Fashion Forward: Lanie Alabanza-Barcena

What is your hustle?
I design and create products… whether it be clothing, footwear, and accessories that evoke emotion and/or make people feel good about themselves. For instance, I love hearing a female say, “omg, I feel sexy when I wear BOTB” or “I feel bad ass whenever I wear this Hellz top.”

Designing is what I do ’cause I love it and ’cause it’s my passion BUT on the flip side, I also do it because I have to… it’s my hustle in every sense of the word. Essentially, designing is what I do best… so if designing puts food on the table and allows me to live a comfortable, happy and fulfilling lifestyle than I’ll continue to grind & hustle.

What did you want to be when growing up?
When growing up, I thought I wanted to be an engineer, not because I knew what engineers did but because that’s what was drilled into my brain by my parents when growing up. To be completely honest, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up… and that’s ok ’cause I didn’t even really knew who I was until I was into my early 20’s. At one point I wanted to be a magician for christ sake, ha!

However, something that I did know when growing up was that I loved to create and be a part of anything creative… The moment I learned that I could make a living out of doing something that I loved, was immediately followed by the moment I dropped out of the university I was attending (without telling my parents of course) & enrolled myself into an advertising/arts college… which groomed me into the field of graphic design.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
Having the honor and opportunity of molding and being a part of the growth of my employees is at the top of my favorite list. I’ve seen most of my employees, past and present grow from young interns into badass designers, sales and marketing reps within the my company & taking the things they’ve learned, moving on and becoming super successful in their own right. I really love that feeling… and until I have children of my own, I will always feel like their proud mama.

What’s the most important characteristic of a successful individual?
Being humble is very important to me. I’m humbled knowing that at any minute the success can be taken away & because I know that success is granted to those who are simply at the right place at the right time and/or continue to work hard and smart, I’ll make sure to never take anything for granted nor will I allow myself to fall behind on my grind.

What is your definition of success?
Success to me is having balance with myself, my family, work & friends… they’re what I value most. If I am comfortable, happy and in good spirits with all four, then I am successful. Sounds corny, no? But it’s so true… I work hard to maintain that balance… it’s not easy nor do I feel like I’ve achieved it, just yet.


Hear more from Lanie Alabanza-Barcena of Hellz Bellz/BOTB by watching the Fashion Forward career panel here.