Meet Melissa Soto


MEET MELISSA

BORN AND RAISED IN BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, MELISSA ALWAYS KNEW HER LIFE WOULD LEAD HER DOWN A CREATIVE PATH, ESPECIALLY HAVING BEEN RAISED BY SUCH AN ARTISTIC WOMAN.

EDUCATED AND GRADUATED IN ARGENTINA IN FASHION DESIGN, MELISSA LEFT HER HOME COUNTRY TO PURSUE A MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA EXTENSION PROGRAM AT UCLA JUST FIVE YEARS AGO. 

SINCE THEN, MELISSA LEARNED TO HONE HER PASSIONS INTO A CRAFT AND HAS NOW DESIGNED FOR SOME OF THE MOST WELL-KNOWN CLOTHING BRANDS SUCH AS REVOLVE, FREE PEOPLE, FOREVER 21, LOU & GREY, BLOOMINGDALES, AND NASTY GAL…JUST TO NAME A FEW.

BEFORE MELISSA FOUND HER RHYTHM, SHE STRUGGLED AND HAD A JOURNEY TO GET TO WHERE SHE IS NOW.

THANK YOU MELISSA FOR SHARING YOUR STORY AND TIDBITS OF YOUR JOURNEY WITH US!

 

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?

I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA AND CAME TO LOS ANGELES 5 YEARS AGO TO PURSUE A UCLA EXTENSION CERTIFICATE AT FIRST, BUT DECIDING TO STAY LONGER AFTER FALLING IN LOVE WITH LA.

WHAT WOMEN (OR MEN) INSPIRE YOU? WHY?

I AM INSPIRED BY ALL THOSE WOMEN OUT THERE THAT ARE SUPER CREATIVE AND CAN MANAGE A BUSINESS AT THE SAME TIME. BEING A CREATIVE MYSELF I ALWAYS STRUGGLE WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE/ECONOMIC SIDE OF THINGS, E.G. CONTRACTS, FINANCES, MARKETING, ETC. AND HOW TO PUT MY ART AND WORK OUT THERE. 

SOME EXAMPLES OF THESE WOMEN ARE DANI FROM DAZEY LA (HER AND I MET BECAUSE WE ARE IN THE SAME INDUSTRY, AFTER QUITTING HER FULL TIME JOB AND STARTING HER OWN T-SHIRT COMPANY WHERE SHE DESIGNS HERSELF AND TAKES ALL THE PRODUCT SHOTS, SHE MANAGED TO GROW HER COMPANY INSANELY, GET THROUGH A POSITIVE MESSAGE AND EXTEND HER BRAND TO OPEN 2 NEW BUSINESSES, THE DAZEY DESERT HOUSE AND BIZ BABES). 

ANOTHER EXAMPLE IS FASHION BLOGGER TEZZA, I DON'T KNOW HER PERSONALLY BUT ALONG THE YEARS SHE WAS ABLE TO MAKE A GOOD LIVING OFF HER PHOTOGRAPHY, AND GROW HER BUSINESS TO MAKE HERSELF A BRAND, HAVING NOW HER OWN BOOK, HER OWN APP, SHE TALKS IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP CONFERENCES AROUND THE WORLD AND HAS NOW HER OWN SUNGLASS LINE. FOR ME THE IDEA THAT SOMEONE CAN TAKE THEIR DREAM AND PUSH IT UP TO THE NEXT LEVEL IS SUPER ADMIRABLE.

WHAT DO YOU FOR FOR A LIVING? IS IT WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE DOING 5-10 YEARS AGO?

I CREATE GRAPHIC ART FOR FASHION BRANDS. ANYTHING FROM GRAPHIC PRINTS FOR GARMENTS, TO TEXTILE DESIGN, TO DIGITAL AND WEBSITE. MY DESIGNS HAVE BEEN SOLD IN BRANDS SUCH AS MACYS, NORDSTROMS, PACSUN, FOREVER21, BLOOMINGDALES, AND REVOLVE, TO NAME A FEW.

I ALWAYS LOVED DRAWING AND GRAPHIC DESIGN BUT 10 YEARS AGO I WOULDN'T IMAGE I WOULD END UP DOING THIS. BACK THEN I WAS DESIGNING SHOES AND HANDBAGS, I THOUGHT THAT WAS WHAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO. 

I REALLY LOVED IT THOUGH, BUT WHEN I MOVED TO LA I LANDED A JOB AT A MENSWEAR BRAND WHERE THEY NEEDED AN APPAREL GRAPHIC ARTIST AND I SAID WHY NOT! 

AND AFTER THAT I REALIZED HOW MUCH I WAS ENJOYING EXPRESSING MY CREATIVITY THROUGH DIGITAL ART AND THE REST WAS HISTORY.

 

HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR PASSION IN LIFE? IF SO, WHAT IS IT?

MY TRUE PASSION, I THINK, IS PHOTOGRAPHY. I DO IT MOSTLY AS A HOBBY AND OCCASIONALLY I BOOK JOBS FOR IT BUT I THINK AT SOME POINT MY CAREER IS GOING TO TRANSFORM IN TO DOING MORE OF THAT.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS ONE KEY ELEMENT OR EVENT THAT HELPED TO GET YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?

I THINK THE BIGGEST THING FOR ME WAS CHANGING MY MINDSET. THERE WAS A POINT WHERE I WAS OVERWHELMED WITH BILLS AND WAS TAKING ANY JOB AND CHARGING SUPER LOW FEES JUST BECAUSE I WAS SCARED THEY WOULD GO TO SOMEONE ELSE AND THEN I WOULD LOSE THE GIG (WHICH I COULDN'T AFFORD DOING). WITH TIME, AND AFTER A TOTAL BURN OUT, I STARTED TO VALUE MY JOB MORE, AND SEEING HOW HIGH IN DEMAND I WAS. I STARTED CHARGING MORE AND MORE AND THAT MADE ME FEEL BETTER BECAUSE I SAW THAT MOST OF THE TIME CLIENTS WERE WILLING TO PAY THE VALUE I WAS ASKING AND THE ONLY THING ON MY WAY BEFORE WAS MY OWN INSECURITY AND LACK OF SELF-LOVE.

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE TO YOU? IS YOUR IDEA OF SUCCESS DIFFERENT FROM A PREVIOUS VERSION?

SUCCESS FOR ME IS BEING ABLE TO LIVE OFF YOUR PASSION AND BEING HIGHLY REWARDED FOR IT.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAILURES THAT IN RETROSPECT, TURNED OUT TO BE LEADING YOU TOWARDS A BETTER DIRECTION?

I THINK MY BIGGEST FAILURE WAS NOT TRUSTING MYSELF FROM THE VERY BEGINNING AND SELLING MYSELF SHORT.

WHAT IS A QUOTE YOU LIVE BY?

"DO ONE THING EVERY DAY THAT SCARES YOU."

 

IF YOU COULD GIVE ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER, THIRTEEN YEAR OLD SELF, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

JUST START. DON'T WAIT FOREVER, DON'T WAIT TILL YOU’RE "READY", AND DON’T LISTEN TO EVERYONE’S ADVICE. TRUST IN YOUR SKILLS AND GO FOR IT.

 

LET’S GET SOCIAL!

MEET AND FOLLOW MELISSA HERE:

WWW.SOTO-MELISSA.COM

WWW.INSTAGRAM.COM/_MELISOTO