Teen Business Tycoons

Women are up and coming in the business world, and many of them had an entrepreneur vision from a very young age. Owning your own business can be difficult with permits, loans, rental space, and not to mention money, but these young Latinas are proving no challenge is too big for them.  These young Latinas have transformed their passion and hobbies into business ventures. They are taking their business to the next level while striving in college.

Ashley Rodriguez was 18 years old when she started her business. What began as a hobby quickly turned into a successful boutique. “I love fashion and designer labels, but being on a budget as a college student played a huge part in starting my business,” says Ashley Rodriguez, owner of Encore Exchange. She wanted to launch a consignment store for others who were in her same situation. She takes clothing and accessories brought in by customers and she splits a certain percentage of the sale with the owners once the item has sold. Everything in her boutique comes from local clientele, even her jewelry displayed is handmade. The purpose of her boutique was to take out the middle man. Nothing is ordered, customers are the ones who restock her store. Thanks to her business, she has gained valuable experience in speaking to customers on a daily basis, keeping strict budgets and getting organization.

“I opened up after my first semester at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). After I got my family’s support, we needed to find a place with manageable rent. I didn’t take out any loans and the majority of my financial stability came from financial aid and scholarship money I had earned,” says Ashley. Although Ashley has worked very hard in managing the boutique, she feels strongly supported by her family. “Everyone says it’s my company…but I feel it wouldn’t be mine without their support which is why I always say it’s our store,” says Ashley. Owning your business entitles you to more responsibilities “I can definitely say I’ve matured since I’ve opened my business. I’m not a shy person but this made me feel more comfortable speaking to people and handling any crowd. ” says Ashley.

Julianna Sanchez started her cake business at the age of 19 with her older sister Claudia. They first got their idea when they began making cakes for family events instead of buying them. They not only saved money, but developed their talents and expanded their network of contacts. Soon, family and friends began to make requests  for their cakes and recommend their business to others.  It’s been over three years and their business has boomed. “We’ve grown a lot. We began making 30 cakes the first year, and now we make about 60 cakes a year,” says Julianna.

“We were tired of buying cakes at the supermarket where they all looked the same just different colors,” says Julianna. Together the Sanchez sisters, Julianna and Claudia, started making cakes in their household kitchen. Although their little cake business emerged from a hobby, they would like to one day expand and open their own place in the downtown area of El Paso, but for now they are building up their clientele. “We don’t do it for the money or fame, we do it because of the people. We are giving something different and we become a part of their special day,” says Julianna. People tend to take photographs of their cakes right before they devour the savory dessert. Their cake business has allowed them to work closely with customers when creating an idea for a cake. From flavor to design Julianna has learned to keep customer satisfaction to expand her business. Both sisters can agree that creativity has been the most important ingredient when keeping a cake business.

Her experience has made her more confident with handling customers and making cakes. “Not everyone can say they have fun while working. It doesn’t feel like working. I’m just doing what I like,” says Julianna. Her business has allowed her to keep focused in her college goals as well as make some extra money on the side. Being a business owner has allowed her to work around her school schedule and keep her goals within reach.

These young Latinas are breaking through many barriers with their businesses. They not only do something that they love but they also remain focused in their college careers. Although it may be difficult at first, family support was the most important ingredient for these young owners.

Career Spotlight: News Reporter

Kandolite Flores is a broadcast journalist in El Paso Texas.  She gets information and stories from the community and delivers them in the news hour. She also reports on the traffic every morning to make sure people get to work and school on time. She is a positive role model in the community and loves working with people. She is very energetic and is always full of smiles. She is also a person that has worked very hard to be where she is today and will always be loved by the community.

Name: Kandolite Flores
Age: 24
Position & Title: Reporter KFOX
Major: Communications Studies
Minor: Women’s studies

Why would you recommend your career?
If you like meeting people and are passionate about people and you like telling stories, then this is the job for you

What are some of your job responsibilities?
I do the traffic [report] in the mornings every ten minutes. From 5 till 8am, I make sure roadways are safe and people are on time. Afterwards, I’m a reporter on the field. I have to find a story or it finds me. Then it goes on the 6 and 9pm [news]. I’m constantly researching.

