With three generations of entrepreneurs within her family, Christina Almeida was destined to become one. As the founder of Pildora, a lifestyle brand and events company and now e-commerce centered around sustainable fashion and accessories brands, the New York City native is changing the narrative of how consumers shop. “I spent most of my life unaware that the clothes on my body were hurting both our world and the people creating them,” she tells HOLA! USA. “When I became aware of the negative effects of the fashion industry, I committed to not only dress in sustainably produced clothing but to make it my life’s work to spread awareness through Pildora.”
Christina was born in the US and was raised in Chihuahua, Mexico before moving to Dallas at the age of six. “Growing up as a Mexican-American was a difficult but beautiful journey. I had to learn how to fit into both worlds and not lose my heritage,” she says of her transition, adding she reached a point where she was confused about her identity. “I did sometimes feel lost. Was I American? Was I Mexican? I did not feel like I completely belonged to either culture.”
However, the Latina creative “realized that my true identity was with myself, the planet and all of its inhabitants.” Keep reading to learn more about how Christina launched a business in the competitive world of fashion and how you can deter whether a brand is sustainable.
HOLA! USA: How did the idea of launching a business come about?
Christina Almeida: “I wanted to start a company since I was five. I was inspired by my great grandfather, my grandfather, and father, who built one of the most successful tile companies in the world, Interceramic, which serves Latin America, Canada, and China. Under the mentorship of my father and grandfather, I launched Pildora, a one-stop-shop for sustainable fashion connecting sustainable designers and conscious consumers all over the world.”
“After encountering small sustainable brands while completing a Master’s Degree at Parsons, I realized that many of the brands didn’t have the resources and exposure that they needed to create a viable business. They needed public relations, they needed better photos, and they needed guidance in general. A lot of these brands are stronger together. That’s the idea came about.”
In your opinion, what has been most challenging about launching a business?
“You never know what you don’t know. When you launch a business, there are so many surprises that await you. The past few years have been a learning experience in so many ways – from the logistics behind shipping internationally to the development of an online marketplace. I could have never imagined everything that goes into creating a business like Pildora.”
What is your mission through Pildora?
“Our mission is to create a positive impact revolution by connecting conscious consumers to impactful brands worldwide while giving these emerging brands a voice through our community. We are working to create a wardrobe for a better world.”
What made you want to focus solely on sustainable brands?
“The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world as it emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Since 2000, clothing production has more than doubled with people keeping their clothes only half as long, resulting in the major problem of textile waste. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of humanity‘s total carbon emissions and if we continue on this path this number could jump to 26% by 2050.”
How can one determine if a brand is sustainable?
“Our team requires that each brand meet the three Es — environmental, ethical and economical — which covers carbon footprint, manufacturing, fair treatment of workers, community building, and philanthropy. A three-page questionnaire and interview process are mandatory before a brand is accepted to the site.”
You recently launched e-commerce, what can customers expect to shop on your platform?
“Pildora is an online community for emerging sustainable brands from fashion to accessories and beauty, and we are launching our e-commerce marketplace on Earth Day April 22, 2020. Pildora.com now carries more than 100 brands sourced from 23 countries, including Australia, Spain, France, the United States.
At HOLA! USA, we believe in highlighting fashion brands, designers, and creatives who are breaking boundaries in the fashion industry. Within #HolaCouture we’re spotlighting Latinx talent and entrepreneurs who are firm believers that their Hispanic roots and culture are worthy of being shared with the world through fashion and style. Not only are we highlighting their unique and artistic skills, but we‘re also continuing their conversations.