Founder and director of the Austin-based boutique Las Cruxes, Veronica Ortuno stays busy. Beyond the Las Cruxes storefront, which showcases Veronica’s remarkable eye for the unexpectedly beautiful when it comes to home goods, independent designer apparel, vintage, and vinyl, the space also serves as both gallery and community space, hosting everything from chess clubs to women’s groups. In addition to this, Veronica manages her own interior design firm, Casa Veronica, which is primarily based in Detroit. Her graciousness with herself as both a business owner and creative person shine brightly, particularly with her response to what her “big dream” is: “I suppose just intuitively feeling and knowing wholeheartedly where I need to be. No regrets, even in past experiences and choices that at the time maybe weren’t the best for me. Life is so complex and you can learn so much if you open yourself up to it. I try to just enjoy the journey, take the good with the bad, think big and keep manifesting.”
How would you describe what you do?
How do you deal with the continual ebb and flow of “success” as a creative person?
I’m not too concerned with being “successful” so much as I am with simply being content and fulfilled in what I’m doing. Before jumping into anything creatively, there has to be a genuine connection and intent to projects and the people involved. It’s important to be supportive and be equally supported in all facets of what I do because that goes a long way.
When is a time you felt really successful? Or a time you felt like you failed?
I commend anyone owning and running a small independent business because it’s a lot of work! And there are monumental moments like producing a successful art exhibition, musical performance or event; being able to represent designers and artists I respect and admire; and generally, seeing my goals through. All this helps validate what I do.
And yes, I fail often, which is something that I’ve gotten more used to with time in being able to just accept it as it is and letting go. Also, being empathetic and compassionate with myself when I do fail because oftentimes we put unnecessary pressures on ourselves more than we should. In the moment I make an effort to remind myself, 'Okay, I tried or did that, and perhaps it wasn’t the best option for me. I learned ABC, XYZ, and now I have the opportunity to pick up and start again or try something entirely different.'
What is your biggest struggle as a person in creative industry?
How fast things move and how disposable everything can feel sometimes.
What is your daily routine? Your weekend routine?
Wake up and give thanks; have a tall glass of water; brush my teeth and moisturize; do yoga and lift weights two-three times a week; shower or bathe; make a kale smoothie; work from home or go to the store; come home and make dinner with my husband; watch a tv series or movie; brush my teeth and moisturize; pray; spray my sheets with rosewater and essences; read when I can; sleep.
Weekends we tend to sleep in if we don’t have too many responsibilities or work. We make breakfast, prioritize our home such as cleaning and repairs; go swimming; catch up with friends; watch movies or I look through my books to soak up inspiration for upcoming projects. My favorite weekend nights are when we make dinner, have dirty martinis and start a two-person dance party or karaoke at home.
How do you motivate yourself to actually get things done and/or maintain some level of productivity?
Keeping a planner that I can physically write in. I’m obsessed with making daily checklists and assuring I complete those before I allow myself to be social or enjoy some episodes of The Bachelorette.
I spend a quarter of my time in Detroit doing interior design projects where I work 12-16 hour days, 1-2 weeks at a time. Eventhough it’s a lot to take on, doing what I love helps motivate me to keep going.
I’m a big proponent of self-care more than ever. When I allow myself to be pampered: massage, rest, etc. I am more productive and overall in a better mood.
How do you manage the stress/anxiety that’s inevitable with putting yourself out there?
Yoga and swimming are useful for relieving stress and anxiety. I do sitting meditation when I have some time, which has proven to help me re-center. I started seeing a therapist recently which has been a game changer. There’s a stigma around having a therapist that something’s wrong or needs fixing, but for me, it’s been good to have an objective opinion when voicing my concerns or unpacking past traumas, washing myself from all of that, and taking steps to move on. It’s also helped my communication skills tenfold.
How do you know when it’s time to rest?
I have a terrible habit of overloading myself and I’m inherently a workaholic. But when my body starts to shut down or I get moody and short, I force myself to rest all day, at least one day, where I’m devoid of work-related emails, texts, social media, and just try to come back to myself.
How do you manage the internet/social media?
Lately the internet has been extremely exhausting. It can be very disconnecting on a human level. It’s hard to shut off entirely when you run a small business; 50% of your business, if not more, relies on social media and the internet.
I have a personal rule though: No phones at the dinner table or when eating in general, and when I’m spending time solo with friends and family. I want that real connection with people. Looking in their eyes when they’re talking and being present.
Do you collaborate, and if so, what’s your collaborative process like?
To be honest, I can be a difficult person to collaborate with simply because I’m extremely particular with my vision. For so long I did everything on my own, but I’m realizing now that was by choice. More recently I find that letting go and relinquishing some of that control can yield better results and opens doors to more opportunities.
The last few years I’ve been collaborating more with friends and other businesses to co-present events; my employees help with all aspects of the store and events; hiring a photographer to do the shoots with; having an assistant at my interior design job, etc. It’s night and day and much more positive for me.
What’s your big dream? Do you have one? How do you set goals/set yourself up to achieve?
Hmmm…....Big Dream. I suppose just intuitively feeling and knowing wholeheartedly where I need to be. No regrets, even in past experiences and choices that at the time maybe weren’t the best for me. Life is so complex and you can learn so much if you open yourself up to it. I try to just enjoy the journey, take the good with the bad, think big and keep manifesting.
How do you deal with people not liking you, liking your ideas or being jealous of you?
It’s inevitable that there are and will be people that may have a very different idea of who you are and don’t want to take the time to know you. And I’m 100% okay with that. Not everyone has to like or agree with me as a person. I’ve learned that the quicker you are in accepting that, the more aligned you are in moving forward.