Meet Kimberly Trelles of The Trelles Cottage
We started The Trelles Cottage back in 2016, we were newlyweds and first time home owners so needless to say money was tight. We both had full time jobs and we were discouraged to see all of our money going to bills. We were embarrassed to invite friends over because there was no where for them to sit other than on the floor. One night I surprised the hubby with an arts & craft beer night in lieu of going out. I served popcorn and beer and we started to draw. It was one of the best dates, we decided to do it every week and eventually invited our friends to join in. We sat on pillows, filled up sketchbooks and shared some friendly Chisme. A lot of people ask where the name comes from…our home looked like a little cottage and our last name is Trelles so when our friends would come over they would say they were going to The Trelles Cottage. I decided to put a couple of our original designs on Etsy to see if there was something there and sure enough I was ordering The Trelles Cottage business cards by the end of the month. Less than 6 months later we found out we were pregnant which pushed us to create a line for kiddos. A baby I had never met was the drive I needed to do the work.
Our growth throughout the years has been slow and steady, we do not advertise heavily – mostly because we are still focused on bringing out new designs. With that, our best selling design has been Tengo Chisme which helped “put us on the map”. Another favorite has been Pepe the Croqueta. We created Pepe y Clarita, our croqueta couple. I thought to myself, how fun is this! I am creating croqueta characters, their outfits, expressions, their stories I LOVE IT! The most difficult part of this journey is having to deal with intellectual theft. Tengo Chisme took off and all of a sudden people were copying my design and I was heartbroken. I ended up spending my entire bonus on trademarking it…no one sees all of the countless hours, the money that goes into production and materials, the hours learning a new skill to perfect a design – in a moment someone can just steal your intellectual property and claim it as their own. Over the last year I’ve had to have some tough conversations with those businesses and so far it has worked out. My hope is that when people come across my brand they see something that is truly unique. We hope our products “spark joy” for lack of a better word lol. The most common thing I hear when people shop with us is, “Now I am in the mood for a croqueta” lol I mean we do sell a croqueta in your pocket t-shirt (Pepe Pocket) so I get it.
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If I can grow our brand while encouraging and mentoring other makers I would consider that a success. I have been working on growing my brand within my own community and pushing lawmakers to support small businesses.