The Founder of the New York-based Sequence accessories line takes us to her home in El Salvador — but it’s more than just a getaway escape from the city’s crowds and concrete jungle. Ariela Suster, previously an editor at InStyle and Lucky, has a workshop there where she enlists at-risk youth to generate jobs and opportunities for the community; they’re the artisan hands behind her colorful and crafty designs. Here, she takes us through her typical day, from rise-with-the-sun mornings to Gran Hotel nights.
- 6:30 AM
- Wake up to my alarm. I usually set it for 6:00 AM but will hit snooze until 6:30 AM.
- 7:00 AM
- Decaf coffee (I had to cut caffeine last year when I did a detox) that I now pretend has caffeine. I drink it right before starting my morning workout. When I am in El Salvador I either sleep at the lake or in the city — both are the same distance from the town I work in, Tepecoyo. When I am at the lake I start with a 30-minute run around the island, which looks like a mini jungle. Then I jump in the lake and do a loop around the island, kayaking.
- 8:30 AM
- Get dressed. We have a uniform at my workshop, Sequence in El Salvador. It varies depending on the day — it’s either a blue or white polo shirt or a white t-shirt with jeans.
- 9:30 AM
- Arrive at my workshop, say hello to the 30 young men and women who work handcrafting our jewelry and accessories. We start the day having breakfast all together. I love having meals together; it gives me the opportunity to get to know each and every one of the talented young men and women who work at Sequence. My favorite breakfast food is pupusas, the typical dish of El Salvador — delicious! Made from corn (so they are gluten-free), they consist of thick tortillas with beans or cheese in the middle. You eat them with tomato sauce that is a little spicy and with a type of cole slaw on top. The mother of one of the leaders of the Sequence workshop, Natali, makes the best pupusas so we order them from her every morning.
- 10:00 AM
- We are currently working on producing a No Violence bracelet that represents the mission behind our brand — our #noviolencebracelet is a beacon that allows us to spread the word about positive alternatives to violence. At Sequence we aim to become the leading sustainable business model for violence prevention using the creation of fashion products to generate jobs and new opportunities to positively impact the lives of young people living in at-risk communities.
- 11:30 AM
- I meet with my design team and discuss the concept for our new collection. We are developing three new products: for Resort 2015, we are working on scarves, hats and bags, which we are launching this summer in Miami at the Cabana Show and in New York at Artisan Resource at NY NOW.
- 12:30 PM
- We all sit together and have lunch at the workshop. I usually eat something made locally in Tepecoyo from a small comedor, which is a local restaurant that has different daily specials. Something that is never missing from lunch is tortillas; in El Salvador, they are thick corn tortillas. They are super filling and a must.
- 1:30 PM
- Meet again with my design team and start working on making samples for the new products.
- 3:00 PM
- I leave my workshop and head to the city to my mom’s house, where we have a small office. My mom works with me; she is the Director of Operations and HR for Sequence. It’s great working together. She is an amazing business woman and has been an inspiration to me throughout my life, so getting to work together now is such a treat!
- 4:00 PM
- My mom and I discuss our Sequence Ambassador program. Our Ambassador Program has been mostly word of mouth. It grew out of the interests of friends and young women who wanted to sell Sequence products and become part of the movement to create change. The ambassadors sell our products to their friends by doing trunk shows and also help us spread the message and cause behind the brand. We have ambassadors in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Miami, Canada, Boston and New York and this year we are looking to expand this program and have more ambassadors join our movement.
- 6:00 PM
- Head home, check emails and respond to messages from the day. I don’t get time to respond to a lot of messages throughout the day when I am in El Salvador so I usually try and do this at the end of the day.
- 7:00 PM
- Wine and dinner with my dad. When I am in El Salvador, if I am not working, I use the time that I am there to spend time with my family and friends. Most nights, if I don’t go out to dinner, I will hang out with my dad. I love talking to him about work and getting his advice. He is also an entrepreneur and has had a lot of success building his business and, most importantly, he loves his work and enjoys every moment, so it’s nice to get his perspective and advice.
- 10:00 PM
- Bedtime. I usually read before going to bed or watch a show on Apple TV. I am watching Spanish shows at the moment: Gran Hotel and Tiempo Entre Costuras.
Follow Ariela Suster at Sequence on Instagram. And learn more about her collection and its story on Tory Daily here.
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Photographed by Karla Salaverria