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How Instagram is helping Latina entrepreneurs survive the pandemic

The pandemic put most brands into turmoil, if not out of business. It’s a dire situation for all businesses, but the minority-owned businesses bear the brunt. This is especially true for Hispanic-owned businesses, which took a 42% nosedive in sales from February to March 2020 alone. A similar report even suggested that the impacts of the coronavirus would be twice as bad on black- and Hispanic-owned brands than for white-owned businesses.

Despite this outlook, many Latina entrepreneurs weathered the crisis by pivoting their operations. These Latinas turned to Instagram to reach consumers and connect with others in the community. Get to know these three Latina-owned businesses that beat the odds via Instagram.

Cafe Con Libros (Bookstore)

The bookstore closed up shop in early March of 2020 when the pandemic broke out. It was a tough decision for Latina owner Kalima DeSuze since the business relied heavily on their storefront— they sold coffee and pastries. But DeSuze knew that it was the best thing to do in the interest of her staff and customers’ safety.

41-year-old DeSuze took social media, SEO, and e-commerce courses to learn how to effectively use Instagram. Applying what she learned, the bookstore gained 15,000 followers on social media. DeSuze successfully tapped into online retail and created a platform to share books authored by women of color in the process.

 

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Flower Bodega (Floral Design & Content Studio)

Florist and owner Aurea Sanabria Molaei was forced to rethink her business strategy after the pandemic hit. Her 2020 contracts started to fall through almost all at once. She came up with the idea of creating floral kits instead.

She would scramble to deliver all the kits to customers around New York. After completing deliveries, Sanabria Molaei would host a live floral arrangement class on Instagram, filmed from her studio. Other brands took notice and now ask Sanabria Molaei to do Instagram takeovers and live video sessions to teach floral design.

 

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Franca (Ceramics)

It was a massive blow to Jazmin de la Guardia and her business partner when their wholesale accounts shut down, crippling 95% of the business. This was when they decided to look to social media to drive sales up.

 

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The Franca staff poured their efforts into growing their Instagram account, and it proved to be a success. Online orders started to come in, and their products even caught Michelle Obama’s attention. She commissioned a line of mugs as part of her ‘Vote 4Ever Merch’ collection

You might be interested: 3 Marketing challenges Latina-owned businesses face

How you can maximize Instagram for your business

Maintain high-quality visuals

Aesthetics is crucial on Instagram. It’s a photo and video-sharing app, so there’s simply no room for shoddy shots.

Your photos and videos need to look professional if you want to be taken seriously— well-lit, in high-definition, and tasteful. Furthermore, make sure that your posts are cohesive. Choose a theme or color palette that best reflects your brand and stick with it.

Follow a schedule

More than pretty visuals, you need consistency to keep followers engaged on Instagram. This is why you need to plan out your content calendar in advance. In fact, you can even use a dedicated Instagram scheduler to ensure this calendar is followed down to the minute.

Some schedulers also deliver personalized insights that let you know when your followers are most engaged and suggest the best time for you to post. This is especially important given Instagram’s latest update to their algorithm, where new posts are noticed more. 

Take advantage of live videos

Take a cue from the Flower Bodega and the Fashion Designers of Latin America, start doing live videos. This gives you a unique opportunity to showcase your products as well as your brand personality in a more casual and intimate way.

Instagram allows you to broadcast live through the Stories format and even the IGTV format, which lets you upload longer-form videos, too.

COVID-19 put a strain on Latina entrepreneurs, but it’s also proven how their entrepreneurial skills and tenacity can tide them through even the most difficult times.

Abasto Magazine Latinas in the USA

LatinasinBusiness.us and Abasto Magazine join efforts to support Latinas in the USA

We are celebrating Small Business Week with this great announcement! The reason to join efforts? Latinas in the USA are the largest growing demographics entering the labor force, opening businesses and increasing their economic power but their rise to decision-making position still lags behind other minorities.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to our LatinasinBusiness.us column in Abasto Magazine. You and I will have an opportunity to get to know each other, connect on the important issues that affect Latinas today, discuss trends and innovative solutions for your business or career, and find common ground to help each other grow.

Susana Baumann Tell your Story

Susana G Baumann, Editor-in-Chief LatinasinBusiness.us

A little over two years ago, I launched LatinasinBusiness.us with the vision to build, support and empower a community of Latina professionals, those in the corporate track and small business owners. After over 25 years of working in corporate America, the State of New Jersey and finally starting my own business, I felt that my experience of struggle and success could be of use for many. As a Latina, I was ready to give back one more time.

The experience has been riveting, to say the least. At a professional level, it has allowed me bring a small contribution to the struggle of Latinas around the country. At a personal level, it has also allowed me to meet hundreds of young Latinas like you who truly are the future of this country.

Are Latinas in the USA making history?

I started my business at a time when being Latino was not “cool” as it is today! Even if we still have many steps to climb and milestones to achieve, we have made strides in every industry, field and activity. Nevertheless, we need to keep going!

 

Unfortunately, women in general and Latinas in the USA in particular are still falling behind in many aspects of their professional, career or business development. We need to work harder and smarter in these areas:

Leadership: One in five women in this country is a Latina. However, there are no Latina CEOs among the Fortune 1000 companies and less than 3 percent of board directors at Fortune 500 companies are Asian, black or Hispanic women. Women hold only 19 percent of Congressional seats. The first Latina elected to the Senate was sworn in 2017 and just a few more made the House this year as well.

Business: The fastest growing demographics opening businesses, Latinas in the USA represent 36 percent of women owned businesses with receivables of approximately 71 billion (2014). However, Latinas grab a very small portion of five percent Federal contracts awarded last year to women –for the first time in the history of the SBA- and have the least access to capital of all minority business owners.

Corporate America: In the workplace, the numbers do not look much better. One in seven women is Latina in the workforce and they are projected to be over 17 percent by 2022. However, the outcome is poor: One-fourth of Latinas in the USA live below the poverty line and more than half are living in near-poverty with a pay inequality gap of almost 56 percent.

Education: Latinas in the USA have surpassed their male counterparts in educational achievements. However, they still lag behind other minorities in attaining a high school degree, and only 19 percent complete a college degree. They get the crumbs when it comes to employment or promotions with only fewer opportunities to access decision-making, high-paying positions.

Buying power: Latino buying power has increased 167% in the 15 years expected to reach 1.7 trillion in 2020. Primarily Latina moms make all financial and buying decisions in the family.

Health: Health disparities are rampant among Latinas, with the highest rates of death for breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Retirement: The financial and economic gap follows us into old age, becoming the least protected demographic among all minorities.

 

Not all hope is lost

This evidence is not the only reason that compelled me to launch LatinasinBusiness.us. On the contrary, a deeper knowledge of a vibrant and competent community of talented Latina women, working hard at achieving their potential, was the main reason to create this small window of opportunity: to encourage, promote and bring to the front these wonderful stories of Latino women building family, businesses and communities around them.

Not one person or one movement can achieve this huge task alone. We need to keep holding hands and helping those just starting or on their way up to achieve their best potential because when one raises, the others follow.

Abasto Magazine is giving me today the opportunity to meet with all of you on these pages, tell your stories, and bring discussions to the forefront –the hard difficult questions we need to ask and answer. For that, I need your help: to reach out to me and share your dreams and your achievements but also the difficulties and the battles you have encountered along the way so we can all learn from each other.

Remember: ¡La unión hace la fuerza! We do not need to wait for opportunities to come our way but we need to create them for ourselves. I did it for over 20 years, you can do it too!