behind HER fly: an interview with boutique owner, mariah perez

Mariah Perez, founder of local, Latina-owned boutique Behind Her Fly is on a mission: breathe new life into the age-old adage look good, feel good. By offering stylish, affordable apparel, she wants her community (appropriately dubbed fly gals) to find themselves in clothing that does more than fulfill the daily task of getting dressed. Rather, her aim is for people to feel confident, empowered, and supported in their desire to invent for themselves who they will become, beginning with getting dressed in the morning.

Perez, who works full-time as a social media manager for a fashion consulting agency and as a content creator for varying start-up fashion brands, launched Behind Her Fly in January 2021. However, its genesis can be cited as years earlier, when its editorial counterpart, blog Being Mariah Nicole: The Butterfly Effect, was created in 2018. Centered on themes of self-assurance and self-confidence (and tips and tricks for readers to step into the same), the blog became a creative outlet for Perez to delve into an existing interest in fashion, until simply writing about trends and look books was not enough. “I decided it was finally time to take it a step further and provide women another element to truly feel and look their best selves. With that became Behind Her Fly: to represent the pretty and the ugly of the journey in becoming truly who you are.”

Mariah celebrating the boutique’s launch in early 2021. Image provided.

Behind Her Fly offers clothing that Perez describes as “trendy chic,” with a specific focus on contemporary yet staple pieces that can be versatile in their styling.

The psychological power of a charming wardrobe is not lost on Perez, and truly, she’s onto something. In 2012, researchers from Northwestern University introduced the idea of enclothed cognition – suggesting that one’s sartorial choices have specific connotations, and therefore, proven effects on the wearer’s psychological processes. That really is just a fancy way to say that you feel better about yourself, inside and out, when you are confident in how you present.

I want everyone to feel good and know the power they have within themselves. We can all truly accomplish anything we set our minds to, and my goal and hope for this brand is to prove and encourage others that it can and will be done. 

– Mariah Perez

And as she embarks on her own road of self-discovery and becoming, Behind Her Fly now serves as a hub where other fly gals are encouraged to do the same. When speaking about owning and operating her own small business, Perez said the most surprising thing (yet somehow unsurprising to me, given the ethos of her brand) was the sense of community it stimulated. “I’m a super private person with a small circle of friends, so I made…realistic goals and expectations of what I thought the brand would be in the first opening months and it’s definitely exceeded that,” she said. “It amazes me that people trust and love what I’m putting out there as much as I do. It makes me honored and grateful to be doing what I love every day while empowering others to do the same.” 

“The same,” here, of course is a blanketed term. This is not to say that she’s here only to inspire other small business owners and fellow fashionistas, rather, anyone who is looking for that crumb of motivation or a community of like-minded, passionate people. However, if you are looking for some inspiration in starting your own business, you’ve come to the right place.

Perez tells me that the whole process has been a huge commitment, in both time and money, and that she recommends studying yourself, what you are interested in, and assessing the level of dedication you’re able to put in at this moment in time. “So many people (including myself) start small businesses to ultimately leave their 9-5 without realizing that you’ll be working 5-9 in the meantime. When you want to give up, that passion needs to push you to stay—choose well and choose wisely because at the end of the day your blood, sweat and tears will all be in it.”

Chatting with Mariah truly was a delight. She is confident and excited, eager to speak about her passions in a way that is invigorating and makes you want to challenge yourself. While I’d like to present to you a novel of takeaways from our conversation, I know a listicle is what sells. So here are a couple of gems I’d like to stay with you when you’ve clicked out of this page:

  • “With the digital era of social media, it is so important to remember that social media is not reality. And it never will be! Once you come to terms with that, life becomes a little bit easier. You start to give yourself a little more grace.”
  • “If you want to do something, just do it! If there’s not a seat at the table for you, bring your freaking own. No matter who you are, what you look like, or what the past holds within you… everything has shaped you to who you are today at this exact moment. Find your Butterfly Effect moment and act upon it.”

This spring, Behind Her Fly is looking to serve corsets, reverse stitching, and plenty of baby blue. Perez says, “Spring and summer are my favorite seasons, especially as a Taurus. This spring collection I went a little crazy, and I’m not mad about it! Expect to add a little bit of color and variation to your closet with a few staple butterfly pieces.”

Speaking of adding color to your wardrobe, it’s time for a giveaway!

As a thank you for supporting me, supporting Mariah, and for reading this much (brevity has never been my strong suit), we’re so excited to give you the chance to shop for your wings on us! Enter your email below for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Behind Her Fly. (April 9th Update: Thank you so much to everyone who entered the giveaway! please see below for my super legitimate and high-quality winner raffle. Remember, we are striving for progress, not perfection. Enjoy your shopping spree, Tiffany!)

Stay up-to-date with latest releases by going online or following Behind Her Fly on Instagram.

Thanks so much for reading + happy shopping,