For necklace designer Macarena Zubiria, having exquisite style isn't about expensive clothes or fancy embellishments - it's about the elegance of being true to your roots and accommodating to the realities of family life. She shares the ingenuity behind her vision of a happy lifestyle.
photographs by LUCRECIA DIAZ
produced, styled and written by SILVINA DIBAR
Cool, calm, and collected. Macarena is at once laid-back and goal-driven.
(more pictures below!)
Ten minutes east of Miami, in the small yet uber-sophisticated island of Key Biscayne, Macarena Zubiria, a resident of 20 years, can easily be identified: she will be dressed in her distinctive bohemian-chic style, and she will always be wearing one of her own brightly colored necklaces.
"I founded my company about three years ago", says Macarena, "before that, it was my weekend hobby. I would wear my necklaces to work and people would ask if I could make them one." Then the web-based finance company she was working for as project manager closed, and having just had her third child, Julia, she knew it was time for a change. "I did not want to go back to an office job. My children needed me to take them to soccer, to help them with homework. I wanted to be there for them".
A friend designed the logo, her sister Chio, a photographer, took pictures, she had business cards made and designed her own website. "I gave myself one year to turn Macarena Accessories into a profitable business", she says,"I really pushed myself to take advantage of every selling opportunity. I wore my necklaces all the time. If anyone asked, I would say 'Like it? Here's my card'". She started selling in local trunk shows, via web and Facebook, and by personally rushing to anyone's home when needed. "Whenever anyone called, I would go over with my little bag and show them what I had".
Born in Spain, she lived in Milan as a child, then moved to Key Biscayne and completed her senior year of high school at Gulliver. When doing an MBA at Florida International University she met her Colombian husband, with whom she has three kids.
But I wonder, having been exposed to so many cultures, what is her fashion influence? "Definitely Spanish. Especially from the Andalucia region, in the south of Spain, where my family is from", says Macarena. "Sevilla has a bohemian vibe. Women dress very casual, and 'hippie' necklaces abound. It's different in other places". The heart and soul of Andalucia is Flamenco, a passionate mix of dance, song and guitar of Arabic and Gypsie influences. "Lots of artists come from this region", she says, "Lola Flores from Jerez, Alejandro Sanz from Cadiz". Miami is formed by a mix of cultures too, but she has her customers figured out: "I identify my style with the Argentineans, who are culturally European. They are my number one clients, and as they are very social they always need to make gifts. The Spanish and the Colombian women buy a lot from me, too". She notes that Central Americans and her beloved American friends tend to choose more delicate, classic jewelry. "But', she says, "I believe it is always exciting for anyone to receive a funky, stylish gift".
The present is ideal for Macarena and her young family. "My lifestyle is a dream: I travel at least once a year to my favorite place in the world, Tarifa, in Spain, where my parents have a vacation home. I visit my friends in Milan at least every two. Most of my children's aunts and uncles are living in Miami, and their grandparents each own homes in Key Biscayne, so they travel from Colombia and Sevilla many times during the year", she points out. Then there's the beach life, which she adores, "I could be in the beach all day".
This doesn't mean she isn't entirely committed to her brand. "My strategy is to sell to my friends and acquaintances in Miami and Europe at accessible prices. In the future, I hope to sell clothes. I get compliments on what I'm wearing all the time - yet I don't spend a lot of time or money on fashion. It makes sense to be able to offer that as well: informal, affordable clothes and accessories. Just my style". -SD
Macarena adores the Key Biscayne lifestyle. "It's like being on a permanent vacation", she says. For a walk with daughter Julia in the morning sun, Maca -as her friends call her- wears Prada sunglasses, a cotton gauze blouson, Zara shorts, J Crew straw tote, and her own jewelry. Her espadrilles are from the local markets in Spain. In the background, Crandon Park, and further north, the buildings of South Beach.
At her studio, her children's artwork decorate the walls. She designs for women, teens, and little girls.
The artisan at work: beads, tools, materials, and a favored Marc Jacobs bag find their place on her table. Love those Spanish shoes! they remind me of my mom in the 70's.
Macarena displays one of her most-liked pieces. The bright colored golden fish necklaces are a stand out in her collection. Tempted - as usual - I bought the same wraparound bracelet Maca dons, but with turquoise beads. I have been wearing it every day!
Labels: accessories, fashion, key biscayne fashion, miami lifestyle, people + personalities