According to the Small Business Administration, there are an estimated 4.65 million Latino-owned businesses in the United States. This puts our community, yet again, as the fastest-growing segment of the United States’ small businesses. Of course, there are plenty of discrepancies to consider. Receiving funding for a Latinx-owned business is exponentially more difficult, but that hasn’t discouraged the impeccable talents of Latinx entrepreneurs.
Shop Latinx, for instance, which is composed of a team of five, has been imprinting its value into the business stratosphere for about six years. Meaning that they’ve been in the trenches before Latinx-owned businesses were lauded as much as they currently are. If anything, we can say that Shop Latinx, thanks to their founder, Brittany Chavez, who BELatina News spoke to a few days ago, has pioneered the new-age movement of Latinx entrepreneurs.
Shop Latinx: a long-overdue space
Chavez, who is blessed with Nicaraguan and Guatemalan roots, was the innovator behind Shop Latinx, the first-ever marketplace to provide an intentional shopping experience centered around Latinx and BIPOC creatives and makers.
“It all started on Instagram six years ago when a lot of people were not doing this,” the founder of Shop Latinx, Brittany Chavez, tells BELatina.
For the first three years, the brand grew within the space of social media. However, Chavez soon realized there was a need for an e-commerce shop that catered to her community further. Thus, the force of the Latinx marketplace was fueled.
Shop Latinx has been a cheerleader for entrepreneurs who often aren’t afforded the same opportunities. So, for the community, their existence has been life-changing for many.
Nevertheless, it’s been a difficult journey. Chavez recalls that during the height of the pandemic.
“But I think aside from that, you know, I think that lack of having money really allowed me to focus on building this community as authentic as possible. Being innovative is how I market my brands and work with other creators. So, if anything, there is nothing about my trajectory that I would change,” she says.
When times get tough, love is always the answer
Chavez’s ever-awareness has continued to stand by Shop Latinx’s mission and values every step of the way.
This led her to create the campaign titled “Letters to Self: Honoring the depth, multiplicity, and resiliency of love in our communities,” launched as a direct response to celebrate Black History Month.
“Letters to Self” features Afro-Latinx community members who speak on the various ways love can be manifested, including self-love.
Throughout the video campaign, you can hear inspirational messages such as, “I hope that on any off days, you remind yourself how far you’ve come and how beautiful this journey of self-love has been.”
The campaign video was divided into three themes: A Mother’s Love, Friendships is the Real Love Story, and Lovers & Friends.
The campaign cast four amazing people: Laura Rosenbaum and her mother for the “A Mother’s Love” part of the campaign video. They also feature Milanis Diese and Coy Griffin for “Friendship is the Real Love Story “and Dalis Espinal and her boyfriend Canvas for “Lovers & Friends.”
During Lovers & Friends, Canvas is heard saying, “Remember, king, if you feel alone, take some time to breathe, and readjust that crown,” which is great in itself. As we all may know, men are not often keen on showing vulnerability, so this campaign gives us a glimpse at how the narrative is changing.
Giving back to the community
To complement the campaign, Shop Latinx released a new t-shirt line. Twenty percent of proceeds from whatever is bought in this collection to Vida AfroLatina, an international women’s fund that mobilizes resources and connects them with Black and Afro-descendant women’s groups addressing sexual violence in Latin America.
But the campaign’s purpose goes beyond the merch drop; it’s all about the love-filled message. It’s about the importance of uplifting the Afro-Latinx community as well.
“It’s a part of our ethos for more than a marketplace. We’re also a community. We tie in a lot of commerce to it because everything we sell also goes to a Latinx-owned business or women of color in business. It just made sense for us.”
Let’s not forget that many Latino/xs often don’t give every person of our community the same praise – and that needs to change.
This is one of the reasons why Shop Latinx’s initiative, “Letters to Self,” is so significant.
And it is not lost on Chavez.
“I believe that Latinidad is too often viewed as the monolith. So, that’s something that we’re always thinking about: how can we showcase the complexities and richness of Latinidad. That’s very compelling, honest, and true to who we are as a brand, too, because like any of that, it also really encompasses different cultures and ethnicities and races.”
Truer words couldn’t have been uttered. It’s time people understand the power in diverse communities.
Anyone can be part of that power by indulging in the beauty of this carefully crafted campaign video and by contributing to the t-shirt line as well.