Latina Entrepreneurship: The Journey of Mija Cultura with Karla Dominguez & JoAnn Alvarez

Meet Karla Dominguez and JoAnn Alvarez, the dynamic duo behind Mija Cultura, a vibrant clothing brand celebrating Latina culture and sisterhood. In this insightful interview, they share the inspiring journey of how “las mijas” evolved from being merch girls for a local Houston band to empowering entrepreneurs representing first and fifth-generation Latinas. Their story is one of resilience, cultural pride, and the power of collaboration, offering valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities.

What motivated you to start Mija Cultura, and how does it reflect your personal journey?

In 2017 we were merch girls for a local Houston band. When we would go to shows we were often referred to as “las mijas.” We discussed starting a business together and ultimately ended up deciding that we wanted to create a clothing brand that represented us as two besties that grew up with different backgrounds as first and fifth generation latinas.

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience that shaped your vision for Mija Cultura?

Being forced to do our first pop up! We already were taking all the steps as far as having our website, our designs and everything prepared. Our friends were throwing a Cinco de Mayo pop up and originally we were expecting to not do anything until the end of the month. It made us realize we needed to just jump into opportunities and ask questions later! That’s basically been our philosophy with the brand

What challenges did you face in launching and growing your business, and how did you overcome them? Being able to balance having a full time job. It’s like you clock out of your 9-5 and clock in for your 5-9. Now we have other businesses, less corporate driven jobs that we can prioritize our businesses over.

How has being a Latina entrepreneur influenced your approach to leadership and business development?

Our cultural perspective, inclusivity, and authenticity profoundly shape our leadership and business development. We prioritize inclusivity while still celebrating our diverse upbringings, drawing on our heritage to create authentic connections with our customers. Through determination, we overcome challenges and innovate in the ever-changing market. We value diversity, both within our team and in collaborations, celebrating our cultural richness. Ultimately, being a Latina entrepreneur influences us to lead with warmth, empathy, and a strong sense of responsibility, driving both personal and business growth.

Can you discuss a particularly difficult period or setback you encountered while building Mija Cultura, and what lessons did you learn from it?

The most difficult period for us was definitely losing our grandfathers back to back during covid. We didn’t actually voice it but you could definitely tell we were just emotionally drained and we weren’t inspired to be creatives a full year.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those from underrepresented communities?

Don’t be afraid to create your own path or be the leader in your underrepresented community. There’s probably other like minded individuals like you looking for representation or an outlet.

How do you balance celebrating cultural diversity while navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship?

Being authentically ourselves! We never change or try to fit any mold. Usually people compliment this about us!

What role does storytelling play in your brand, and how do you leverage it to connect with your audience?

Storytelling allows us to connect authentically with our audience, weaving cultural narratives into our messaging to celebrate identity and foster empowerment. By sharing the inspiration behind our designs and spotlighting diverse voices, we create emotional connections and build a vibrant community around our brand. Through engaging storytelling on our platforms, we invite our audience to be part of our journey.

Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations for Mija Cultura, and how do you plan to achieve them?

We want to continue creating designs that represent us and those in our community. We’d like to continue collaborating with other artists and brands. The best way to achieve this is to continue networking and meeting new creatives! We would also love to expand our Las Calles Market in which we created a platform for other women owned businesses.

Lastly, how do you define success personally and professionally, and how has that definition evolved over time?

Success to us is being able to share your successes with your friends and family. Our friends are musicians, designers, influencers, etc. and to be able to include them on a project or even just celebrate each other’s successes is fulfilling. Professional success is being able to work with larger brands that have latinas working in underrepresented fields.

You can find more of Mija Culture here:



by Harness Editor

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