Natalia Castillo is a glamorous and successful Charleston-based entrepreneur and businesswoman. She got her start post-grad as a sales manger with Macy's department stores and briskly moved up to a West Coast buyer. After 10 years with Macy's, Natalia founded Escapada Living — her incredibly successful and luxurious resort wear brand.
I couldn't help but pick her brain about the trials and tribulations of being an innovator and a leader in the fashion industry. My advice to you? Take her advice. Promise you won't regret it.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?
Trust your gut. There are endless ways to run a business, and everyone will have an opinion about what you should do. Always listen to your instincts!
What does ‘success’ mean to you? How do you define it?
For me, success is all about balance. If I can balance building a strong business, giving back to the community, living a healthy lifestyle, and developing strong relationships - then that's success.
What are your character traits you are most proud of?
I take pride in being an honest, hardworking person who treats others with respect and gives back to those in need.
In moments of self-doubt, how do you build yourself back up?
I remember the quote, "It is all good in the end, and if it is not good, it is not the end.” I try to stay positive and focus on gratitude, rather than getting overwhelmed by negativity.
What’s your favorite part about your job/business?
I am so lucky to have a job that combines my biggest passions: business, travel, and fashion. I am never bored at work, because I face new challenges and do something different every day!
What called you to your line of work? Do you remember when you first learned about it?
After college, I joined the executive training program at Macy's department stores. I actually intended for that to be a temporary job, but I ended up falling in love with the apparel industry! I stayed with Macy's for 10 years and worked my way up the ladder, eventually becoming one of their buyers. That job showed me to the business side of fashion and introduced me to so many wonderful people and experiences, ultimately leading me to start my own line of women's resort wear.
What quotation/motto inspires you to be your best self?
"Judge each day not by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant." - Robert Lewis Stevenson. During the early years of launching your own company, you work so hard and don't always see great results from those efforts. I always had to keep this quote in mind as I was starting my business, and remember that it would take lots of time and work to reap a harvest.
What’s your no-fail go-to when you need to get out of a creative rut?
I travel somewhere, even if it's just to a place nearby, like Kiawah. A change of scenery always brings about a fresh perspective.
Name a fear or professional woe that keeps you up at night.
From nuclear war to cybersecurity, there is a lot of uncertainty in our country right now. The current political climate can definitely keep me awake sometimes!