Latina Mom Leaves Law School To Become Successful Designer
Designer Lisana Falcon knows the secret for how to find your passion and make it a success. Her funky and bold jewelry would never give away her background in law. This Venezuelan mami, now a resident of Miami, went to law school to appease her family, but she grew up admiring her grandmother, a silversmith, who purposefully crafted beautiful pieces for a living. As a child, Lisana fell in love with the strands of pearls, colored beads and tools, and decked out her dolls with accessories.
When she moved to the United States ten years ago, due to her husband’s job, Lisana rebelled against the profession her family had chosen for her and enrolled in Miami International University of Art and Design. Two things happened while she was a design student that changed her life: She became pregnant and two of her designs were chosen to represent the U.S. in the Parisian fashion contest Les Jeunes Creatures De Mode.
“That’s when I knew design was my thing!” she says now.
Lisana opened a clothing boutique in Coral Gables, Florida, and on the side she made some jewelry pieces to accessorize the clothes she designed and sold. A year into her business, her newborn baby, Ariana, had complications and had to be hospitalized.
“It was a huge scare. She was in the hospital for 28 days, and I decided to close the store, to stay home, and take care of my baby. Right then, I started a new chapter of my life.” Her clients still called her to design clothes and jewelry, and she would sell her creations at private parties. Before long, she had a full-fledged shop at home. It takes work and perseverance to find your passion.
“I kept ordering material and tools, until I realized I couldn’t keep on working on my jewelry in the kitchen. I always ended up burning the rice!” In 2008 she opened her shop and showroom in Coral Gables, where she spends the day designing and creating her unique pieces, which are sold to boutiques all over the U.S. and abroad. Lisana Falcon’s online store sells different lines of jewelry such as the Mantra, Boho, or the very Latino inspired Don’t Evil on Me collection, which is based on the belief that certain charms will ward off the evil eye or mal de ojo.
Her biggest roadblocks
“Promoting myself in a place where I didn’t know anyone: no childhood friends or family.”
What makes her day
“When a client tells me she was stopped in the street and asked about her jewelry. One of my clients chose to wear one of my necklaces to a dinner at the White House with the President. That kind of recognition drives me to try harder.”
Tips on promotion
“I’ve never invested in publicity. The best promotion is by word of mouth. My clients are my best publicists, and also my biggest supporters. They’re beautiful women inside and out and they inspire me. I love helping them choose the right accessory for a special event or for a particular outfit. I’m not so good at self-promotion, but fortunately it seems that my designs do the talking.”
The impact of being Latina
“Oh, my designs are totally Latino. The mix and carnival of cultures, colors, and shapes is present in all of my pieces. The Latino flexibility, improvisation, and spontaneity are in everything I create. Sometimes I try to rein in my creativity, but my jewelry is spontaneous, whimsical, and temperamental, just like me. Once, I told a friend I thought I didn’t have a distinct style, and she replied ‘What? The diversity of your colors, the irregularity of the shapes, all that defines you! Your pieces are immediately recognizable!’ Then, I stopped worrying about it.”
On mami/entrepreneur balance
“I think the balance is organic. I am my business, so it’s not a job. It’s a passion, a pleasure. Designing and creating is like breathing or showering. When I receive new materials to work with, I can’t sleep! I’m so excited that I delve into my designs. My husband and my daughter understand it, and I think they see it as a natural extension of who I am. I believe my daughter likes what I do. But I’ve also set business hours for myself. After 3 p.m., I’m a soccer mom and a wife. I know that slows down the growth of my business, but given the choice, my family always comes first.”
Words of wisdom
“I believe 100 percent in the capacity that women have to rise from difficulties, for personal growth and work. I think we should be more supportive of one another, be more united. We should embrace other women’s success. Also, a strong work ethic, originality, and authenticity are key.”