Weezie Hype Girl: Cristina Lynch

Designer Cristina Lynch, founder of Mi Golondrina, makes it easy to get away—no flight necessary. Her gorgeous Mexican clothing transports us to a vacation mindset, no matter where we are or what’s on our to-do list. We’re inspired by the way she built her business, guided by a cultural passion and fueled by grit. Here, we talked to Cristina about her background, working with artisans, growing a team, and more.

Tell us a little about yourself!

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and live there now. My mother is from Mexico and that played such an important part in my upbringing and in the spirit of Mi Golondrina. She has been collecting art from Mexico since she was 18 and always made our house feel so warm. But most importantly, she passed on her values of prioritizing family, which is a big part of the Mexican culture.  We always shared meals together as a family, and this has played into the culture at Mi Golondrina; I truly view the company as family. 

Before moving home to start Mi Golondrina, I went to NYU for school and then worked at Oscar de la Renta on their sales team, and later, Jetsetter as a market manager for Latin America. New York was such a great experience, and at first, I was scared to leave the opportunities there to start something that, at the time, I couldn’t yet fully articulate clearly.

You’ve mentioned before how influential your mother and her Mexican heritage have been in launching Mi Golondrina.  What’s the best piece of advice your mother has given you?

My mom is constantly giving good advice, and I try to absorb as much as possible. She is one of those people who is overflowing with ideas. One of the things I admired and will always remember is how much she stressed the importance of amazing customer service. When she first moved to Dallas, she worked for Neiman Marcus, and she used to love telling me about how Stanley Marcus would treat his customers with such focused attention.

This customer care has also extended into little things about the store experience, and how we think about shopping.  My mother taught me how to fold clothing perfectly and how to treat a garment so that your customer knows how much you care about your product.  These kinds of lessons have trickled down into our culture. Our team now makes fun of me for being an “expert” folder, and we always include a hand-written note in all of our packages.

We’re so inspired by the stories we hear of women taking leaps of faith to strike out on their own.  You worked in fashion in NYC for many years before starting Mi Golondrina. Tell us a bit about that jump.  When, if ever, did you know the timing was “right”?

I think it’s so hard to know when the timing is “right,” but I’m so glad that I started when I did. I was 24 and a little more fearless at the time. There’s so much freedom in that. When I was in New York, I used to think that I wanted to become the CEO of a fashion house, but I truly have wanted to start my own company since I was a little girl. I have funny journal entries from when I was younger about all sorts of different companies. 

One of my brothers, Peter, and I talk on the phone daily and he always gives me such good advice. He’s an entrepreneur himself and has actually started a website called ASimpleModel.com that teaches you how to build financial models for free. 

When I started contemplating the company I wanted to build, I had been in New York for a while, and I told Peter about a lifestyle company that would show off detailed embroideries from Mexico on luxury bedding. Peter told me to move home before someone else did it. I think he knew I was competitive and that it would be a good way to convince me to make the leap. I’m very fortunate to have a supportive family that has always encouraged me to follow my dreams. I moved home without a real “plan” and lived with my parents for three years to get Mi Golondrina off the ground. It was so scary in the beginning, but now I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I have learned so much these last six years and still get to learn more every day while working with such incredible women.

"[My mom] passed on her values of prioritizing family, which is a big part of the Mexican culture.  We always shared meals together as a family, and this has played into the culture at Mi Golondrina; I truly view the company as family."

 

At Weezie, we’re so fortunate to work closely with a family-owned manufacturer in Portugal.  How did you find your very first artisan partners in Mexico, and how do you collaborate with them on design and production? 

I still can’t believe it’s been seven years since I met our first artisan partner. I did a lot of research on specific embroidery styles and have always loved the floral and feminine elements of San Antonino Castillo Velasco. When I met our first partner, she was living with her mother and working with a little over 40 women who were embroidering with her. Now, she has her own workshop and employs over 20 people who hand-wash, press and check all of our pieces. The number of women who embroider pieces for Mi Golondrina has also increased to over 450. She is not just a partner but has become family. I wasn’t able to go on the last trip because I’m pregnant, and she sent me the most beautifully embroidered breastfeeding covers. I am very lucky to know her and to continue to meet so many more amazing artisans during my trips to Mexico.

We LOVE that you are Dallas-based (one of our favorite cities!) What is it like running a fashion company outside of NYC? What are the challenges and benefits?

