For most people, science and art are two career paths that should never intertwine. But, millennial fashion designer, June Cruz it was her love of science that led her to her current business venture.
June always wanted to be a marine biologist. All through high school she spent her time learning all should could to become a researcher of the animals who exist just below the ocean’s surface. But her ever present creative side demanded her attention in college where she went on to also major in Fine Arts. Within her Fine Arts study, June dove into mixed media and learning how to bring textures and colors together to share a story. Never dreaming that her two passions would come together, it was through an internship at Baltimore Medical Center that allowed June to invest in her two passions; through producing anatomical drawings of the human body.
Now, while this may have been a dream come true, graduation was fast approaching and June had to choose: chase the dream or be practical and find a stable way to pay the bills? After her college years, June chose the practical path and started teaching Art.
Although she loved her students, she often felt frustrated with the politics and felt that she just wasn’t at her best. It was only when she was designing clothes that she felt happiest and most confident. After a lot of deliberation, and some nudging from her now husband, June decided to get her design degree in a part time program.
Successfully balancing work and school, June was thrilled to receive several offers to work with larger design houses upon her graduation. Having always made the practical choice, she decided to finally go on her own and in October 2010, she started her own brand: Enamour. Since then, she has learned a whole host of lessons and refined her designs as well as her business savvy.
Her greatest lesson has been to enjoy and celebrate all of the little successes, “they are what keep you going.” Recently, for June those successes came in the form of being featured in Style Week in Rhode Island, and having one of her creations at the Grammy’s. But June is quick to point to the importance of celebrating every success along the way.
But with successes, come… growth opportunities. June’s first growth opportunity happened when she started getting orders for her first independent collection. At the time, June didn’t know about how to go about buying her fabric in bulk. She was so excited about creating 12 perfect looks that when it came time to sell, four or five could not be replicated. Either the fabric was sold out or too expensive to scale. With her heart in her throat, she had to go back to those customers, explain what happened and deal with the consequences. Losing some customers and taking a couple hits to her reputation, June chose to learn from the experience. Now her designs are centered on the availability of fabrics to ensure she can deliver cost effective fashions, while building credibility with her customers.
Looking past the cringe worthy experience, June takes pride in her successes. Her most significant has been starting a company in this economic climate. June now advocates that while starting a business isn’t easy, it’s completely doable. Knowing your market and connecting to your community are crucial for building your business. Making face time with her community a priority, June regularly volunteers for local organizations. Staying people centric has allowed June to focus on identifying who is her customer and finding those customers.
After going through this experience, June grows increasingly concerned about her fellow millennials. Will developing their passion projects on the side be enough, or will it negatively impact their desire to invest in their whole community? At a time when communities are defined by how many neighbors you can trust, June hopes that her daughter has a future where communities blossoming from the investments of it’s citizens, rather than decay from fear.