SELVA \ NEGRA
Selva Negra represents drive, holistic energy, united empowerment, careful craftsmanship, and engineered comfort. Designers, Kristen Gonzalez and Sam Romero found an immediate connection after meeting in Brooklyn post-graduation from FIT (KG) and Parsons (SR). They unite their Annie Hall tomboy feeling and bold feminine identity to embody a collection that aims to set zero limits to what women can achieve. Influenced by their Latina heritage, they bring beauty and soul to every piece to combine a collective of honest and sustainable products made in Los Angeles, California. - S\N Bio
Read our interview with these two beauties below.
How does your gender identity factor in to your design?
We design with every inch of our womanhood and that translates into how comfortable a garment is going to make a woman feel, or how confident she'll feel, or how well does something travel...it has to be equal parts feel good and functional.
What challenges has your gender identity presented in creating your brand?
I wouldn't necessarily say we've had challenges directly correlated to our gender identity. I would say we are most conscious of the fact that we haven't been able to offer a really wide range of sizes yet (because we're mostly poor). We did just add a size 10 to our run and can't wait to include more. As Latina women, we want to be able to offer Selva Negra for all shapes and sizes.
How do you implement ethical business practices in to your brand?
We do! We are both women of color and from immigrant families so we try to give as much as possible because it's important to our identities. We have shared proceeds with Domestic Violence Groups, ACLU, Everytown, Disaster Relief.
What are the greatest rewards of providing an ethical environment for your employees?
We are a very tiny team. The best part of providing an ethical workspace means that everyone's voice actually matters.
Do you donate to a good cause? We do!
We are both women of color and from immigrant families so we try to give as much as possible because it's important to our identities. We have shared proceeds with Domestic Violence Groups, ACLU, Everytown, Disaster Relief.
Do you support other small businesses or craftspeople?
We have been so fortunate to build relationships with so many other small, women-owned brands and shops in LA/NY and able to support each other via photoshoots, pop-ups, style pulls, etc...
Where are you based? What is your favorite part about living in your city?
LA. My favorite part is the mexican food
Any secrets you want to share?
The best bean and cheese burrito is at La Fuente in Highland Park
What’s your signature dish?
What inspires you aesthetically? Design-wise?
Whenever I travel, I'm always aware of the architecture and decor of new and old buildings. I design from the shapes and colors these structures that inspire me.
What’s your favorite part about owning a business? Least favorite?
My favorite part is the amount of creative freedom and the ability to make decisions freely on the business. The least favorite is the same thing as my favorite because sometimes I just want someone to tell me the right thing to do!
What are you excited about this season?
I'm excited about our Jessie Pants. They are a hit and I wear mine every day.
Where have you traveled to recently that inspired you?
I recently traveled to three cities in Portugal: Porto, Lagos, and Lisbon. They are known for their decorative tiles and the colors were incredibly inspiring.
What are you reading right now?
I've been slowly reading Daring Greatly since I love anything Brene Brown does.
What do you do when your not working?
Hanging out with friends and family
How do you balance work/life?
It's been a struggle to figure that out especially since when you work from home most people just think that "you're home". I try to create boundaries for both and make sure I'm not responding to e-mail in my off hours.
When did you start your business? When did it feel real?
We started our business in January of 2016, but it didn't really take off until later that year.
What advice would you give to someone that wants to start a business?
Be consistent, work on your business every day, ask yourself why your idea is important.