31-year-old Alesandra Rangel was born in Venezuela and lived in Boston, Vancouver, Caracas, Bogota, and Miami, before settling in Barcelona. She has worked both for large corporations and within startup ecosystems, and has now decided to set up in business herself. She is co-founder of Bobo Bliss, a creative and strategic consultancy for fashion and lifestyle brands. Alesandra is Project Leader for CITYER, a fashion brand designed for mobility in smart cities.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
It’s a nice story: it was actually my mother who suggested I study here. As soon as I submitted my end of degree dissertation, I came to Barcelona to do a Master’s degree in Fashion Business Management. 7 years later, I’m still here.
Which aspects of the city do you think need to be improved? How?
Barcelona is a global and cosmopolitan city. Many digital nomads come here who are passionate about their ideas, but not all of them come to fruition. I would improve the legislation for startups and freelancers, which compared to many European and American cities, creates many obstacles. Barcelona is a city with a collective potential but it is still inclined to be protectionist.
What do you think will help the city to overcome the Covid-19 crisis?
With the support of institutions and large corporations, the considerable technological, cultural, and creative potential in the city could do much to support citizens, small entrepreneurs, and the most affected sectors and most vulnerable communities. The city needs to educate citizens in digital skills and encourage social, environmental, and governmental initiatives.
What challenges do you think the city will face once the health emergency has died down?
One noticeable effect of the pandemic is its effect on mental health and economic stagnation. There are also more cars and motor bikes now, fewer campaigns to raise environmental awareness, more traffic accidents, and a city that is very polluted.
What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?
Barcelona is indestructible and has something that is magical and mysterious. I can imagine a city that is more connected, collaborative, but I hope it doesn’t lose its straightforward commitment to hard work. Our relationships and businesses are already global, which is where are future lies.
Where do you feel most at home? What do you miss the most?
What I miss most is my family, but Barcelona has taught me a lot. That’s why I consider it one of my homes. I have grown and matured here. I am very grateful for this “journey” and to the people of Barcelona who open their arms to you when they are ready to do so. I think that’s what it’s all about, not losing one’s faith or joy and being resilient.
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