Starting a new career can always be difficult. Add giving birth to your first child, and a move to a new city to the equation, and things become enormously more complicated. That difficult situation is what 2016 Phoenix Fashion Week Emerging Designer Bootcamp jewelry designer Monica Mauro went through.
Recently 40 designers and 40 models were chosen to be part of Phoenix Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer Bootcamp, and Model of the Year, where local fashionistas competed to win prizes that will help them launch their brand.
Mauro was one of this year’s winners, and it was not easy getting to this point.
Photos courtesy of Monica Mauro
She was born and raised in Juarez, Mexico, and was not always a jewelry designer. In Juarez Mauro worked at the American Consulate, and after she was passed up for a promotion Mauro decided it was time to move onto a new career and country.
“They got a new person, and that was frustrating for me,” Mauro said. “I told myself ‘Where else am I going here? Can I grow more here?’ They already cut my wings. I couldn’t wait for another person to step down in another 10 years.”
At the age of 29 she moved to Dallas, Texas to start a new life after her father helped her find a new job at the Dallas Independent School District. Mauro says she didn’t give too much thought into the job but decided to try and apply anyway.
“They called me one day, in April, and said ‘Okay, are you ready to accept the job?’” Mauro said. “I’m like ‘What?’ I only applied to do something different. They said ‘Are you going to be here in May?’ They said I was going to have training all summer.”
She would later meet her husband in Dallas when she started to relive her childhood passion with the arts while not being too passionate about her job.
Mauro began working in glass fusion during her off time. She even started her own art studio called Cool Fired Arts. She began working at girl’s scouts meetings and parties. Although many may have enjoyed her work, there was only a small amount of business.
“Glass is more for galleries so I found I wasn’t going to be able to make a career out of it,” Mauro said. “So, I started mixing natural stones with glass fusion pieces they were very cool but people were still very scared of the glass.”
Mauro got pregnant and says she was unsure how to raise a baby by selling her work. She even ended her company, and sold one of her kilns, a type of oven used to make glassware.
Once again Mauro believed she reached the end of her career and city. She realized she no longer wanted to work as a teacher and decided to dedicate herself completely to making jewelry, specifically druzy jewelry, a special kind of glittering effect.
Her husband supported her decision and they moved to Phoenix so she can establish her new career. She didn’t have any connections in Phoenix, but went anyways.
So, once again, Mauro restarted her life from scratch, establishing her new company and career. Her new designer company Monica Mauro Designs focus on jewelry with natural stones and she even gets her own stones from local mines in places like Bisbee.
After her first few months in Phoenix Mauro began to go to trunk shows with her jewelry where she met Misha Mendicino who eventually told her about Phoenix Fashion Week.
Mauro made it as one of the contenders for Designer of the Year and won the first boot camp challenge. She won by going to 16 boutiques within three to four hours and securing three future clients, a far cry from her fist months trapped in her shell. Her clients now include JW Marriot at Camelback and Ridge and Ali’s Living in Scottsdale.