By Bryce Kelly
Whenever YLAI 2021 Fellow Luisfer Pelayo gets asked what he is most passionate about in his work, he never hesitates with his answer: “To see the faces of the women in the mirror when they see the package of something they bought on ATÁLIA, because they bought something that they liked … that when they see themselves, they are happy.”
Luisfer is the founder of ATÁLIA, a clothing brand for plus-size women in his home country of Mexico. But to say that he only sells clothes for a living would be an understatement. Luisfer creates a brand and community beyond his sales, as he organizes an online reality TV show, fashion shows, and even hosts modeling sessions for anyone to participate in, all to give power to what he describes as an underserved and overlooked community in Mexico.
Luisfer says, “in the digital era, brands are our own communication media, which is why it’s so important to generate valuable content on various channels, content that justifies the following on social networks and increases loyalty.” Below, the YLAI Network team spoke with Luisfer about how he created his brand to support his community.
Creating a movement
Luisfer never imagined he’d one day be responsible for a social movement. Born in a small town outside of Guadalajara, he moved to the city in order to attend university, getting a degree in digital marketing. He worked for the Canadian embassy, but eventually, his position was eliminated and he was left without many options. While getting his master’s degree, his final project was to develop a business for an underserved or forgotten market.
“Mexico has a lot of neglected communities, so I started to research,” says Luisfer. While there were fast fashion companies that sell to plus-size women in Mexico, Luisfer saw that there was no quality Mexican brand. “It was only a project, I didn’t see it as a living.” That changed when he realized just how big the problem was.
Luisfer told YLAI about how he learned about the issue. “I had the opportunity to talk to a woman who is director of a nonprofit, and she told me that plus-size women in Mexico feel ignored and they don’t fit in many of the quality clothes that are out there,” recounted Luisfer. “That’s when I noticed that they needed an opportunity to be seen.”
Standing out from the crowd
By combining a message of body positivity and of supporting the local community, Luisfer has created a brand that makes ATÁLIA stand out from the rest. Knowing that the clothes are challenging to produce, and competing against large international brands in Mexico with cheap prices, Luisfer found it intimidating to compete. “But what we have been doing at ATÁLIA is highlighting the benefits of consuming Mexican brands,” says Luisfer. “We stand out with customer service, faster delivery, and community support. People in Mexico say that there are no brands, and so we advise that you should support your Mexican brands. Support your community.”
Luisfer discovered a group of people who needed a platform where they could truly be themselves and created a way to empower those people.
Are there any underserved markets in your community that could use your support? How can your brand help provide that support? Follow along with the #YLAIBrandBetter campaign for more branding tips, guides, and stories!
The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author or interviewees and do not necessarily reflect those of the YLAI Network or the U.S. government.