Fri, December 13, 2013

Lori Riollano ‘85

The search for the perfect baby bedding for her own son turned into a flourishing business for Marywood alumna, Puerto Rican native, and artist Lori Riollano ‘85.

The search for the perfect baby bedding for her own son turned into a flourishing business for Marywood alumna, Puerto Rican native, and artist Lori Riollano ‘85.

“I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I decided to make it myself,” she said.

Her friends and family were so impressed by what she had created that she felt compelled to design a line of children’s bedding. Eventually, Lori found herself on the floor at various trade shows. While buyers liked her design aesthetic, they weren’t interested in carrying bedding because it took up precious space on a retail floor.

Lori wasn’t discouraged. Instead, she turned back to her roots – Advertising and Fashion Merchandising, which she studied at Marywood University. Soon, she was sketching her ideas for boys’ and girls’ couture. Not long after that, her designs were hanging on racks on local stores in Puerto Rico.

Her eye for color, fabric choice, and style led to various famous department stores offering to sell her designs. While she was flattered that there was so much interest, she decided it was better for her to have control over her line.

Her determination led her to design a line of high end children’s wear called PaPalotes, which features dresses, skirts, and tops for girls, as well as polos and rompers for boys. Lori has even created a line of swimwear for children, called Mohao. Her boutique opened in 2007, and she launched her website, www.papalotes.com, last year.

Lori said she designs all the time, adding, “Just when you think you’re done, that’s when the ideas come.”

With four children of her own: Arturo (18), Vivian (15), Andre (11), and Angel (8), it may be hard to believe that she is a one woman show. She credits her years spent at Marywood as having given her the ability to juggle so many tasks.

“I love the teachers for being tough,” she said, noting that Quinta Mahon, a fashion professor, was a great influence on her.

The beauty and serenity of the campus helped Lori to concentrate on her studies, and her courses in art provided a strong foundation for her to build upon throughout her career.

It was by way of her best friend, Bibi Liano ‘85, that Lori found herself at Marywood. The two girls were inseparable throughout their lives and remain close friends to this day.

After graduation, Lori worked in sales and merchandising at Cartier, where she advanced within the company. She became an account executive for BBDO (Batton, Barton, Durstine, Osborn) in Puerto Rico. Then, she became a freelance casting director, during which time she met her husband, movie and TV Director, Abdiel Colberg.

It’s no surprise that her family would serve as her greatest inspiration. In turn, she and her husband are inspiring their children. Her oldest son is interested in the music industry and is currently in college. Her other son has his sights set on a career as a movie director.

And of course, her daughter is following in her footsteps, possessing the same love of fashion as her mother.

Lori said she plans to continue working on her line, hoping to expand it to include shoes and accessories.

Throughout her life and career, Lori credits Marywood as giving her an appreciation for lifelong learning. She said, “Marywood helped me develop a sense of beauty in art and all my surroundings which is a key component of my life.”

Lori said, “I took a lot of courses in art, and I thought they wouldn’t apply when I was out of school, but they helped me to be the success I am today.”

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