Meet Julyssa Nateras
, a Chicago-based multi-talented creative who recently launched her own line of hand-made earrings called Alma Deco
alongside her mother. And if that wasn't wholesome enough, Julyssa is one of the sweetest people we've had the pleasure of chatting with! As an avid thrifter and fashion enthusiast, we wanted to interview Julyssa and talk to her about the challenges of being a small business owner, how the slow fashion movement has affected her relationship with her own clothing, and what are the makeup and skincare products that she couldn't live without.
Who is Julyssa Nateras? I am a 20-year-old Latina artist. My main focus right now is my jewelry brand, Alma Deco. However, I am also a musician and fashion and design enthusiast. What does your morning routine look like? Minimal. I wake up and immediately make my first cup of tea for the day, a green tea. Then, I write 3 pages of “Morning Pages”, which is just a brain dump of thoughts to start my day with a clear head. After, I just watch my morning shows with a small breakfast. Congratulations on launching Alma Deco! Can you tell us the story behind your jewelry? Thank you so much! Of course. My mom and I started Alma Deco because her and I have always had entrepreneurial spirits and craved creative outlets. So before Alma Deco, we were selling vintage clothing. This allowed us to delve into styling, fashion history, photography, and art direction. However, I wanted more creative agency. I had such a desire to design and wear my own creations. Her and I have always dreamt up hypothetical clothing or jewelry designs. So one day, we figured we should just try. Jewelry was our most attainable design-oriented project, and we love statement earrings. So we started designing, researching, and here we are!
We love that you and your mother work together on Alma Deco. How has that experience been like for you?
It has been so incredible, because her and I, in essence, are the same person. So that makes the creative aspects really easy. She always understands the weird ideas I want to try and execute. I especially love working with her because she is my biggest motivation to continue being an artist. I want to be able to make art her full-time job, because she deserves that. She is such a talented and motivated person and her talents were hidden underneath the realities of life. I want to be able to give that freedom back to her. It’s amazing how quickly she’s flourished having this creative business opportunity that she gets to call her own.
How would you describe yourself in 4 words?
Devoted, empathetic, inspired, and loving.
What or who influences your work?
More than anything, our Latina culture inspires my work. My mom is Puerto Rican and Cuban, and I am Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Mexican. I love the mix of cultures I have grown up to understand. I want these moments to be manifested in my work, whether that’s my fashion, photography, music, or jewelry. I hope to express that more in the future.
As an artist and entrepreneur, there’s a sense that we need to constantly be working in order to be productive. Do you feel this pressure? If so, how do you keep yourself grounded and balanced?
I feel this big time. I feel this more by bigger brands. If they’re posting everyday, I feel I need to post everyday to achieve their success. However, quality over quantity, so I stepped back from those thoughts. I have always learned to realize that the point of being an entrepreneur is to “be my own boss”. There are no rules, and I will reach every goal I intend to reach eventually.
What does the slow fashion movement mean to you?
Specifically, it means awareness. The awareness the slow fashion movement has sparked in me has taught me researching skills, questioning, and self-reflection. Thankfully, the slow fashion movement has urged me to learn more about various environmental causes. I have thus learned how to talk about climate change.
How would you describe your own relationship with clothing and how has it evolved over the years?
I owe a lot of my relationship with clothing to the slow fashion movement. About two years ago, I became hyper-aware of what I was buying. Since I went cold-turkey on fast fashion, I would only invest in pieces or buy thrifted items, so I ended up having less clothes (after I purged my closet). Thrifting allowed me to save money and spend once in a while on a beautiful, great quality piece. In turn, I realized I started loving my outfits everyday. Now, I treat all my investment pieces, especially, like artwork. I prioritize fit and quality. In general, I just love how I look! I take such good care of everything I own, because if nothing else, it’s expensive!
What are some of the toughest things about being an entrepreneur? On the flip side, what’s the most rewarding?
The toughest thing about being an entrepreneur is practicing patience. Specifically, budget-wise. I would love to not be the only model for our earrings and have some new models once in a while! I’d love a new camera, new majestic scenery, but that isn’t always accessible, so we work with what we’ve got! However, on that same note, that’s also what is rewarding. Creating beautiful things out of very, very little allows me to be thankful for my creative bone. Not to mention the customers that message us thanking us for our designs. It’s surreal, magical, and I am beyond grateful every single time.
Pricey perfume that doesn’t last on the skin, people who shame others for wearing “too much” makeup, ordering a new expensive coffee to try something new and hating it, when fast food forgets my sauce and I already drove away :(
How are you sustainable in your day to day life? Do you have any sustainable goals you’re working towards?
I make small changes to be more sustainable. That includes metal straws, only reusable bags at the stores, and being an educator to my family members. My sustainable goal would be to eat less meat. It’s hard, but I want to gradually work at that.
What are you currently listening to?
The Marias, Cuco, Bad Bunny
Makeup or skincare product you couldn’t live without?
I could never live without my Bite Beauty lip balm and a lipstick. Specifically, my $3 Wet n Wild matte lipstick in “Sand Storm”. I am on my third tube. It’s the coolest terracotta color. Pat it on for a natural look or swipe it for a statement orange-red. I wear it daily! If I am wearing zero makeup, I am confident in just lipstick.
If you had to recommend one place that readers should travel to, which would it be, and why? Any part of Mexico, because there is an abundance of things to do. Such a rich artistic culture, gorgeous scenery and nature if that’s your thing, and especially if you’re a foodie! There’s something for everyone. I am headed to Oaxaca next week, so I am sure I will recommend that in the future. What are your favourite instagram accounts to follow? @vidarosier who’s a Mexican fashion designer with an eye for all things beautiful and I know she’s gonna go far in life- said it here first! @imalyssalau *BLUSH* because literally one of my biggest inspirations as a woman of color entrepreneur and genius at aesthetics and art direction (hehe), and @loq, the inspiration is infinite, and their photoshoots are stunning, just ethereal. What is something you never leave the house without? Earrings, lip product, and a hair clip. What does a typical day usually look like for you? A “lazy” day involves many cups of tea, snacks, and YouTube. A “productive” day involves what feels like infinite planning for photoshoots, designs, or timelines, or actually shooting and editing, and getting orders out the door.