How did you find your current job?
I had thought about being a reporter with an emphasis in marketing. After I graduated [college], I landed an internship in KFOX. I built a passion for it. After being so vigilant and dedicated, I jumped on a part time position in traffic. My advice is to not take any organization for granted because you never know when you can help them or they can help you in the future. I did Podcasts on UTEP athletics in college. John Teicher; The Voice of the Miners really helped me a lot. While interning, I made sure to shadow everyone, and I stayed fresh in their mind when the position opened up. They said, “let’s give her a chance for 6 months.” After that, they gave me a contract. I love what I do every day and you really have to do it for the passion not the money.

What did you do to prepare for this career?
Internships and networking. I took advantage of professors and they became mentors to me. Also, doing the Podcasts gave me the training on camera. I spoke very fast on camera, but I’ve learned to slow down. I am fortunate to work with a lot of talented people behind the scenes, colleagues on air and our photographers but my everyday mentor is Brad Montgomery. He’s a weather forecaster and has been in the business for a while. He’s very humble, confident and passionate about weather. We are a team and he has really been like my teammate, pumping me with confidence. He gives me constructive criticism, which is not easy to do. For the most part we all work as a team but it’s a very competitive business and at the end of the day you have to worry about yourself.

What is your favorite part of your job?
Sharing inspiring stories. Like a recent story about 3 women who were in an accident on the freeway. A passerby stopped and put his life at risk and saved one of the three girls. It was a miracle and a selfless act brought to me through Facebook. I can only do hard stories not stories like on events or easy things. Sometimes news will find you, but it is your job to be investigative and to bring stories and justice to the community. When things aren’t going right, we have that power to bring justice. Knock on doors and make sure those questions are answered.

What do you think is your proudest accomplishment?
I didn’t cover the story but I brought it into the newsroom and I’m glad I did because it went national. An American flag fell in the rain in front of a local business and a homeless man folded the flag in the rain. A close friend who works there saw it on the security cameras later and told me about it. I thought it would be a good story and so I told our assignments desk about it. Daniel Novick was the reporter who covered the story and found the homeless man, his name was Gustus Bozarth.The story went national and people donated money and even made a Facebook for him- Gustus Bozarth for President. It was great to see the patriotic spirit it raised and how it changed his life.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
One of my hobbies is running. I also watch other news. I call it my “Morning Glory” disease.

Tell me something about journalism that people would be surprised to find out?
Journalists aren’t as serious as they appear to be. In the newscast, we each have personalities and we’re human. People think we don’t have feelings, but we do cry and have emotions on some of the stories we cover. I’ve cried in our live van a million times. It’s not easy, we are compassionate about what we do and the people that we interview. Journalism is intriguing and fun but it can also hurt- it’s an emotional job. Even though we have to keep composure we do have compassion and of course a sense of humor.

What advice do you have for girls?
Be you, be fierce, be compassionate and be optimistic. Don’t take no for an answer or be afraid of conflict. Don’t try to blend in, be you, be unique. Always make sure to stick to your morals and be relentlessly optimistic.

What are your future goals?
I’m interested in writing a book about my first year in the field- “the rookie in the newsroom.” As for the news biz I want to go as far as I can. Who know’s maybe one day I can say “good morning america”

Sibling Rivalry

“I get annoyed with the way she does things or says things,” shares Gabriela Garza when she talks about her sister.  “We fight about clothes and money, or even plans we’ve made like if we want to go to a movie or to a restaurant.”

Sound familiar? This kind of behavior is common among brothers and sisters. Siblings live together for most of their lives and living in close proximity will eventually lead to rivalry. It is healthy to fight. It builds not only character, but also strengthens the bond between siblings. Although it may seem stressful and annoying at times, it is important to always keep each other’s feelings in check.

When Lindsay and Noel play X-box together, it usually ends in an argument. They each want to play something different. When they disagree, that’s when the problems begin. Lindsay is the younger sibling and always ends up losing. “I feel annoyed and frustrated and I feel like getting my brother back,” said 13-year-old Lindsay Sanchez.

Arguments can often lead to fights, but it’s important to hold yourself back and be a better person by talking through the problem. The easiest way to deal with this is to talk about it. Siblings should know how each other feel all the time. To ensure a happy life together, it’s okay to say things like “that hurts my feelings” or “I would never do that to you” or “please stop that.” Just remember to be respectful. It leads to a positive response. If you are full of emotion, it’s okay to step away from the situation to let things cool off. Just make sure your brother or sister knows and understands how they made you feel.

Lindsay’s older brother Noel Sanchez is 15-years-old and is far too familiar with this. “I get annoyed when we argue and I go to my room to be alone. Later we talk about it and get over it and we play video games again.” It is important to steer away from physical fights with siblings. Fighting never fixes the situation and it hurts family bonds. Always talk about it or involve a parent.

According to www.childdevelopmentinfo.com, “communication lays a solid and important foundational element and nature to the family relationships and unit. It strengthens it and deepens the bonds, by doing so family’s bond together and work through things as a family by caring and supporting each other.” This means that when brothers and sisters fight, you may want to  let your parents help you try and resolve the issue. Don’t ignore it or let it boil over.  They love you both equally and will help you fix the situation. Therefore, notifying a parent will help everyone be happy and parents will keep a lookout for the both of you.

You may feel like it is hard to get along with your brother or sister now, but as you grow older you will probably get even closer.  Another important thing to remember is that sibling rivalry for the most part is a situation that goes away with maturity. Usually around the age of 18 those problems may start to diminish as the early teen will begin to flourish into a young adult.

“As kids we fought about everything,” says Gabriela. “We would compete over our parent’s attention, and we’d try to outdo each other. As you mature you learn to let things go, especially the little things. I know family is super important and I’m thankful to have my sister in my life even though we’ve put each other through some hard times. It’s only made our relationships that much stronger. “

Siblings look alike, act similar and will remain a part of each other for the rest of their lives. Gabriela Garza is a 22-year-old student at University of Memphis.  She and her sister Adriana have become closer as they’ve gotten older. “My happiest moments with my sister were when we moved out together, and we got to know each other all over again as adults. We realized that no matter what would happen we’d always have each other.”

Sometimes siblings will argue when they’re older, but it rarely turns physical and forgiveness is usually around the corner. “Even though she hurts me at times, I know it’s not intentional and I know it won’t last forever because the love I have for her allows me to forgive her always…No matter what, she is my blood and I know for a fact that she will always be there for me.”

Food Craving Culture Clash

Appreciate your heritage and mix what you like. Many Latinos in the United States face the same issue when it comes to dinner. Do we have traditional Latino dishes or American tonight? Burger and Pizza are usually more popular than enchiladas, paella, ropa vieja, sofrito and mole. American meals are typically easier to make and are easily available. Abuelitas usually took hours simmering our favorite foods. Teens now have very busy schedules with school, sports, and friends and don’t have time to cook the traditional dishes of our abuelitas. Quick and easy meals are ideal for the busy teen. What happens when you crave both Latin dishes and American food at the same time? What can you make to eat when you don’t have all evening to prepare a meal?  Here are some ways you can incorporate two ethnic foods into one quick amazing entree.

  • Border Burger– Mix chorizo into ground beef patties and broil to your liking.  Top the burger with avocado slices and tomato, and you’ve created a simple mix of two cultures.
  • Spicy Macaroni– Boil a box of macaroni and cheese. Drain the pasta and add cheese, milk and butter.  Serve on a plate and add your favorite salsa on top to add a spicy kick.
  • Bagel Pizza– Cut a bagel in half, smear tomato sauce and top off with shredded cheese. Add corn, jalapenos and chorizo randomly and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds for a Latin taste.
  • Tex-Mex Baked Potato– Place a medium sized potato in a microwave for 3 minutes, cut it open and add butter and sour cream, mix well. Top it off with chili powder and cheese for a quick Tejano taste. (Optional add cilantro.)
  • Strawberry Limonada– Squeeze the lime juice from 20 limes into a 2 quart pitcher with water and add sugar. Chop fresh strawberries and slices of lime without the skin and add to the pitcher. Add 3 tablespoons of strawberry syrup and mix well for a refreshing agua fresca.
  • Chile Con Queso Dip– Open a can of chili beans and add shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes and onion. (optional: heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds and mix well) Open a bag of chips and enjoy your flavorful Latin creation.

Try these simple creations to satisfy your American and Latin tastes. Wow your family with these quick recipe ideas that will leave them hungry for more of your Latina flair.