How She Got There: Laura Chica, Creative Director of Chila Bags

Name: Laura Isabella Chica
Age: 28 
Job Title and Description: Creative Director
College Name/Major: Espacio Buenos Aires, Fashion Stylist
Instagram Handle: @lauraichg, @chilabags  

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

LC: I’m in charge of creating all new designs for my brand: Chila Bags. My typical day is actually not so typical. Since most of our products are hand-knitted by women from different indigenous Tribes in Colombia, I often travel to all these remote places where these tribes live to meet with the waivers and exchange ideas until we are able to come to an agreement about what we actually want for our next collections. This process can actually take up to three months and it's usually really fun.  

What is the best part of your job? 

LC: Sharing with the women from all these tribes we work with (Wayuu, Arhuacos, Kaukamos). These women have so much love and respect for their traditions! I believe there is so much to learn from how they live, and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to work so closely with them. 

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it? 

LC: I was a stylist for a big fashion start-up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I had just graduated from the University and did not have a job yet when a very good friend of mine told me they were looking for people with a passion for fashion. I applied, and to my surprise got the job (with minimal experience). Overall it was an unforgettable time because of everything I learned and the people I met. I always think of this opportunity as the place where I really fell in love with fashion.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable? 

LC: As common as it might sound, the four agreements are my everyday mantra:

  1. 1. Be impeccable with your word
  2.   2. Don’t take anything personally
  3.   3. Don’t make assumptions
  4.   4. Always do your best - Miguel Ruiz

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it? 

LC: I have made so many mistakes along the way, but have learned so much from each one of them. Honestly, I can’t think of any in particular, but looking back, I can proudly say that I don't regret anything because I strongly believe everything happens for a reason. 

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far? 

LC: Every day is pretty surreal; the thought of having Chila Bags selling and being available in many boutiques around the world is just CRAZY. But the first time I was incredibly surprised was when we received our first purchase order from The French Polonaise,  I was like, “Wait, someone really just bought a Chila Bag from my dream place, which is actually on the other side of the world? WOW!” 

What do you look for when considering hiring someone? 

LC: For me, it's very important to personally meet anyone who would like to join our team since I am a strong believer in people who are authentic and genuine. Anything can be learned, but that sparkle, the one that only comes with a person who thinks out of the box, is what I look for when recruiting someone to the Chila Bags team.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations? 

LC: Dream big, don’t be afraid to start, hustle and keep dreaming even bigger.

What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?

LC: The presentation is key, as I mentioned before, I like people who think outside the box and so when I read a typical boring resume with a picture is a no-no for me, hah! Our Sales Manager sent a digital/animated CV that was very eye-catching, and today she is one of the greatest additions to our company. 

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