Small Business Spotlight
Series

Small Business Saturday is on November 30, 2019  The following are some of my favorite Small Business Owners.
I will share with you their stories, words of wisdom
and get all up in their business with you.
 

President

Yvette Aguilera

Hialeah, FL

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1. Take us back to that A-ha moment when you decided to open up your own business.
How and why did you come up with Guavette's Wonderland?

 

I started my Guavette brand back in 2017 as a blog to talk about food and my Cuban American upbringing/culture. Throughout the years my blog has been around, I compiled a notebook of ideas and decided to take the plunge during one of the most difficult moments in my life. My drive has and will always be my Abuelo. I opened Guavette Shop precisely when he was admitted into the Hospice program. My Abuelos health was rapidly declining and I wanted him to see me walk in his foot steps as a Business owner before he passed away. I worked for corporate America for 13 yrs of my life and I knew that this was the time to do what I had to do and make my own lane. There was no time to wait for anything or anyone. Everyday that I'd go visit him at the nursing home and I would tell him that I sold an item his eyes would light up and he would cheer me on. He would tell me "Guapea" mi nieta del alma que tu puedes! Although, I picked an extremely difficult moment in time to start my business, i'm very happy that my biggest fan and best friend got to see me doing what I wanted to do in life and that he blessed it. Only God knows how hard it has been but I did it all for Abuelo. He ended up passing away on September 3rd, 2019 and I know that I will make him proud every step of the way. My upbringing was amazing because of him and my grandmother, and I will pay homage to them and their memory always! 

 

 

2. What do you sell the most of and what do you enjoy using?

 

My top seller is my "Dale, Bro" T-shirt and it's my personal favorite because I say "Dale, Bro" mil veces al dia ! lol

 

3. What challenges do you face in your field and how do you overcome them?

 

The apparel industry is saturated/territorial even in this Hispanic/Cuban-American niche. The struggle has really been showing others that I'm NOT like so and so or fulano/a de tal... that I'm making my own lane and that we're not all the same porque Guavette brings her own sazon into her products! Acuerdense, same dichos and words but different presentation . Ultimately, customers decide what they like best.

4. What word(s) do you find yourself saying to your customers?

Mainly, always telling them my story, how Guavette came about and informing them about who is Guavette and what I stand for. Because, the Guavette brand is not just another form of making money, it's the parts of my story that others can relate to. Because after all, we were all raised on the same love for Cuba and our culture!

5. What advice would you give someone just starting off in their business?

GUAPEA as my Abuelo use to say! Don't let anything or anyone get in the way of your dreams. Because there will be envidiosos y chismosos try to tear you down but DON'T let anyone stop you! Pave your own lane y DALE que there's room for all of us!!

 

6. What is your favorite song?

 

QUIMBARA - Celia Cruz ! She is my Spirit Animal and I can't help dance my life away when it plays! I love that woman and the passion evoked in every song! Dios la tenga en la gloria! 

Tiffany Machado

Market Builder

Miami, FL

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1. When did you realize you wanted to become a Monat Market Builder? What was your aha moment like?

Well, originally I was only interested in trying the products and the only reason I enrolled as a Market Partner was to get the product pack that brought more products at a greater discount than just purchasing as a VIP and also a greater discount on future purchases. I told me friend repeatedly not to bother me and that I had no intention to sell. After a few uses, I was in love with the product and had multiple customers interested in trying them just because of a few pictures I shared on my social media. From that moment on, it has been full speed ahead. My aha moment was seeing that I could help other women and men that weren't happy with their hair, whether it be the density, length or the oil and needing to wash daily and to be able to see them so happy with their results! On top of that to be able to have financial freedom with a supplementary income. That tiny decision to get a better deal on some hair products, in retrospect, changed my life.


2. What do you sell the most of and what do you enjoy using?

The 2 in 1 black shampoo sells the most. It is great for removing oil and buildup and allows people that were washing everyday and sometimes twice a day to go 3 and 4 days between washes. It also helps with dandruff. Although black is probably one of my favorites, I love too many of them! But right now, what I enjoy using the most is the new skincare line. In specific, the Be Balanced Moisturizer for combo/oily skin. I've always been oily/breakout prone and ever since having my son, have suffered from painful cystic acne. This is the first skincare line and particularly the moisturizer that doesn't make me feel greasy all day and has reduced my cystic acne outbreaks.

3. What challenges do you face in your field and how do you overcome them?

I have to say the biggest and most frustrating challenge is the negative connotation associated with Monat and with MLMs. Not because I sell these products but I've tried and spent a fortune on A LOT of expensive and affordable brands of hair and skincare and this line has left me in awe. I can tell you for a fact that these products are the best out there and they work for everyone. If you have tried them and they didn't work for you... well then, either you are using the wrong combination or you aren't using them correctly.

4. What word(s) do you find yourself saying to your customers?

Always shampoo at least twice, build up your collection to have at least a couple different options for shampoo (your hair will thank you for this) and BE CONSISTENT. If you stop using the products or are constantly "cheating on" Monat with other brands you are only setting your progress back. These are clean, vegan and anti-aging products- like nothing else on the market. So if you want the best and most pure results, I recommend you use only Monat.

5. What advice would you give someone just starting off in their business?

BE CONSISTENT, just like with using the products! Keep using them, keep sharing your experience and your results. When you believe in something with all your heart, it radiates and everyone can see it!

6. What is your favorite song?

Wow! That's a really hard question! One because I love so many and two because my hubby is a music producer so I feel like now I'm even more aware of all the little things that go into songs...but the song I always find myself singing in the shower, albeit poorly is "Something's Got A Hold On Me" by Etta James

Food Trucker

Sarita Ruiz

Rome, NY

1. Take us back to when you got your aha moment in opening Sarita's- how did Sarita's come to existence and how long have you been in business?

 

This is Sarita's 7th season in Business. I initially started this Business with another female entrepreneur who wanted to start a food cart as well. We had no idea where to start and assumed we'd have to do something together since it was so expensive. Once we got serious about it, we began to do our research. Back then, there were no manuals on the market, no helpful Facebook groups to ask questions...we studied a website on how to build a hot dog cart and realized we could build our own food carts and not have to split a big food truck...then it was research, research, research. Once I decided that the business would be both profitable and enjoyable, I decided to invest what little money I had into it. I bought a small Chevy S10 standard and a pop up camper, from where I began to build my food cart. This was of course, after I wrote my business plan. 

2. What's your number #1 seller and what is your favorite thing to make?
 

Our number #1 seller is the quesadillas, in particular, the Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip. I personally enjoy making quesadillas. I think they are fun!

3. What challenges do you face in your field and how do you overcome them?


Challenges I face are like most truckers, but being a Hispanic female, I feel like it has it's own set of hurdles. Often stereotyped as "feisty", some event coordinators won't even give you the time of day. Proving yourself worthy in this business is held at a high standard, especially for women. 

4. What word(s) do you find yourself saying a lot to your customers?

 

"Enjoy!" or explaining what an empanada is. 

5. What advice would you give someone that is just starting?


I'd tell someone who is just starting to be humble and listen. To those who are thinking about starting a food truck business, go and work on a food truck for a few days before you go and make a costly purchase. You may find that it isn't what you think.  

 

6. What's your favorite song?

"Girl on fire" by Alicia Keys

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