REPLAY: Shop Latinx Founder & CEO Brittany Chavez Wants You to Grow Your Business NOW!

When it comes to growing a business, Brittany Chavez has laser-focused vision. No excuses.

Don’t have a mentor to guide you? Create your own! 

No time or money to do focus groups? No problem! 

Make mistakes along the way? Correct your course.

Don’t know what you’re doing? Ask questions.

Brittany has spent the last five years building Shop Latinx, the first curated e-marketplace for Latinx creative entrepreneurs. Shop Latinx offers offers beauty, skincare, apparel, and lifestyle products to the fastest-growing market in the U.S., Millennial and Gen Z Latinas. She started it as a side-hustle, surveyed potential customers while driving them as a rideshare driver and has since built a team and secured funding. 

She knows what it takes to build a business and the founder and CEO is happy to share her journey so that you can learn from her wins and missteps—and build your own success!

She wants you to know you are not alone. You got this! 

Brittany recently led a no-holds-barred webinar on How to Grow Your Creative Business. You can see the full replay below, or keep reading for the interview highlights!

 

 

Let's hear about your background, and what led up to you starting this platform.

It's been a five-year-long journey, but I think long story short, in 2016, I didn't see any brands or e-commerce sites, or any platforms that really uplifted Latinx-owned businesses. So, I took matters into my own hands, and I created the Shop Latinx Instagram. That grew into an actual community that spanned into the tens of thousands. I realized that my focus and my passion really lies in this, really understanding the nuances of this multicultural Gen Z, and young Millennial Latina. I went from just running an Instagram account to now having a team, and employing four really dope, Latinx creatives to help me grow this company. I think I just had this one-track mind, if I want to get something, I will do what it takes to make that happen.

 

I would love to hear what was the process like, of deciding which products. How did you go about curating, deciding what would go on the platform?

These were brands whose products we loved. They're all either Latina or woman of color-owned... that really resonate with this multicultural consumer. What I really value is feedback… Everything should be done with intention; from our captions on Instagram to the customer experience from when they reach the homepage to when they check out. I think it's best for companies to start small and be known for one thing, than to be known for all the things and then realize, "Damn, I should have scaled it back" or like, "I wish I was more intentional." Sometimes people jump into businesses with the best of intentions and the best of hearts, trying to be everything for everyone. 

 

Can you talk about what it was like navigating as a solo founder in the beginning, and what are some of the key lessons that you can impart to people watching (this webinar)? Because we do have a lot of solo founders or people who are building on their own, in our community.

I'll preface this with: You can't help others... You’ve got to help yourself first. And I think for me understanding that yes, Shop Latinx is its own entity, but it is also an extension of me, and if I'm not in my optimal state of being, if I'm not putting myself in a position to thrive, how can I expect this company to thrive, especially when I'm the founder of it? I'm the creative director behind it, I'm the CEO. I can't emphasize enough how much therapy has helped me with community building, and building key relationships, and showing up for people. There are times where I've been really depressed, and I couldn't show up for people or be that community builder, because I was dealing with my own stuff.

 

You mentioned a support system before and how important going to therapy was. Can we also talk about other pillars, like mentorship and how did you go about cultivating your initial mentor relationships, and how do you continue to keep them informed or keep that mentor network together?

If I didn't have anyone to talk to, I would create mentors in my mind and then go listen to them or read their books. Even when I was little, for me, my mentor was Oprah and Lisa Ling. I would get home (from school) at 3. My grandma would give me my beans and rice in a bowl, on a tray on the bed, and I'd put on my Oprah and, she was my mentor. Granted, it's unconventional and granted, I've never spoken to her in real life, but I've gained so much wisdom from her, and that came from me seeking out information. So, anything can be your mentor; books, music. The podcast I was talking about, I believe it's called The Startup, that one of my now investors, was a part of. It's kind of like Shark Tank, but less Hollywood. Now he and I have bi-weekly investor calls.

 

That's amazing. I feel like you gave two or three different levels of mentorship. So, if you don't have actual, real people, in your circle yet, go out and listen to podcasts. Follow people who you admire, and then you did the work, and those awesome connections and mentors came to you. 

Yes. And one thing I will say is, do not use not having a mentor as a crutch. Don't do it. It hurts my soul when people are like, "Yeah, I want to do this, but I just need a mentor. I just need someone to talk to." Go on YouTube. Don't use not having a mentor and not having a teacher, don't let that stop you from trying or researching.

 

Would love to hear more about your funding journey and the different steps in that. So how did you go about funding the business at the beginning and what did that evolution look like?

So the first three years of Shop Latinx were all funded by me. Any money I was getting from Uber driving... I was making maybe $500, $600 a week, so it wasn't much, but I remember I used that to pay a designer a stipend at the time, and I was running everything. And then it wasn't until I got my second accelerator called Techstars - they're a global accelerator program (from which) we got our first initial investment of $120,000. Techstars trains you and sets you up to start raising venture capital.

 

What was your grounding practice to keep you inspired to move in the direction that you're on? 

I feel guided almost… I think I'm headed in the direction that I'm meant to be in, and I just follow my intuition. I'm a strong believer that sometimes when you get anxiety, it's because you're not listening to your intuition, and you end up being a people pleaser and suppressing your intuition. 

 

So what are the top three lessons that you would impart to an early-stage entrepreneur or a founder. 

Seek answers. That's one. If you don't know, figure it out. Just do it. It sounds so cliche, but I think sometimes we were so scared, so we live in this perpetual state of fear and so you just need to go out there and just try and do it.

Two, surround yourself with good people. Some people will drain you. You don't think that they're affecting you, but they're affecting you. If you have anxiety around someone, listen to that and get them far away from you because they're blocking your blessings…Or it could be your environment. Maybe you need to move. Maybe you need to rearrange your furniture, but there's something there that's blocking you and you need to make room for the blessings.

Three, seek joy. I think people take life so seriously, but you're meant to have fun in this life. I think for me, Shop Latin X brings me joy and I have so much fun building and talking to my team. And yeah, some days are stressful. If it doesn't light that spark within you don't do it. Those are my three.

Want to:

Watch the webinar replay? Click here

Learn more about Shop Latinx? Click here! 

See you soon with more valuable content!

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