If you have been to Miami lately, as in the last few years, you must have noticed a big shift in this city’s cultural makeup. Thankfully for creative, artsy and intellectually curious souls like my own, Miami is growing from the plastic, glitzy, bright neon lights with Barbie-like and heavily muscled figures dominating the scene. Don’t get me wrong, the tropical city still has a place for plastic surgery lovers, but it is becoming more, so much more! Miami is performing some serious soul-searching and it’s turning out to be pretty amazing; it is colorful, artistic, a bit of a rebel with art on the walls, on the sidewalks, and virtually anywhere there’s a space for it. The Miami Art Week has played an important role in this major city transformation, and the Miamians have responded at an impressively quick rate, with innovators in all areas bringing in their skills and passion, turning parts of this vibrant city into an open lab for art and culture. Wynwood is at the center stage of this transformation, and Nomad Tribe, founded by Joanis and two colleagues, is at the heart of this movement. The shop’s slogan is “Fashion + Social Impact”, reflecting Joanis’ desire to move beyond offering stylish pieces, towards a socially conscious broader impact. Unsurprisingly, Joanis is as Rad as her shop.
Name: Joanis Duran, but people call me Jo
What’s your title? That’s a good question! I’m in charge of Human Resources, oversee sales, manage four sales associates, manage online, manage wholesale, manage marketing, networking & events, and I do Visual Merchandising for both of the stores. So we could say 9 titles!!
That people walk out and feel inspired to do whatever it is that they are set to do in this life. All these brands have an amazing story to share and each peace is personally handmade that on it’s own is powerful to move anyone who walks into our stores. Whatever it is that they are doing right now in their life that’s making them unhappy, drop it like it’s hot and run after your happiness even if they don’t purchase an item… this is why we chose our slogan Fashion for Social Impact.
Where are you from? I’m from the Dominican Republic. I was raised in Miami but every year my parents took me back to the Dominican Republic, so that’s what I consider myself. That’s where I was born and I love my culture, I love my island.
What or who inspired you to do what you’re doing right now? How did you come up with this idea?
Inspiration wise, when I was little, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, a police officer, a prosecutor. I have a minor in Criminal Justice but it wasn’t my passion, I ‘m not meant to be in an office or be in a car. At the Art Institute, I took some classes while I worked there, I started my business. Valeria and I used to work together for a designer and when I launched my business, I knew it needed to have a cause. Valeria’s brand is Nomad Tribe has a cause, and we just remained friends. Then Alvaro, has a background in it as well and it worked, he is currently the CEO of Nomad Tribe… perfect timing just came about.
But also… life happened.
I went through a lot in my personal life, I had some setbacks and I told myself “I can do it! I can freaking do it”. I was married to a cop and she always kept me down. I was called an “ambitious gold digger” because I had certain goals. At the time, I was working for corporate America and I was miserable. I was working in front of a computer, some days I would cry, I couldn’t understand why my partner could be happy, fulfilled in her career and I could not. I knew what I wanted, I knew what I could put out there and after some time we got divorced and all that negativity, all that putting down… I took all of that energy and focused on working, going to school on campus as well as taking online courses with a different school, I volunteered with the school and I would self-educate, listen to podcasts and I gave myself the courage and strength. I worked hard. I promised myself I would make my dream happen. That’s where I got my passion from. I turned this experience of being with someone who did not believe in me and fought against that. Some nights I would go to sleep really late at night, wake up the next day and do the same thing over again, work hard, no rest. I think sometimes you need those kinds of experiences that tell yourself “what the fuck are you doing? You can do this!” That was my breaking point, that was my make it or break it time. I found the silver lining.
How long have you had Nomad Tribe for? The Wynwood store has been there for a year, the South Beach location has been open for 7 months.
One year? It feels longer than that. I feel like Nomad Tribe is part of the Wynwood fingerprint, of it’s culture, it feels as if it’s been there since Wynwood started being Wynwood.
Yes, that’s because our brand is not fast fashion, it’s a lifestyle. When you walk in, the energy is amazing. Each piece has a story about who made your clothes, which adds to it, there is positivity going into each piece. It feels like we have been here forever.
As a major goal, what would you like the impact of your work to be?
That people walk out and feel inspired to whatever it is that they are going through, because all of these brands have a story behind them, they help people get to where they need to be. That would be my goal when they walk in here, that if for instance they’re working a corporate job and feel like they wanted to do something different, even if they don’t purchase a piece, I’d like them to walk out feeling that they can do it because that’s our slogan Fashion for Social Impact.
Where are your brands from?
Nomad Tribe items are made in Peru, the brand is from Miami.
What would be the title of your autobiography?
I would call it Niña or One Girl.
What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Fuck everyone that’s holding you back. Fuck’em, they won’t be in your future
What is your definition of a dream life? Are you living yours?
Currently, yes, I am dreaming my dream life. Because it is exactly what I pictured in my twenties and being pushed back. I honestly thought this was not accomplishable. I can go back, and see myself cry in those several moments, where all I would do was pray and think “if it’s not meant for me, then it’s not meant for me, because I believed in it and couldn’t have it”. So yes, I am dreaming my dream life!
A song that keeps you pushing, that you identify with:
Rihanna, Kiss It Better
A memory that brings you happiness
When I was little, I remember a moment when my family and I went to Disney. After spending the day in the theme parks, we went back to the hotel room and we were all playing on the bed, and my dad took a picture of that moment. I remember so much happiness in that moment.