept development. After five years in the bay area, I moved to New York City where I worked as a wine buyer developing new brands for international wineries at an ecommerce startup. In late 2013, I moved to Dallas with my new husband. After a year working remotely, I got pregnant and met Gisa. Soon after, we launched Folklore Baby & Kids.
How many children do you have? Their ages now?
Gisa: Annalee (4), Emilia (2)
Susana: Sayid (2)
Is your biz considered part time? Full time?
Part-time right now
How would you describe the style of your pieces?
More than a style it’s an urban artisanal concept influenced by our Guatemalan and Bolivian roots.
Where do you collect pieces for the label or shop for items?
We source our textiles from Guatemala and Bolivia. Soon we will be sourcing from other Latin American countries.
Where do you sell your wares?
Currently we sell our collections online and at pop-up shops. This fall, our collection will be available at MiniMe/Baby Bliss and The Gypsy Wagon.
Do you do create any of the designs and/or collaborate with makers?
Yes! We worked with Ettu Design in Bolivia to design our t-shirts which are all hand-printed. The rest of the collection is designed by us and inspired by our native countries’ folklore. This fall, we are working on a few small projects with local makers. Soon you will see a collaboration with fellow Flea Style vendor Melt Goods.
Tips for people wanting to enter the small biz world?
Be ready to do everything and wear 100 different hats! Be open to learning and don’t be afraid to reach out to business veterans for advice.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing when you started, what would it be?
Stay true to the original idea. For us it was kids. We got really excited with the textiles and ended up bringing a lot of different SKU’s that were out of sync with our brand.
How do you get your things out there?
Social media, design collaborations, local magazines and online influencers.
How do you stay inspired?
Our children! We strive to stay connected to our roots so our kids know where we come from. We want them to be open to other cultures and Folklore for us is a manifestation of culture through everyday fashion for our little ones.
The summer trend you can’t live without?
Gisa: Moroccan slides, jean shorts and white tee’s.
Susana: The New Balance tennis shoes I bought ten years ago, Everlane.com tees and any linen items (currently obsessed with Mary Claret products).
It’s a weekday morning, what would you be found doing?
Gisa: I’m in my kitchen drinking coffee, making breakfast for the girls and going through emails.
Susana: Running around with wet hair trying to get my son to school on time before heading to work.
Favorite hobby or thing to do (besides dreaming up lovely Folklore product)?
Gisa: I love traveling to new places to explore new cultures.
Susana: Trying new restaurants. I would travel anywhere for a unique dining experience.
What is one thing many people don’t know about you?
Gisa: I am a perfectionist
Susana: I haven’t really exercised in three years….
Five year goals for your biz?
Continue to grow our online presence and wholesale business in the U.S. so that we can continue to support the foundation we now partner with to provide clean drinking water to children in rural Guatemala.
Mornings or evenings?
What is your favorite way to relax?
Gisa: Spa day!
Susana: Discovering new coffee shops.
Coffee or tea?
Current favorite TV show?
Gisa: The Handmaid’s Tale
Susana: Curb Your Enthusiasm
Savory or sweet?
Gisa: These days sweet
Must have accessory?
Gisa: A trendy necklace; currently I’m dreaming of a Gaia Tassel necklace.
Susana: Pearl stud earrings
Favorite place to travel to?
Gisa: Italy, New York and of course Guatemala.
Susana: New York