By Kevin Robinson-Avila
Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Meet the two women who have created a clothing and lifestyle brand aimed at uplifting Latino culture. The entrepreneurs are currently enrolled in the “Creative Startups business accelerator” which provides them with mentoring, coaching and professional assistance.
Michelle Sena and Emma Jones are using creatively decorated apparel and personal accessories to build pride in Chicano culture and self expression.
The two Albuquerque natives recently launched All Chola, which sells everything from T-shirts, tank tops and hats to bandannas, wallets and even bibs for babies stamped with Chicano slang. It’s a clothing and lifestyle brand aimed at uplifting Latino culture, community and identity.
“Expressions like ‘cholo’ or ‘chola’ reflect the Chicano subculture from our Latino barrios that over time was stigmatized, shamed and even made fun of,” Sena said. “Being ‘All Chola’ or ‘All Cholo’ is a way of reclaiming it to something positive that is part of our history, culture and our personal story.”
The company is now selling its goods in a few New Mexico stores, online, and through “pop-up” sales at breweries and street markets.
But Sena and Jones want to broaden their reach and grow, so they enrolled in the Creative Startups business accelerator to get the mentoring, coaching and professional assistance needed to build a thriving Albuquerque-based business.
All Chola is now one of nine companies participating in the accelerator’s latest cohort, which launched on Sept. 5.
It’s the fourth group of creative startups to enter the eight-week program since the accelerator began operating in 2014.
Apart from All Chola, the new cohort includes two other Albuquerque startups. The rest are from other states, including three from Colorado, two from New York, and one from South Carolina.
All are building businesses that offer creative products and services with things like artistic apparel, online marketing platforms for artists, new apps to rapidly fact check news or improve travel experiences, and unique educational technology and programs.