MONICA PHROMSAVANH, DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, BACKSTAGE RUNWAY WITH GAUCHO -BUENOS AIRES AT NEW YORK FASHION WEEK
Checking in with our favorite people living their best Gaucho - Buenos Aires life. This week: Monica Phromsavanh @msmodabox
Your start in life can determine a lot about the path you follow. For Monica Phromsavanh, growing up in a refugee camp in Argentina after her parents fled the secret war in Laos instilled a steadfast work ethic in her that laid the foundations to serial entrepreneurship and activism. The camp had no electricity or running water, and even affording basic necessities was tough. At 15, having dropped out of school, Monica went to work as a salesperson for a clothing store in Buenos Aires. A few years later, at age 17, she boarded a plane for the first time in her life and moved to United States with just $200 in her pocket. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Monica’s remarkable road to success saw her work her way up in retail and find a job Burberry, where her impressive sales figures got her noticed. Recognising her own potential, Monica branched out on her own and began working with independent designers, selling their pieces at fairs around the city. After saving up some investment, she opened a 100sqft store at the iconic Limelight Shops, which grew – literally and figuratively – into one of the area’s coolest stores. Naturally, it didn’t stop there: her brand-building vision and unshakeable drive to succeed saw her create Moda-Box, a personalised shopping service for women that grew into a multi-million-dollar business, before launching Equal Hands, an ecologically and socially sustainable lifestyle brand. Today, along with her other business ventures, Monica serves as Director of Business Development for Gaucho - Buenos Aires.
“I’d like to think in one way or another I’m influencing young immigrants to dream as big as I have,” she says. This is what the inspirational entrepreneur is working towards this year, and why she’s passionate about Gaucho Buenos Aires…
What’s your number-one goal for this year?
“To educate more people about sustainability and how we can make better choices that will help avoid harming the environment and people. The fashion industry has many dark sides and our conscious purchase decisions can really make a huge difference. For Gaucho Buenos Aires, that means continuing to partner with suppliers who only are practicing ethical processes.”
What do you love about wearing Gaucho Buenos Aires?
“It’s a brand with a rich history and wearing it brings me back to Argentina – I feel porteña [like a native] again! When wearing Gaucho BA, I have so much to share: the story behind the products, the people who design and make it, the materials we use… Everything brings me back in full circle to my native country.”
How does Gaucho Buenos Aires fit with your values?
“We empower talents from Argentina to rise up and give them international exposure; we create job opportunities and room to grow during uncertain times in Argentina. Being part of that is very rewarding.”
MONICA's top FIVE FAVORITES
"The Azcuénaga dress is one of the first Gaucho pieces I owned, it's definitely up there with my favorites. Unique, and totally stunning."
"I can wear my Talcahuano Jacket with just about anything."
"Have you ever seen a hat like this? Whenever I wear this,
everyone always asks me where they can get one too."
"This scarf is so lux, and looks amazing with the Talcahuano Jacket."
"The leather quality, and the checkered patterned weave on the Esquel bag is exquisite!"