As featured in Voyage LA
Today we’d like to introduce you to Ranessa Villalba.
Ranessa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started riding back in 2000 and started my clothing line in 2007. I was one of the few biker chicks at the time and would make shirts at the Pico Rivera swapmeet with catchphrases and everyone would ask where I got them from. So I decided to make a couple of dozen designs and Biker Beauty Clothing was born. At the time, I was a single mom with a couple of hundred dollars to spare. I made an investment in myself and never looked back. Biker Beauty always did well. I came out with a few designs each year and would sometimes sell out pre-sale. I was stuck in a comfort zone that I was in for too long. One day I went to an event hosted by ABF foundation and that was where I saw my first fashion truck. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I always sold shirts, sunglasses, purses and accessories but having a truck could take my business to the next level. I was not in a financial situation to be able to afford one.
Fast forward a few years I was able to buy an old Winnebago RV to try and transform into a fashion truck but it honestly turned into a money pit. I sold the RV and was totally sad that I had to but it wasn’t getting anywhere. At the time, I had my 1978 Harley Davidson Ironhead and knew it was time to sell it and invest in my business. I sold it on Valentine’s day 2017 and by May, I had my truck. It was meant to be. Since I bought my truck my business has grown so much. I always did car shows and small boutiques. Now I do events as big as the LA County fair, Mooneyes Christmas party and The Grand National Roadster show. My truck features juniors & women’s pinup clothing, rad handbags and tons of accessories. Biker Beauty is featured on the truck and I expanded to a new line of Chola Beauty shirts. Customers that have some of my first shirts I ever made are still loyal customers for all new designs and merchandise. It has been a wild but fun ride!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It was not always a smooth road. There were some designs when I first started that never sold. You win some and you lose some. But I kept my ideas coming and new merchandise as often as possible. My first year at the LA County fair on the way home I blew my engine. It was devastating after a successful month. But I got through it and my truck is running like a champ. The pandemic shut down all the events I planned on attending. My truck survives off of pop-ups and car shows. This has definitely been a learning experience. But where there is a will, there is a way. I started making masks, created mystery boxes and kept trying to keep my customers intrigued. They have been a huge blessing through all of this.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Sugar & Spiked Beautique – what should we know?
Sugar & Spiked Beautique is a fashion truck with pinup fashions. We carry plus size pinup at affordable prices. As a plus-sized woman, I know how expensive pinup especially can be. But I keep it affordable so that everyone can enjoy the fashion. The wrap on my truck is one of the best things I have ever invested in. Everyone loves it! I am proud to be a woman entrepreneur but even more proud to see my momma so proud of me. Growing up, she hustled to make ends meet and now she sees what she instilled in me as a child. She helps me at shows and everyone says you can see the pride on her face. I hope to teach my children that you have to work for everything you want in life.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Integrity is one of the most important things to me. I think it’s important to keep my prices fair. Treat my customers with respect and appreciation. A lot of my customers have become friends of mine over the years and I think that speaks volumes. When you shop the truck, you will leave happy.