Military service members endure rigorous training throughout their professional journey. During deployment and at various other events, members of armed forces acquire problem-solving skills and learn how to build and lead a team. That’s one of the reasons veterans prefer embarking on an entrepreneurial journey rather than seeking employment.
Facts and figures show that veterans chose to initiate businesses and start companies as a third career. Research reveals that thousands of veterans use their retirement to go back to school and turn to corporate culture. Once they acquire good business acumen and strong business background, they usually choose to start their businesses.
According to the U.S. Census, veterans own approximately ten percent of all small businesses in America. From coffee brands to apparel and everything in between, veterans run a large variety of companies, catering to all kinds of consumers.
A graduate from the Art Institute of California in San Diego, and a veteran, Carolina Hernandez, runs a successful couture business. She credits her mother and grandmother for inspiration since watching them sew and make garments encouraged her to join the family tradition.
But, in 2005, Carolina decided to join the armed forces and serve the country. Joining the U.S. Navy and serving onboard USS Pearl Harbor was a life-changing experience for her. Her deployment supported the Global War on Terrorism and the Partnership of the Americas. She also conducted Maritime Security Operations in the Arabian Gulf in 2008 and participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012.
Thanks to her diverse background, she chose to blend her military experiences with her first love, design. In 2014, Carolina completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in fashion design from the Art Institute of California, San Diego. She also received a scholarship during the annual fashion show competition.
Realizing her true potential, Carolina founded her brand in 2015, naming it Veteran Couture. The best part about her clothing line is the variety of colors, textures, fabric manipulation techniques, and embellishments that make her brand unique.
Fashion gurus and critics note that Carolina is quickly progressing as a creative designer. Considering her dedication and passion for everything creative, it is easy to see why her clothes are so different from those of regular brands. Not only does Carolina continue to participate in local fashion shows and non-profit organizations to help charities, but she also pays special attention to aesthetics. She works for causes such as domestic violence and human trafficking. According to her, all these causes are close to her heart. She also hopes that her military and fashion career can inspire other individuals and veterans to discover their true talents.
Her childhood in Mexico, where she observed her mother creating inventive clothes for herself and her siblings, is her biggest inspiration. She reveals that watching her mother transforming different garments into a new dress motivated her to venture into the fashion business in the U.S.
Currently, she is the proud owner of this successful vet-owned business. She promotes and supports entrepreneur veterans, helping military and local communities.
However, her journey was not always comfortable. She was only 18 years old when she left everything in Mexico to attend design school in the U.S. Living in a different culture, speaking a new language, and mingling with other people were just some of the challenges she had to face. However, her fighting spirit encouraged her to embrace and adapt to the new environment. She took ESL (English as a second language) classes at night to overcome language barriers and worked during the day for five years. Today, her brand ranks among America’s most successful vet-owned businesses.
Her clothes give us a glimpse of her creative and artistic talents. She has a gift for creating unorthodox yet artistic designs. It seems that moving to Los Angeles, CA, to pursue her fashion education and earn a degree was the best thing that ever happened to her.
She explains that fashion is a never-ending commitment. You must never stop learning and meeting new people within the industry. Many veterans have a hard time dealing with the challenges of retired life. Serving the nation is a noble cause, and veterans are rarely at peace when they are not helping or serving other people. That’s one of the reasons why millions of veterans are initiating companies and setting up businesses that help them explore their creative talents and serve the community.
Carolina believes surrounding herself with positive and successful people is the key to her success. She works with a team of professional models, photographers, and makeup artists who inspire her every day. Since the fashion industry is growing more competitive by the day, she continues to incorporate trending colors and patterns into her clothes. Her clothing line is a blend of manufacturing excellence and artistic creativity. She is famous for displaying a distinct style and creativity in her motifs.
There is no denying that the American dream requires dedication, commitment, and hard work. For some people, this dream is all about running a business or serving the nation. But for others, it is both. Veterans have a strong desire to continue serving the country, using their creative talents. For Carolina Hernandez, the perfect way to live a purposeful life is to unleash her creative skills and serve the community. There is not a moment when Carolina is not immersed in her work. Whenever you see or meet her, she is drawing her imagination on a piece of paper or her machine or brainstorming unique ideas in her head.
Her clothes are proof of her inborn and artistic abilities. She has a strong following on Instagram, where you can browse her clothes to get a glimpse of her creativity. Veteran Couture is not just famous for bringing inventive and beautiful clothes, but the vet-owned business also serves multiple charities and causes. Whenever you buy something from the brand, you are doing your bit to contribute to society and help your community in a small way.