Alejandra Guerra: “Marketing- do not skimp out on marketing”

Marketing- do not skimp out on marketing. Make sure to budget for this from the very beginning. This is one of the most important aspects of getting visibility and reaching your target audience. Building brand awareness takes time; be patient. As a part of our series called “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A […]

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Marketing- do not skimp out on marketing. Make sure to budget for this from the very beginning. This is one of the most important aspects of getting visibility and reaching your target audience. Building brand awareness takes time; be patient.

As a part of our series called “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Very Successful Lifestyle Brand”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alejandra Guerra.

Alejandra is a Southern California native, and as Mexican-Puerto Rican-American, her background is naturally multi-cultural. Ale has worked in the Marketing & Advertising industry for 10+ years across various countries, including Mexico, France, the US & Canada. While working in the e-commerce space, Ale noticed that many eco-friendly & sustainable brands don’t have the marketing support or know-how to get seen online. This realization, and the need to do something positive in the industry, brought her site, supporting sustainable small businesses,, into being.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstoriy”?

I grew up in-between Southern California and Mexico City. My father is Mexican, and my mother is Puerto Rican, so I like to call myself a Mexi-Rican to keep things simple. My parents met in NYC, got married, and brought me to this planet in Texas. We moved to Mexico City shortly after, only to move back to the states (San Diego, CA.) when I was about nine years old. Most of my dad’s family is still in Mexico, so I grew up going down there a bunch, so I never really lost my roots and can prove that with my ability to eat extra spicy salsa.

Can you tell us the story of what led you to this particular career path?

I’ve worked in Marketing and Advertising for most of my career in an agency setting, with big brands, or within startups in the tech space. After so many pivots from big corporate agencies to startup life, I realized that I love wearing many hats and being entrepreneurial. Since then, I’ve always had the itch to start something independently. I took a stab at entrepreneurship back in the day and launched a crowdfunding platform along with two partners. Unfortunately, that startup is no longer around, but my lessons learned from that experience are invaluable and have made me pretty resilient to tackle new challenges and ventures that have come my way.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Before launching, my experience in e-commerce was ONLY on the marketing and advertising side. That said, my partners and I had no idea what we were doing on the logistics side when we decided to launch âme (fulfilling orders, shipment costs, etc.) How hard could it be? Anyway, after much research,, we decided that the best approach would be to engage with a warehouse that could fulfill our orders for us right away. Little did we know that we would have little to no control over the way our packages would ship to our customers. Being a sustainable brand, it was crucial to us to minimize our environmental impact via our operations. Fast forward to launch week, and the first orders were shipped out wrapped in an absurd amount of plastic — not on brand. We quickly realized that we needed to take full control of the shipping process and reclaimed our inventory from the warehouse. This was a great learning experience because it wasn’t the most costly of mistakes, and it taught us (1) that we need to walk before we can run and (2) to keep things in-house until you perfect your method (or product) before outsourcing.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

On a professional level- Nir Eyal’s book Hooked How to Build Habit-Forming Products impacted me. I was in my tech phase (and much younger) back when I read it, and it was the first time that I thought about the ethics in developing technology, a subject that is pretty popular & mainstream today with movies such as The Social Dilemma.

And on a personal level- I just finished reading The Future of Humanity by the theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. This book talks about humanity’s future in space and touches on everything from terraforming Mars to what it would take to travel to distant galaxies. Somehow, things are put into perspective when you realize how tiny we are compared to the vastness of space. It’s humbling, and I highly recommend it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

It’s cheesy, but here it is:

“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”

― Erin Hanson

My mom gifted me a bookmark with this quote on it. Back then, it probably didn’t resonate as much with me. But now, it does. I’ve learned that the first step to achieving your goals is to take the first step, no matter how little that first step may be. We sometimes get in our own way and fear is what holds us back. You’ll never know where you can go if you don’t try 🙂 don’t be afraid of failure. Be afraid of ever thinking, “what if…I had tired”?

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interviews. For the benefit of our readers, let’s define our terms. How do you define a Lifestyle Brand? How is a Lifestyle Brand different from a normal, typical brand?

A lifestyle brand is a brand that customers are proud to be associated with — a way of life. In my opinion, one of the most significant differences between an average brand and a lifestyle brand is its commitment to its mission and audience. For example, on the subject of sustainability, we see many brands now piggybacking off this trending subject. But the campaigns and efforts they build around the issue are fleeting and lack real commitment and action. On the other hand, an authentic sustainable lifestyle brand will stick to its promise by putting its mission front and center leading to actionable results. In turn, the audience following this brand knows and trusts that they can grow (and remain loyal) with the brand since they align with its values.

What are the benefits of creating a lifestyle brand?

I would say that community and loyalty are two of the most significant benefits of creating a lifestyle brand. Being able to share your creations with a group of like-minded individuals and, in turn, get valuable feedback to improve your product/brand is priceless.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved Lifestyle Brand? What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?

I think Glossier has done an awe-inspiring job at honing into their community and creating a lifestyle brand. The founder, Emily Weiss, was able to capitalize off her blog to launch her brand, which shows the power of having an audience and a community. I love the fact that they use real people in their campaigns, and that is something that I would like to see more and more in advertising. Real authentic humans — I think everyone can replicate that approachability and authenticity 🙂

Can you share your ideas about how to create a lifestyle brand that people really love and are ‘crazy about’?

-Don’t cheap out on the branding

-Have a marketing strategy

-KNOW your audience

-Stay true to your values

-Keep chipping away each day in the direction of your goals

What are the common mistakes you have seen people make when they start a lifestyle brand? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Throwing in the towel too soon is probably the biggest mistake people make, not just when launching a lifestyle brand but when launching a brand in general. One thing I have learned is that being successful at anything takes time and hard work — and that success for your brand will not come overnight (unless you’re a viral meme)… so patience and tenacity are vital qualities needed for success.

Let’s imagine that someone reading this interview has an idea for a lifestyle brand that they would like to develop. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

-Research the Market

-Get to know your competition

-Make sure you identify key differentiators for your brand

-Create a rough P&L to map out costs

^ These first steps should give you a good idea if your business idea is viable and if you can front the costs or need to raise money.

Ok. Thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Very Successful Lifestyle Brand” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

Mission- Make sure you know why you are launching a brand. What is your mission? What do you want to accomplish? This should be your North Star when thinking through strategy.

Key Brand Differentiator- What differentiates you from competitors? What’s your unique selling feature? Don’t get lost in the crowd; make sure this is defined, so customers have a reason to buy from you and not them.

Marketing- do not skimp out on marketing. Make sure to budget for this from the very beginning. This is one of the most important aspects of getting visibility and reaching your target audience. Building brand awareness takes time; be patient.

Plan- What is your 6-month plan? Your 1-year plan? Having a strategy is crucial, but don’t be afraid to pivot if things don’t turn out exactly as planned.

Execution- Having all of the above is worthless if you don’t execute… 1% of launching a business is the strategy, and the rest is execution. Be ready to wear many hats; the 99% is fun!

Super. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’m super passionate about sustainability, so if I could inspire a movement, it would be for all of us to be more conscious of our shopping choices. To shop from small sustainable brands (like on and shop local. The quality of humanity’s future depends on the incremental changes that we can make today as a society.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would love to meet Elon Musk and get his thoughts on Michio Kaku’s ideas in The Future of Humanity. Specifically around terraforming Mars. Hi Elon! 🙂

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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