I love that we aren’t your traditional fashion company. Working with artisans is very different from working with a factory and I knew very early on that this company needed to support artisans and their way of producing. We don’t create things seasonally and when we look to new silhouettes, we know that they need to exist in the line for a while so that we can take the time that is needed to work on and perfect the pattern. Dallas is such a supportive community, and I can’t imagine staring Mi Golondrina anywhere else. The city grew so much while I was in college that I don’t feel that we are missing out by not being in NYC. Texas is also such a large state population-wise, so there was ample opportunity for us to build our brand and our products here.

Speaking of Dallas, tell us a bit more about your team there! How many team members are there, and what functions do they support? How would you describe Mi Golondrina company culture? What do you look for in new hires?

I love our team so much. They are like a second family to me, and I am fortunate to work with many talented women. 

Our sales team is very strong and supports a lot of different functions. This includes customer service, event planning and press just to name a few. We all wear a lot of hats but as we grow, we have been specializing more. We have five full-time team members on our sales team and two part-time salespeople that mostly focus on sales at our beautiful Dallas store. Outside of sales, we have also grown our marketing and eCommerce team to four in the last two years. And we have a COO, CFO and fulfillment. Our production team is made up of 18 wonderful women. We have 10 seamstresses who work with us and 6 that we call the perfeccionistas because they check to make sure our quality is perfect and press each piece so beautifully. We also have a production coordinator and patternmaker. 

To reiterate what I mentioned before, I think treating colleagues like family is paramount for our company culture.  And we really look for people who live this mantra when we’re hiring. We want people who understand the importance of human capital and who “get” that we’re a unit; we operate as a fleet.

To reiterate what I mentioned before, I think treating colleagues like family is paramount for our company culture.  And we really look for people who live this mantra when we’re hiring. We want people who understand the importance of human capital and who “get” that we’re a unit; we operate as a fleet.

 

We’ve loved how the Mi Golondrina brand has come to life in such unique ways over the past few years, through exciting partnerships (hello Maisonette!) and enviable pop-ups (we’re dying to visit the newly-opened Houston Hacienda)! What have been some favorite projects to date?

We have been so fortunate to have worked on so many amazing projects over the years, it’s hard to pick and choose. I loved collaborating with Mark Sikes on our collection in 2018. He is so kind and hardworking, which made the whole project incredibly energizing. I have also always been a big fan of Laura Vinroot Poole, and the collaboration with Capitol this year was a dream come true - especially since we both share such a strong love for Mexico. 

For this upcoming holiday season, we have partnered with Cabana Magazine to create a beautiful set of napkins and placemats that were embroidered in two communities with different embroidery styles that complement each other so well. Every day though is honestly wonderful. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share the beauty of Mexico every day and continue to learn from and grow with artisan communities.

 

Let’s turn to personal projects.  You’ve recently renovated your Dallas home.  Tell us about the design process for a favorite bath or powder room.

I’m excited to be in our new home. My husband and I lived with my parents for three months while Swoon (our design team) renovated our town home. We absolutely loved working with Swoon, and I think they did such an amazing job making the house reflect both mine and Collin’s (my husband’s) style. I love our downstairs powder room. I normally wouldn’t know to use wallpaper, and Swoon chose a beautiful black and white wallpaper that’s covered in trees and birds and then complemented it with beautiful gold fixtures. 

How do you make sure you #enjoythestay on the daily?

I love this concept of enjoying the stay so much! I think my version of this is the way I think about dinner parties with my girlfriends. I love to use the best linens and ceramics I own to make it feel special. There’s no reason to save those things for special events.

I love this concept of enjoying the stay so much! I think my version of this is the way I think about dinner parties with my girlfriends. I love to use the best linens and ceramics I own to make it feel special. There’s no reason to save those things for special events.

 

What's something most people don't know about you?

I get so nervous every time we post on social media. Sometimes I upload a story and delete Instagram off my phone to keep myself from getting anxious.

Favorite place you've traveled and why?

Oaxaca, it has become a second home to me.

Current brand crush?

I always love learning about new brands and I’m so incredibly impressed by Weezie. You all have created something truly special.

Favorite interior designer Instagram right now?

I have so many that I love to follow. I absolutely love Swoon The Studio. And am also so inspired by Pierce and Ward, Mark D. Sikes, Amy Berry and Pencil & Paper.  Everyone has their own style and I love to learn from all of them.

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Pick one each!

Bubble bath or shower? Long relaxing shower 
Wallpaper or paint? Paint, although Swoon did our home added touches of wallpaper that I love
Towel bar or hook? Hook! So convenient!!

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Your towel time is: