By Contributing Writers:Renee Scott, Ale Ruttimann, and Betty Wine
Local entrepreneur and designer of Peace Love World, Alina Villasante, kick-started her business off mere high school doodles. As a teenager, Villasante sketched little characters, like symbols for happiness, love, and the world, in her friends’ yearbooks.
The Miami business owner first sparked her idea for a clothesline when she produced 200,000 shirts based on her simple drawings and sold them among friends and coworkers. Villasante handed leftovers to teenagers, who sold them to friends. The sales amounted to over $80,000 in profits, turning a small idea into a lucrative business.
“It was never my intention to create a business, it was more of a little project I did for my friends and family,” said Villasante.
The company’s rise to fame may have been unintentional, but it developed into a very popular brand among consumers.
“It’s like a drug is connected to the brand,” said Villasante.
Strangers often stopped her customers, asking them where to buy her clothes. The brand’s positive message helped fuel its widespread popularity.
“The whole world tries to connect to something positive; the energy behind the brand is optimistic, and everyone is drawn to that,” said Villasante.
Villasante’s co-workers also notice the optimistic effect the brand had on its customers.
“She feels blessed that people believe in her products’ message,” said Villasante’s assistant, Angie.
Erika Sabater, a former employee of the company, feels blessed to have worked at the happy-go-lucky clothes business.
“The feel of working there was energetic and fun. The atmosphere really reflected the brand itself,” said Sabater.
Currently, Peace Love World receives support from celebrities such as singer-actress Jennifer Lopez and “So You Think You Can Dance” participants, including 2009 winner and Miami native Jeanine Mason. Villasante and Mason were long time friends, and Jeanine supported Peace Love World throughout the competition.
“Jeanine was a big part in the making of the brand, it gave significant exposure to the merchandise, said Villasante.
Currently, Villasante is trying to expand her business to China and Japan, and eventually worldwide. She advises anyone working towards a goal to stay focused on the task at hand.
“Stay committed, because things may take a long time, but just keep it out there and stay true to whatever you’re doing,” said Villasante.