Fashion Institute of Technology & LIM College – Bachelor’s of Business in Fashion Merchandising
Celeste Magdaleno’s business started when she was just a little girl admiring her grandmother’s jewels—she just didn’t know it, yet.
As a child, Celeste would take her grandmother’s necklaces apart and rearrange them, teaching herself to bead. When her grandmother, who worked at a belt factory, brought home different belts in extravagant textures and materials, she’d wonder over the styles. It was the birth of what would become Motita Jewels.
Celeste studied fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology and LIM College in New York, and is now the designer of all Motita Jewels handmade statement pieces. In addition to dreaming up and producing the pieces, she also manages the business side, running the brand’s social media, sales and public relations.
Oh, and that business name? A nod to the woman who first inspired her: Celeste’s grandmother called her Motita, which means small powder puff in Spanish.
I believe persistence and drive are qualities that are inherent for success.
How did you discover your current job?
I have loved fashion and accessories since I was very young. My grandmother taught me how to make jewelry, and her love for jewelry inspired me. I always knew that I wanted to own a business, so it was just a matter of time (and a lot of prep) before I took the leap and launched Motita Jewels.
What responsibilities do you have in your role?
I am the designer of all Motita Jewels handmade statement pieces. From researching trends and dreaming up new designs to actually producing the pieces, I do it all. On the business side, I am responsible for the brand’s social media, sales and management of our public relations agency and my vice -president.
What was it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
Making women feel good about themselves through a statement necklace or wrap bracelet that I have designed is completely fulfilling. I get so much joy out of designing new pieces, seeing it become a physical reality and then having customers buy and wear it.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
At night, I find myself thinking about the constantly changing fashion industry. I always need to stay on top of trends! Nighttime is also when I often find the most inspiration for my sales and marketing strategies.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so what is one no fail tactic you use to create balance?
Work/life balance is something that I strive to have. Being a business owner, it’s not a 9-to-5 kind of job. My day never ends, as there’s always something to do. I am constantly answering emails, searching for inspiration and fulfilling orders. One of my no-fail tactics is church on Sunday mornings. It keeps me grounded and focused. Also, a manicure/pedicure escape is a good way for me to find balance, as it’s good to focus on nothing but what polish color to choose!
Where do you draw inspirations from each season to keep the collections looking fresh and new?
I draw lots of inspiration from cultures and eras. For instance, my fall 2013 collection was inspired by a recent trip to Mexico—lots of tribal accents. Home décor, flowers and animals (like birds whose colors are magical) are also places where I draw from for inspiration specifically for color combinations. You could say I find inspiration all around me!
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
I haven’t felt this yet! Though I have accomplished many of my goals, I will continue to work hard until I reach that point where I can really say that I’ve made it.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Some rules I live by include:
- Success can never be made alone.
- Trust in God with all your heart and he will supply your needs.
- The way you think is the way you are.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful?
I believe persistence and drive are qualities that are inherent for success. Loving what you do will help when the hard times come and things do not appear as easy as you hoped.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
Stay focused on the big picture!