Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Stephanie Torres Molinar, Co-Founder of Las Chingonas Tambien Lloran, located in Fort Collins, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Las Chingonas Tambien Lloran (loosely translated to "Badass Women Cry Too" in English) is a Latina-owned business focused on promoting awareness of mental health issues within the Latinx community through artwork and stickers. The name stems from the idea that it's okay to cry and acknowledge difficult emotions, especially if you're a Chingona who often feels pressure to "keep it together" and never seek help or emotional support.
Our customers are generally folks who believe in the importance of mental health and want to help destigmatize mental illness in their communities. Oftentimes, people purchasing stickers will share their own stories of how they have struggled with various mental health issues like anxiety, depression, ADHD, and many others. We find that many of our customers connect to the themes displayed in our stickers, such as the use of coping skills, affirmations, and overall self- and community care. Our customers are also people who appreciate art and beautiful sticker designs and who enjoy expressing themselves through the use of stickers.
Tell us about yourself
The idea for this business was actually created by my friend and business partner, Laura Barajas. We were talking one day about our own struggles with mental health and how difficult it can be to seek support when it's so stigmatized in our own community. We are both Latinas of Mexican families, and we realized that mental health was never really talked about in our families or communities. If people struggled with anxiety or depression, it was seen as an issue of either individual weakness or something that didn't exist altogether. Since both of us have been impacted by this issue, Laura came up with the idea that we could begin to spread awareness of and destigmatize mental illness through stickers. After that, we got together to bring this idea to fruition.
What motivates us to do what we do is not only how fun and meaningful the process of making fun artwork and sticker designs is but also how much positive feedback we get from others who tell us how important mental health is to them and that they appreciate our work. This, coupled with how much our communities continue to struggle with mental health and obtaining access to treatment, motivates us to continue spreading our message.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think our biggest accomplishment so far has been reaching our one-year anniversary of when we started this whole thing. We started off selling only to family and friends, and now we have sold to so many people that we never knew but found something in our work that spoke to them. We also have been able to sell our stickers to other businesses and have them in a few stores across the U.S. We started with only about ten sticker designs to now have over 50 and slowly adding other products such as art prints and bookmarks. To see where we began and where we are now is such an amazing feeling of achievement and fulfillment.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing about being business owners for us has been figuring out how to actually run and grow our business. Neither Laura nor I have any background in business, accounting, marketing, or other related things, so it has been a large learning curve that we are still figuring out. That, along with both having full-time jobs, makes it difficult sometimes to dedicate enough time and energy to growing our business. As with trying anything new, there are a lot of failures that needs to happen and a lot of vulnerability you have to make peace with in order to gain the necessary experience to continue improving. It's a difficult thing to share something you made with the world and let it be judged and critiqued, especially when that something is related to something so personal as mental health.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do your research, seek advice from other business owners, and use resources in your community. There's so much help and information out there for people who want to start their own business; many times, we only need to look for it. That being said, don't wait until everything is absolutely perfect to start because then it might never take off. Start when you feel fairly confident, and then continue growing and learning from there.
- Be creative in how you define success for your business. I think the most common marker used for success is money or profits, but that doesn't have to be the main or only marker when you're just starting out. Let it be something more meaningful instead, such as how many people you're reaching/helping, how much you're business has improved, or how much you've learned so that even if you haven't made much/any profits in the first year, you can still look back at a year of other successes and feel motivated to continue pushing ahead.
- Surround yourself with people who support you and your work. As mentioned previously, it is a tough and vulnerable thing to start a business, and it can make the process so much better to have people who are supportive and want to see you succeed.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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