Canadian Entrepreneur Launches ‘La Monarch’ Fashion Brand at an Unprecedented Time

In the face of COVID-19 and during a time of mass closures and uncertain futures for most retailers, Ana Gutierrez is launching her new clothing line, La Monarch, despite the current economic climate in Canada.

COVID-19 has forced many retailers to close temporarily or, in some instances, forever, however Ana Gutierrez is not letting the fear of failure prevent her from moving forward with the launch of her versatile fashion line, La Monarch

“There was no point in being scared. It was now or never,” said Gutierrez.

PHOTO: LA MONARCH

Originally set to launch via pop-up shows across the country this spring, Gutierrez was forced to reevaluate her launch schedule once COVID-19 hit. “I wanted to introduce La Monarch to people in person so they could really experience the line but that’s not possible for now. Instead I’ve poured a lot of effort into the website and launching the brand that way.”

Inspired by the monarch butterfly that travels between Mexico and Canada each year, Gutierrez has been slowly cultivating the line of versatile and timeless pieces for almost 10 years. “The monarch butterfly’s ability to adapt and travel resembles my own experience, having spent time living between both countries (Mexico and Canada) from a very young age. Travel has also been an essential part of my life and a key factor to my attention to detail and creative nature.”

The brand is sophisticated and effortless in its design. For spring the line features a mixture of bright and muted colours and airy fabrics. However Gutierrez is already immersed in the development phase for La Monarch’s fall collection, and even the early product development stage for spring 2021.This played a major part in Gutierrez deciding to defy the odds and launch a new brand during a pandemic. The cyclical nature of the fashion industry means things move fast and you can’t afford to miss an opportunity to showcase your current collection.

“I had the spring line ready, so it didn’t make sense to keep the stock hidden. I want to keep going, despite this pandemic, and with the response I’ve gotten from launching online, now I know it has been the right decision to not have let this situation slow me down. Things are much different than what I envisioned, but at the same time I’ve learned how to quickly adapt my business and be resourceful in a way that maybe I would’ve never learned had things gone so smoothly. Now I know I can handle any problem, even very unexpected ones.”

Switching lanes under such inflammatory circumstances is daunting, but Gutierrez notes that it forced her to focus her energy on the digital aspect of La Monarch, something that she says would have ultimately happened but was of secondary importance to selling in person. “My original plan was to launch La Monarch both in person, at popup shows, and online at the same time, however I wasn’t pushing the online aspect of it because I was starting off with limited stock and wanted to preserve what I had for people to purchase in person.” Instead all items are now available online and cultivating that aspect of the brand has been rewarding for Gutierrez, despite the challenges.

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