This piece is a part of our Q+A series. Know someone we should interview? Nominate them here.
Chattanooga entrepreneur Kristiana Mallo helped boost the local vegan scene when she and her partner opened Cashew, but now Kristiana is focusing most of her time + energy on a newer venture.
She runs Cha Cha Vintage, an online shop with vintage items from jewelry to jumpsuits.
Kristiana also hosts 2-part pop-up events under the Cyndi-Lauper-inspired name She-Bop. The events are growing in popularity, and the next one will be on April 18.
Each event has a clothes swap and vintage market.
○ She-Bop clothing swap + vintage market | Hair A-Go-Go, 1000 Dallas Road | Sunday, April 18 | 11 a.m.-7 p.m. | For the swap, bring at least three items to trade, then hit up the vintage market with local + regional vendors. There will be food by Cashew.
Beyond work, Kristiana, who comes from a proud Cuban heritage, said the greatest joy of her life is being a mother.
On the last day of Women’s History Month, check out 10 insights into Kristiana as she continues making her mark on Chattanooga.
Convince a friend to move to Chattanooga in 15 words or less. Go.
Kristiana – Outdoor activities like crazy. Tech capital. Start-up hub. Growth potential. Centrally localized. Good place to raise your kids.
What’s an improvement you’d like to see in Chattanooga?
Kristiana – I would like to see it become more liberal in social causes and beliefs. I would like to see more women in politics and in local commission positions.
What local dish do you crave + rave about?
What’s your favorite album? (Book? Movie?)
Kristiana – Such a tough one.
Album – “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty
Book – “To Kill A Mockingbird”
Movie – “Edward Scissorhands”
How did your parents or parental figures influence you?
Kristiana – They influenced me greatly. They were both Cuban immigrants who fled Castro’s regime, worked very hard to build the life they had in Miami, and were eccentric, artistic, funny, philanthropic people who were beloved by many in their community. I miss them both dearly as they both passed in 2006.
Tell us about an obstacle you’ve had in life and how you overcame it.
Kristiana – I guess the biggest obstacle I’ve had is losing my parents within one month of each other when I was 32 when my daughters were 3 and 1. It is an obstacle I will never quite overcome, but I have had to learn to live in a world without them, find ways to adapt to a life with perpetual grief, and that has been one of my deepest personal struggles.
What life advice or epiphany would you share with others that you’re thankful you learned?
Kristiana – In business, baby steps rather than giant leaps. In life, I try to do everything with love and gratitude.
Name 3-5 other local leaders/influencers/movers + shakers you’re watching.
Kristiana – Lil’ Oso as an up and coming eatery, Briah Gober’s art @lovelyintoxication_ is amazing, MSJ Moms For Social Justice are doing great things, Haven Howell is a fashion designer and stylist whose creative images I always admire, and Spunk Magazine just put on the most killer fashion show I’ve ever seen.
Presidential biographer + Chattanooga native Jon Meacham once said, “If you want to know someone’s heart, you have to know what breaks it.” What breaks your heart?
Kristiana – Betrayal, and lies
What makes you laugh?
Kristiana – My girlfriend