Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisseth Villalobos-Azab.
Hi Lisseth, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My career started when my husband and I opened an event production and management company in 2009 in Princeton, New Jersey. We worked on music events, bookings, and fashion events. During half of our time in Kansas City, where we reside, we worked with the Cordish Company during their opening of the Power & Light District openings. We produce many fashion events in the city as well as fundraising events.
The fashion events inspired my passion for the fashion industry, and we expanded our company to Dubai and Saudi Arabia. We highlight local and international fashion and beauty leaders. There are many large shopping centers, and shopping malls are our clients. We produced a fashion and beauty conference with Mall of the Emirates, the second largest mall in Dubai.
Once I learned about the talent in the GCC region, I began to bring designers from the Middle East to the US for PR. We then opened our showroom in LA and started catering to that market and building our relationships with the celebrity stylist. We have brought international attention to many middle eastern designers up to date and currently brought one of them to Kansas City to close the West 18th street 22nd annual runway show.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has been an organic growth and direction but not completely smooth. In the beginning, I would say that the biggest struggles were combining the two different markets and being the mediator between the two. Middle Eastern and US markets are completely different in how they conduct business, but in the end, they want the same results.
The other struggle was the road map to oversee so many moving parts in two to three regions at a time. Traveling is a privilege that not everyone has, and I always want to see it that way but having a globe-hopping family and businesses isn’t always easy. You have to have a few good soldiers to go into battle for you every once in a while. Lastly, I would say my struggle personally with my company CREATE XXII is that, for years, I had made it my side business when it should have been my focus.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
CREATE XXII specializes in bringing middle eastern designers to the US for PR and sales. We are known for bringing creatives from and to the two regions and expanding their international presence. We also specialize in brands and events that want to expand into the middle east market. We are most proud of the relationships we have built with designers, creatives, and celebrity stylists in the US and the middle east and the platform we have created for them to build on. We work with a stylist like Law Roach, responsible for the sophisticated looks Zendaya wears, and Jen Rade, who works with many A-listers including Angelina Jolie, Dani Michelle, who dresses the likes of Kendall Jenner, Kristine Cavallari, and now Hailey Baldwin.
I am also very proud to become the Regional Director for Kansas City Fashion International Group. This council helps creatives build their network internationally and produce one of fashion’s biggest nights in NY, “Raising of the Stars.” We are revamping and restructuring the Kansas City chapter and building a friendly, inclusive platform for all creatives.
CREATE XXII, and I, as the founder, are different from most agencies and fashion industry professionals because we have an international eye and sense of strategy that most don’t. One thing that makes us different is the ability to look at a market and understand what is missing and help create the road map to fill that void.
What characteristic of yours would you give the most credit if you had to?
I learn passion and dedication always isn’t enough to become successful. You must be in flow with yourself first and for most, in work and personal life. Nothing you do should be forced. You can be dedicated and ambitious, but if you are not in flow, it is easy to be distracted, get off track, and lead you down roads that aren’t meant for you in the long run. I have learned that if things are forced, professionally, personally, or financially it has a higher rate of not lasting. Once you are in flow, everything comes together a lot more organically and authentically.
- Website: www.createtwentytwo.com
Zendaya styled by Law Roach purchased Getty Images, Kristine Cavallari Styled by Dani Mitchelle purchased Getty Images, Iris ArApfel on Harpers Bazaar Arabia Images by Richard Phibbs