This is Malena Cardinal, I'm happy you stopped by to visit. Let me share with you a piece of who we are, how all this started, and where are we heading.
In 2005 I found myself happily married with a newborn and 2 growing little girls. We always loved thrifting (like most Californians), and sometimes we would re-sell at yard sales whatever garments we grew out of love. Multiple times the profit from our yard sales was more than we expected.
The recession of 2007 came, and we would find abandoned furniture outside neighbor’s homes. My 3 girls and I would pick up anything that looked like it was in good condition, my husband would clean/refurbish what we brought home, and we would re-sell them at yard sales. Eventually I would start buying storage lockers to re-sell at our monthly yard sales. We would be amazed by how much our hard labor would be rewarded. From yard selling, we moved to flea markets, and from there we opened a thrift store. Things went well at first, but plans changed gears. Our store closed and I found myself with a living room full of racks of clothes (mostly modest ladies clothing). This situation made me emotionally sick for a while, there were multiple days I found myself with no strength to get out of bed, thoughts of bringing my second hand clothes to the upcoming UPC WDLC kept coming to my mind but by then booths were sold out, so I put my name in a waiting list, in case there were any cancellations.
I will never forget that February morning of 2012 when the WDLC booth organizer called me hours before the conference started to give me the news that there was an open spot available and the 2 ladies ahead of me declined to participate. I just went for it!
I gathered all those racks of clothes, loaded them in my van and drove to the event center that was about 15 minutes from my home. During that drive, I had all types of mixed feelings. I felt elated as I would have an opportunity to sell an investment that was sitting in my home for months, yet I was feeling very embarrassed as nobody has ever brought second hand clothing to such an elegant event.
My friends, that conference kept me so busy, my little girls had to sleep under the table as ladies were shopping at my booth well past midnight. At the end of the conference, many ladies thanked me for bringing my clothes, I went home with almost empty racks!
Forever thankful to God for opening that door and deliverance from my ailment, and to Regina, the booth coordinator, for making that phone call that changed my life.
For the next few years I would bring second hand clothing to local ladies events. A few years later, I self taught myself to sew (this is way before you tube tutorials) and started upcycling pants into skirts. My sister with over 40 years of manufacturing and fashion design experience saw my vision and joined me in the upcycled side of this business, and The Black Label was born.
In 2016 we decided to make a small business shift and started offering new denim skirts, then we starting creating our own designs and “My Sassy Skirt Brand” was born. We would sell retail, and wholesale to various boutiques in the US and Canada.
In 2019 we decided to make our brand name more “personable” adopting my second “given” name along with my last name, and hence the name of this boutique “Elena Cardinal”.
In 2019 I had to make an emergency trip back home. I met local manufacturers there and had my first taste of the local garment district, my 1st production made in Peru was a success.
Shortly after, my overseas manufacturers were acting unresponsive and somewhat different (the pandemic just started in China). The pandemic arrived to the US in 2020 and with little access to the LA garment district, my business literally froze for the first 4 months of the pandemic.
On November 2020 the flying restrictions were lifted in Peru and I was one of the first people that traveled back home (per the flight attendant). At that point I brought to the US all the production that was sitting at my parent's home for several months, and also hand picked gorgeous fabrics for upcoming productions.
During my many trips I met 3 manufacturers that work in a smaller scale and here we are now, offering exclusive designs in limited quantities.
Our goal for the upcoming years is to open a garment manufacturing business in Peru that exclusively makes modest clothing, and expand our wholesale market.
Friends, it will always be my passion and desire to serve you with modest clothing. Your support to this small business reaches people from different corners of the world.
PS: I still sell my second hand clothing through small social media accounts “Malena’s Modest Closet”.
Countless times they had to stop being kids to help mom set up at conferences
One of a kind
Some pieces take several days to produce
Over 40 years designing and manufacturing experience