Meet one of our stylish local customers who is also a fellow fashion entrepreneur, Melody Mendoza-Auslander! We love both her spirit and style and are excited to share her story and her fashion brand. Melody is the founder and owner of La Betri by Fili-Piña a start-up athleisure wear company based in St. Pete. She is an accomplished educator, businesswoman, athlete, and mother.
Melody, tell us about your family and your journey to the St. Pete area?
I have 3 wonderful children. Alexis (26 years old) and Tyler (25 years old) are both residing in Austin. Gabe (20 years old), our youngest, is finishing up his degree in San Luis Obispo, CA. My husband Rob, is an executive in Tech Data and is a native of Florida. I was born and raised in the Philippines and was the first generation immigrant in my family. I love meeting people, helping in the community, supporting local businesses and am avid yogi. My husband and I moved to St Pete back in 2018 from California. Our move to FL was a blessing because it allowed me to pivot and pursue my love for fashion. My experiences and "on the go" lifestyle as a working mother and educator brought a new inspiration and that’s how La Betri started.
We’d love to hear a bit about how Labetri came to life:
It all started with a meltdown after yoga class… I walked into Publix without my purse and I did the universal post-workout juggle of wallet, keys, credit card, mask and phone. That became the “aha” moment for me and the birth of La Betri. La Betri means to make things better and that became my mission. I wanted to create functional clothing for women who are "on the go”. La Betri’s functionally chic leggings features the patent-pending Joey Pouch Leggings, a cleverly engineered fanny pack that encompasses a zipper compartment worn either incognito (tucked in) or flipped outward. I designed Joey Pouch so the wearer can take life’s essentials out and about. I wanted to solve the universal problem of “juggling essential items." All La Betri leggings are 100% made in the USA and are crafted from fabric that retains its shape extremely well; that means no bagginess and it feels like your second skin. I use quality fabric certified by OEKA-TEX to assure sustainability and with the added perk of increased biodegradability; when the Joey Pouch Legging does make its way to the landfill, it will break down much quicker than its eco-harmful counterparts. When people ask me my inspiration for designing, I always say… “I design for functionality”.
Where can people find their own pair?
We are available online at www.labetri.com and just recently signed a partnership with Sip Shop Hooray, a local boutique and wine bar in St Pete. Our goal is to make Joey available in other retail boutiques in Tampa, Sarasota and Clearwater.
On a typical weekend in St. Pete, what are your typical haunts?
Ohhh this is a fun question… I love “boutiquing” and find cute outfits to wear. My husband and I enjoy dining out and sip our favorite Italian Sparkling Brut Rose. Saturday mornings you’ll find us at the Hollander Hotel doing yoga. We also enjoy hanging out with friends at the Yacht Club.
Let’s talk a bit about your personal style, we love to hear what four words describe your closet?
Timeless, Elegant, Bold, Fun
What’s a current style trend that you’re currently into?
I love my Joey Pouch Leggings and I match it with statement blouses or tops, long flowy dresses with fun statement accessories.
Fun purses that match my shoes!
Everyone has that one piece that’s been with them forever and gets used a ton, what’s that one for you?
I love my white linen pants made by Armani. I bought it in Europe years ago and it still looks brand new!
Any charities, community causes, or networking groups that should be on our radar?
When I am not busy with La Betri, I spend my time volunteering in the classroom, teaching, mentoring and helping students and adults at PARC Inc, a non profit organization that provides education, and opportunities for children and adults with disabilities. I also serve as a Board Member of The Hinabi Project San Francisco, a non profit organization that focuses on increasing global awareness and appreciation for the exquisite and rich tradition of Philippine weaving and textiles. I also enjoy meeting amazing women at events hosted by Working Women of Tampa Bay.
Thanks to Melody for being a part of the z•aa family and sharing!
Connect + Follow with Melody and the Labetri team here: