A Place for us
As an L.A. girl, Noelle Reyes has used all the influences growing up in a culturally rich and diverse community as inspiration to guide her lifestyle apparel brand Mi Vida.
And chances are, if you’re an Angelino, you’ll immediately be inspired by Reyes and Mi Vida’s extensive offerings of Latino culture-inspired art and fashion.
Inspiration has steered Reyes well for 13 years, as Mi Vida has grown from being a vendor operation to a brick-and-mortar location in South Pasadena, to the shop’s current incarnation as a thriving online store and cultural hub in Highland Park.
Reyes’ long-term goal for Mi Vida to be an established community space with longevity, not to mention the opportunity to build a legacy, is fueled by the desire to highlight and protect her cultural identity and history.
“All I’m doing is finding the connectors to keep the stories alive,” Reyes confessed.
She believes any entrepreneur should be rooted in both their culture and community and with that goal in mind, created and curated a space with Mi Vida that Brown people can take pride and be happy in.
“I want them to be visually taken away by what we’ve curated for them,” Reyes related proudly. “I wanted to create a space for Brown people and for them to feel safe. I wanted them to know that the shop is for them.”
Reyes shared that being a safe space or even running a business became hard during the global pandemic and shutdown, as Covid safety protocols forced her to take most of Mi Vida’s operations virtual.
For a space that has had over 100 events for different artists and creatives come through; for many, their first show, being cut off from the community forced Mi Vida into an operational rethink.
The way Reyes has been able to repurpose Mi Vida during the pandemic into a vibrant online presence, as well as business, has ensured that the cultural aesthetic that the brand represents has begun to translate to other Latino communities as well.
Because of this, Mi Vida has been able to surpass 100k followers on Instagram during a pandemic and gain a dedicated following nationwide.
More than ever though, Reyes is taking inspiration to create by listening to what the people in her community need or what.
In that regard, she claims Los Angeles culture has an unmatched spirit and vibe.
“I remind myself all the time,” Reyes affirmed. “I’m so lucky to be from Los Angeles.”