Meet Margarita Martinez of Mila+Mate
Today we’d like to introduce you to Margarita Martinez.
Hi Margarita, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Hi, so excited to be featured and seen by your readers on Voyage Baltimore. My story, like many other new emerging brands during this period; Mila+Mate was born during the pandemic. I have always worked in the fashion business and during the period of lockdown, I found I had the time to dedicate and create something I had always helped others do, designs for scarf collections.
So, I started Mila+Mate to offer women a beautifully artistic and quality scarf, shawl, and headscarf collection that can inspire confidence, elegance, and glamour. I am offering women a luxurious accessory that can enhance their look or outfit by giving them a simple solution that makes them feel great!
Fun Fact: Mila & Mate are the names of my grandchildren.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been smooth sailing! But I don’t think any small business on a shoestring budget has an easy start. It has been incredibly rewarding but a lot of hard work! I had to learn about setting up a company, create a website, coordinate photography and I collaborated with an artist in Rome all in advance of launching.
There have been several obstacles. The pandemic, the explosion of e-commerce, the need to become proficient with Facebook and Instagram postings, and keeping up with todays social media platforms to keep current had a big learning curve. All of these points, although obstacles, became my challenges to overcome. Social Media, my biggest obstacle and the most important to help validate your brand during a time when so many things are happening without having access to people viewing, touching your products was a very different way to start a business. One thing we have learned is that the online platform is continually changing, and one has to be able to adapt pretty quickly.
It’s a never ending learning process, which is great!
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Mila+Mate?
Mila + Mate’s is an online accessory business. We focus on scarves and shawls. Mila + Mate’s inspiration came to me from the world around us–architectural details, nature walks, fun, and new influencers, whether seen online or every day on the streets. The cities we live in are alive with possibilities for our designs. Having worked in the luxury sector for over 30 years, I felt the time was perfect for applying all my experience and creativity to Mila + Mate. We aimed to create beautiful designs and graphics using the most natural and soft materials.
For the past 15 years, I have helped other emerging designers enter the US market, I felt that perhaps I could do the same with my artwork and invite artists from around the world, to collaborate and show alongside Mila + Mate. From the beginning, an essential aspect of the business has been maintaining a high-quality level. Having experience in production, I have long felt that the artisanal mastery in Italy is worth the investment. So, everything is crafted in Italy.
Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
I grew up in Central America surrounded by independent and interesting women. My mother was super hard working, always traveling for work and a real driven and independent person. Her friends were women who were similarly world traveled and carved their own path in life. Often we would take long trips to the beach with her friends and they would tell stories of their lives and travel. Those beach trips, the black shimmering volcanic sand and strong waves of the Pacific Ocean are among my favorite memories as a child. I think my need to follow my own path was born on those trips to the beach.