Isabella Montoya on Building the Paz . Lifestyle
Image source: Yulia Nar
“Overcoming challenges is rewarding but also stressful,” says Isabella Montoya, founder of Lifestyle Paz, talking about starting his own business. You would think launching an online retail business a year before the pandemic would be a recipe for disaster. But that’s far from the case for Montoya, who launched a sustainable fashion and lifestyle e-commerce site in May 2019 and officially launched with an LLC in New York on May 9. March 2020. “Finally, I began to yearn for more meaning and purpose behind my work and resigned from Prada in February 2020 to devote myself full time to Paz Lifestyle.”
Montoya was born in Peru, but she grew up in Houston, where her family moved when she was 3 years old. Nearly eight years ago, she made another life transition to New York City, residing in Brooklyn. The former Texas native recounts that she worked multiple things at once before deciding to take the plunge and become a full-time entrepreneur. “It was tough. Before launching Paz Lifestyle, I worked full-time at Prada, studied international trade and marketing full-time at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and was a part-time member. New York Fair Trade Coalition.”
The inspiration for Montoya to start a business focused on selling ethical and conscious brands was a combination of her studies, which taught her about the negative impact of the fashion industry. to our planet and people, as well as her experience in the luxury sector.
Image source: Diana Mena
“I built a career in luxury retail working for Elie Tahari, Christian Dior and Prada, all of which have deeply inspired me through their personal journeys,” she says. “. “Mr Tahari embodies the American Dream, he came to New York with less than $100 and built his brand from scratch. Mr. Dior built a legacy in less than a decade later. when she found her calling at the age of 40 and died early in life, Mrs. Prada was a living legend. She was ahead of her time as a CEO, creative designer and owner of brands. their corporate brand, Prada and Miu Miu.”
“I am and will forever be inspired by my parents’ journey and the way they worked hard to provide for our family. My family instilled in me grit.”
Plus, Montoya is inspired by her family. “I am and will forever be inspired by my parents’ journey and how hard they worked to provide for our family. My family instilled courage in me.” she said. Choosing the name Paz, which means “peace” in Spanish, meant a lot to the businesswoman. “Paz was inspired by my mom. My mother’s maiden name is Paz, and her birthday is Earth Day, April 22. I’ve always wanted to have them as the business name and what makes it extra special. is that it shares the meaning of our philosophy of approaching business altruistically and working towards a regenerative culture,” explains Montoya.
Paz Lifestyle is the mecca of luxury, luxury, independent and emerging brands in clothing, accessories, footwear, beauty and home. Some of the brands you can shop for include Lima Sagrada, a line that produces trendy and timeless luxury handbags such as Cream checkered woven bag ($380). Another brand is Loti, a brand whose founder is also Peruvian and specializes in the production of one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories using recycled textiles. The Zero Waste sun hat ($68) is a favorite during the warmer months. For beauty, there is Nutu, specializing in providing health and beauty care products such as Moringa face oil ($36) made and soaked with moringa. And right in your home you can find Ponchos Rojas, a Bolivian brand that recycles textiles and works with communities in the Bolivian Andes to create new pieces like Recycled pink striped pillowcase ($48).
“Working exclusively with sustainable brands is a thorough due diligence process. We’ve built a hybrid business model that’s relevant to the moment and welcomes any brand that shares the same price. treatment and journey [as us]”, explains Brooklynite. Furthermore, the Latina businesswoman sees her website as a positive motivator for brands that are also from her hometown. “The great thing is sharing this platform with others. brands from my hometown, Perú, home to many of the centuries-old sustainable practices that have existed for the fashion industry along with other international brands.”
Image source: Diana Mena
Although PL is an online store, Montoya hopes to one day open a permanent destination store. For now, she enjoys giving customers an IRL shopping experience with occasional pop-ups. This way, they can directly see and feel the product. “Our customers also get the rare shopping experience of being able to meet and greet our brand founders,” she added. Communicating with the brand founders not only feels like an intimate and friendly shopping experience, but it also allows customers to view and try on items and gain a better understanding of the brand’s mission. , how items are made and what makes them special.
Having a strong background in fashion and retail has given Montoya the means to develop a successful business. She’s been out Paz Lifestyle for three years and is still going strong, but she can attest that starting a company from scratch presents some challenges. “My biggest challenges were scaling, e-commerce, and a healthy work schedule balance. I practiced a four-day-a-week schedule, which was difficult but I had to learn how to do it. I want to give it to our future employees one day, and I know I should try/practice it too,” the founder said.
“Starting a business on my own was the bravest thing I’ve done and therefore the most rewarding.”
However, having the opportunity to set up a retail business close to her heart has presented her with a world of possibilities and she is just getting started. “Starting a business alone was the bravest thing I did and therefore the most rewarding,” Montoya said. “I’ve met the most amazing friends along the way to help me on my journey and other inspirational entrepreneurs who are part of the Paz Lifestyle brand who have filled my life with so much. joy,” she shared.
Image source: Diana Mena
As a Latina living out her dream of working in retail and luxury, and most importantly, doing it consciously, Montoya was well aware she couldn’t do it. that would have been possible without her team and the people supporting her along the way. “My accomplishments are a celebration of teamwork as well as unconditional love and support from my partner Antoine Desjonquères, a sustainable agriculture entrepreneur who co-founded Nutu and is now a co-founder. founder of Paz Lifestyle.”
“We were able to hit $128,000 in sales in 2021 and are on track to double sales from 2021 and pay me a $30,000 salary,” she added. “We’re grateful to our customers and customers who have supported us since launching our first pop-up store in December 2019 at a coffee shop in Brooklyn. Our investors are customers have shopped with us and we are grateful for their support.” When asked about her thoughts on becoming an entrepreneur, she replied, “For me personally, I would describe it as a constant practice of perseverance and having a keen perspective on mistakes. mistakes and mistakes. I have taken a lot of steps to get where I am today along with a lot of learning curve to achieve my dream.”
Montoya adds that learning is her favorite thing about owning a business. “We’ve achieved so much for ourselves and for the brands that have shaped Paz Lifestyle, a new generation of brands at the forefront of what they do.”