Woman poses in ripped jeans and black top
Promotional Image for YMLX by Yami. Image courtesy of Yamilex Perez Figuereo ‘22

YamileX perez figuereo ‘22 (she/her)

Why did I start my business? It’s actually simple. I’ve always wanted to be in the fashion industry. At 16, I started exploring it through pageants and modeling. Though I still have love for modeling, I decided to instead investigate my interest in fashion designing. I realized, however, that fashion is an extremely hard industry to take on when one has little experience; so, after much research, I came to the conclusion that it would be best to grow the brand as retail and later incorporate my own designs into it. In order to make the shift, I’m currently working on honing my sewing skills so hopefully by next year I’ll be able to add handmade exclusive designs to my brand. 

I’m passionate about fashion because it is a creative outlet open to anyone to find self expression and confidence. At least in my definition of fashion, there are no restrictions or boundaries on what you can do. It is a subjective phenomenon that manifests itself with whatever appeals to your aesthetics. As a result, it is a pretty unique experience for most, if not all, people. 

I launched YMLX by Yami, my clothing brand, on December 4th, 2020 at 12AM. I know that’s very specific, but it is a very memorable date for me. Aside from starting my business during the pandemic, it was towards the end of a very traumatic year and only a few months after my grandma had passed. Although I launched my business that day, I had been working on the idea since June of that same year. I began by deciding upon a name: it is the most important part of any business, so it took me some time to choose something meaningful to me and my customers. Drawing some inspiration from Rihanna’s brand, YMLX by Yami cleverly uses both my name and nickname. It also emphasizes my pride for my brand and self-love, which is an essential part of my business. 

The next step was to design the logo—another very important part of having a business. Even more than the name, the logo is what sticks in people’s minds when picturing a brand. You may not always see the name of a company, but you’ll almost always recognize the logo, so I had to take my time in order to make mine memorable. A lot of logos were designed in the process of creating the one. I became frustrated with the process so there was a long pause. 

A couple months later, I started my junior year with no real intention of picking up where I left off; but when my grandma passed soon after I started the semester, I made the decision to go back home to support my family. That’s when the rest of the process unfolded: the business cards, the clothing tags, the Instagram page, the website building—all of it. Then finally, I was ready to launch the first week of December. 

Almost a year later, I can proudly say all of the sleepless nights, trials and errors, disappointments, and successes were completely worth it. This journey has been far from lonely. I have had the incredible support of my family, boyfriend and friends along the way. They have kept my motivation going at times when I was filled with hopelessness and disappointment. And although my most important supporter is no longer here to cheer me on and see how far I’ve taken my dreams, it is all dedicated to her: my grandma. It is also dedicated to the little girl behind my old house in the Dominican Republic sewing denim purses and clothes for her dolls from old clothes. I know she is beyond excited to see how much farther I can take our dreams.

Along this journey I’ve learned that patience and organization are essential to the running of a business. It takes a lot of work to nurture a brand from scratch while taking care of other responsibilities. It is also important to always remind yourself that everyone’s journey is different. Another’s success may come sooner or later than your own, and that is normal. Not comparing your business and its success to others is key to maintaining a positive attitude.

If you would like to support my brand, you can follow our Instagram page @ymlxbyyami and visit our website ymlxbyyami.com. 

Yamilex Perez Figuereo ‘22 (she/hers) is a Psychology major from Boston, MA. She can be reached for comment at yaperezfiguereo@davidson.edu