Ramirez’s Barba Norteña Trending Upward
By Julio Lara | November 2015
When Edgar Ramirez was a young boy, there was something he wanted more than anything on the face of planet. A native of Durango Mexico, whose family immigrated to California during his teen years, Ramirez didn’t covet the latest tech, or something shiny or all that glamorous.
No, of everything and anything a young boy could want, Ramirez wanted a beard.
Like the one his father had.
The Latino culture has an array of ways to pass along values, tradition, faith and culture. It’s these methods we use to leave behind a legacy. For Ramirez, the idea of a beard and the culture it represents is at the forefront of an apparel movement picking up worldwide steam. And like any good beard, it’s taken a lot of time, patience, care and ambition to grow.
Ramirez is the founder and Mr. Everything of Barba Norteña, an apparel company currently headquartered in the capital of California. Barba Norteña specializes in the sale of hats, shirts, and other accessories. It’s an entrepreneurial endeavor that began in 2011 when Ramirez found himself touring alongside his family as part of a norteña band. The group had the luxury of performing across the country but when things slowed down musically a couple of years later, Ramirez found his calling spreading the message of Barba Norteña through his love of fashion. He went from producing a couple of t-shirts on the side to taking the values, tradition, faith and culture given to him as a young boy to the masses.
“I love my culture,” Ramirez said. “The idea was to start a brand that focused on stuff I could relate to. I’ve always loved certain brands here and there, but I never found anything I could really relate to. I needed to do something and after we stopped playing, I couldn’t see myself sitting behind a desk so I decided to revisit the idea.”
What began with a couple of t-shirt designs has since morphed into entire collections purposely crafted entirely by Ramirez to insure every piece produced by Barba Norteña stays true to the mission and his message of positivity. Barba Norteña was founded with the purpose of incorporating Mexican culture, music, determination and charisma into pieces of fashion that fit well with any lifestyle.
“I can’t do anything without being passionate about it,” Ramirez said. “It’s something I believe in. I love my culture and I want it to be looked at from a different angle, a different perspective. I’m connecting with my background. I want people to see my brand as a representation of our rich history.”
It’s in building Barba Norteña from the inside out that Ramirez has found the most success. It is what Ramirez mentioned a couple of times as “filling a void.” And it’s in filling this void that fans have really taken notice — learning to trust and respect his voice as a designer while actively participating in his lifestyle movement. For Ramirez, the entire Barba Norteña experience has been a learning experience, one that he has embraced and considers priceless.
“It’s the hustle,” Ramirez said. “I try to show people [entrepreneurship] is not a walk in the park. It’s not about getting rich quickly. It’s the hustle of getting there. It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s about consistency.”
So far, Ramirez has struck gold with his approach to Barba Norteña. Even decisions like keeping his entire message in Spanish via sales on his website to stay true to his roots, have paid dividends for him. It’s choices like that, along with his constant use of mobile technologies that have put him on the path toward success. “It makes it easier to run a business,” Ramirez said about running his company through mobile technologies. “You’re always connected. That’s great for me because it’s how I get feedback from fans. It’s the beauty of staying connected.” Ramirez added the tools provided by mobile technologies are a must for anyone looking to take a dream like Barba Norteña and have it come to life.
“I was surprised the brand took off like it did,” Ramirez said. “With everything you do, there is a risk. But that’s why you do it. For me, it was to fill a void.”
About the LAM Latino entrepreneurial series:
LAM is partnering with Latino Startup Alliance to showcase a series of twelve Latino Entrepreneurs in the next few months. The Latino Entrepreneur Series is presented by Verizon Wireless and written by LAM member and journalist Julio Lara.