The pop-up world has become its own entity in the retail industry. The idea of experiencing a personal connection while shopping small has grown immensely. Although the concept isn’t very complex, by no means should it be underestimated. Pop-ups take hours in a day, money in your small business budget, and patience for success. We must say there is something incredible about creating a brand and presenting your hard work through your products. There is this electric energy shared between pop-up vendors, an energy that pushes the small business owner to the next step, an energy that keeps our hopes high.
While Tierra may now have a storefront, this all started with pop-up events. Through this avenue, we have meet countless of small business owners. Their stories of struggle as well as success really pushed Tierra to dream bigger and to move forward. Amongst the orderly chaos of these pop-ups we met Ivan Vargas, the founder of Moo-chila.
Ivan Vargas from Guayaquil, Ecuador began his entrepreneurship with Moo-chila back in 2012. An idea that flourished while in college, Vargas wanted to create a solar backpack that would charge his phone while riding his bike to class. The idea was then brought to his artisan colleagues in Ecuador and after many prototypes, the first solar artisan-made backpack was then created in 2015. That same year the expansion of his artisanal footwear took off and is now Moo-chila’s main product line today.
The literal and figurative footprint that Moo-chila has left for the Latino community is a reason why we are writing about them. There is as much struggle we live and hear about in the Latinx community, but the drive of wanting to create something bigger than ourselves is a theme in our immigrant stories. As Vargas explains, we learn more and more about what it takes to be a small business owner,
“As any small business owner, struggles are always knocking at our door. Finding the right people to work with, manufacturing challenges, not enough capital to promote the name or the products to larger audiences, etc! There is always a new struggle as a small business owner. The only way to solve this issue is to do your research before jumping into an idea, in this case a business, and to put your heart and soul.”
As the Latinx community learns how to shape and cultivate their passions into economic value, we realize how important it is to be involved in the business market. Our voices are heard through our risk taking and our adventures with the unknown. When asked what advice is there to give to young Latinx in regards to developing their own business Vargas states,
“First, do what you love and care. Opening a business is hard, very hard! If your mind is not obsessed into the idea, don't even start. Second, do the right research to make sure your idea can be a success in today’s market. More in my industry that is retail, people come up with this great business ideas, but sometimes that idea is too expensive or they do not know how to sell it. In every industry there is a way; find it, learn it and then make it.”
We take his words of wisdom and propel forward and we hope that we collectively can do so as well.