One woman’s love for the nostalgic Mexican product logos of her childhood leads to the creation of a new brand of clothes that are making vintage new again.
LatinaLista — California entrepreneur Molly “Molona” Robbins has fond memories of her childhood growing up in her native Mexico City. A big part of Molona’s memories like anyone’s, are the smells and tastes that defined her childhood.
Whether it was chewing a stick of Canels gum or swigging a cold bottle of Lulu, a fresh fruit soft drink, eating a piece of De la Rosa candy or watching Topo Gigio, a little Italian mouse puppet dance and sing on his own television show, Molona’s memories are intertwined with the products and their logos that made her childhood memorable.
These days, she’s banking that others like her, and new converts, will be drawn to the same distinctive logos so much that they won’t mind wearing them around town.
Molona is the president of LicenZing LLC, the five-year-old parent company of two clothing brands, Palomita™ and Chucho™, that are propelling this 15-year apparel industry veteran into the vintage tee limelight.
By securing exclusive rights to use trademarks and vintage art from a wide variety of Latino companies, Molona created a lifestyle brand that is resonating especially with Latino consumers.
“We have worked so hard to capture the true elements of the Latino community through these fun, nostalgic, familiar graphics,” Molona said. “We are all so proud of our roots and heritage and these images capture this in a very simple and unique way.”
Starting her apparel career in the law department of Levi Strauss & Company, Molona claims that she never dreamt of being in the fashion business. Yet, the day she transferred over to the business side of the industry, she was hooked and never looked back.
It was while building and launching other’s brands that she decided the time and market were ripe for her to make her mark in the apparel world. After getting an angel investor, working “ridiculous hours” and tapping into the strong business network that she had cultivated throughout her years in the industry, Molona launched Palomita™ in the Spring of 2007.
Molona hoped that the brand’s motto “Por fin una marca para ti” (Finally, a brand for you) would encourage consumers to make the brand their own. What she didn’t count on was how quickly the Latino celebrity community would embrace her line of t-shirts.
Molona knew she was on her way to success when she happened to catch a paparazzi photo of Mexican-born actress Salma Hayek. The picture showed the successful binational star out and about sporting a bright colored t-shirt with the dollish face of the LuluÂ® logo.
Knowing that guys can easily identify with vintage logos too, Molona launched in the Spring of 2008 a male version of her lifestyle brand and dubbed it Chucho™.
While the market has been receptive to both brands, Molona finds herself still having to explain to retail buyers what the brands mean for Latino consumers.
However, it’s a battle that she doesn’t mind fighting. When asked if she had a motto for living her life, Molona replied, “We are defined by the experiences and actions of our lifetime. So are brands.”
One experience that she wants to share with others is the opportunity to have an education. Molona credits her own education as a factor in achieving her business success and wants others to be able to do the same.
So in June 2008, Molona established the Palomita™ Education Foundation, an educational foundation that awards scholarships to Latino high school graduates who aspire to create their own marks in the world.
In reflecting on the legacy she is creating, Molona offered a simple piece of advice, “Be patient, be diligent and don’t look back — look forward.”