• Melissa Imari Alvarez

Invincible Woman- Contemporary Connection

Who is she? Jenny Urgelles- Creative Director, Contemporary Connection

Follow her on Instagram: @contemporaryconnection Website: www.shoptheconnection.com

Jenny and I met while studying at FIDM. We had several classes together and bonded over our shared Latin American roots- she is Cuban, I am Puerto Rican. We also frequented the Coffee Bean across the street so much that one of the baristas knew our orders and often had our drinks ready for us before we got to the register. I’ve always admired Jenny’s drive and her organizational capabilities. She was often my rock during our studies and, while I’ve missed her tremendously since she moved back to Miami, I have enjoyed watching her successes beyond FIDM. Now, Jenny is one half of a new online boutique- Contemporary Connection- that she’s built with one of her best friends, Camila Calatayud (Executive Director). I am so excited for this new business venture of hers and can’t wait to see how it grows!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I never really knew what I wanted to be when I was a little. For a while, I thought something in the medical field, given that both my parents work in that industry. Eventually, I realized I loved being creative and all things fashion. I slowly made my way into that world and now launching an online boutique with so many items we’re excited for everyone to see!

How long have you and Camila known each other? Camila and I have known each other since high school, so since I was 15 years old. I remember meeting her when I was a freshman and going to her high school after school one day. We became friends through my brother actually. His group of friends became my friends and still remain that way today.

What inspired you to start your company? For a long time now, I’ve been wanting to start a business of my own that I would be able to really expand with. I have a Digital Marketing business where I create websites and manage social media sites for various local business. Having that experience under my belt has definitely helped launch this online boutique. Given my love for clothing and accessories, it felt natural developing this business as well. You can say I have an entrepreneurial mindset.

What's your favorite thing about what you do? I really love keeping things organized. I know this isn’t most people’s favorite past time, but I do enjoy it. Besides selecting the items we love, keeping track of it all can be overwhelming so staying on top of that is pivotal. I also really love coming up with new content to share, like images, and post content for our social media.

What's the most challenging thing about what you do? The most challenging thing has been learning as we go. Although it has been quite the adventure, we have learned so much about this process. Starting any business can be challenging!

What do you think Contemporary Connection offers that other online boutiques do not? The reason Contemporary Connection is different is because we are showing our customer how each outfit looks on different body types. Given so much body shaming, we want to shut that down by showing women how they can style their clothes with our merchandise differently no matter your size.

Just from the sort of preview photos you've shared on your Instagram, I'm already loving the aesthetic. What would you say are the top inspirations and influences for your brand? Our top influence for our brand is definitely our Miami culture. We love showing off our bodies while still remaining trendy. There is such a heavy Latin American and Caribbean influence here that we want to share that with the rest of the country!

Did you both grow up in Miami? Yes, we were both born and raised in Miami, FL. It’s definitely a very different upbringing than most I would imagine. We are first generation Americans, as are most of our friends, and that is something we are very proud of.

You studied in Los Angeles and I know you spend a lot of time in New York. Have your travels played a part in bringing your boutique's collection together? I would say that my travels most certainly were huge influential pieces of who I am today. Without having traveled and learned everything I did from my time in LA and NYC, this business probably would not have developed.

Would you recommend college to younger generations? Why or why not? Most definitely! College is a place where not only do you attend classes and learn about subjects you’re interested in, but it’s a place to meet new people. These people will help guide you in life and help you out. You can learn about new cultures and ways of life you didn’t know existed. I wouldn’t take that back for anything!

Who inspires you? My grandmother who passed away a couple years ago. She was my everything and will always inspire me to work harder every day.

Coffee or tea? Coffee!

Cats or dogs? I’m a dog mom. :)

What's your favorite Halloween costume you've ever dressed up as? My favorite Halloween costume was the year I dressed up as Julia Roberts in Pretty Women. I was able to find the exact dress on Etsy and the jacket at my local Goodwill. It was perfect!

What do you think it means to have an invincible design? An invincible design to me means creating something that to you can use to make the world a little better. Whether it’s a photograph, clothing, or a new business venue. We all need to find that invincible design within us that can make some sort of difference.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In five years, I would like to be married with kids and working from home on my boutique. But you can never really know what life will throw at you!


Be sure to follow Contemporary Connection's Instagram page now- @contemporaryconnection! The site, www.shoptheconnection.com, goes live on July 1st!

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