A BUSINESS BORN FROM LOVE
Rouge Hoops was born from love. The love for her father whom she accompanied in the hospital during his cancer, and the love she puts into every accessory she designs and produces. The love and admiration she feels for the immigrant women who work hard to raise their families and make this country great, and it is to those women that she dedicates each of her creations.
In 2017, Raysa’s father was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and from that point on she began spending a lot of time in the hospital in New York. The creation of accessories became her therapy for the endless nights she spent in the hospital with her father. Motivated by the medical staff, she set up her own mini jewelry workshop in the cancer ward and it was that same medical staff that started buying her first Rouge Hoops designs.
STEPPING OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE
“I was very afraid of failure and that the business would not be productive. By taking Centro’s classes, I began to inform and educate myself, improved my planning, assessed the risks, wardroom and based on this, I started to work very hard.”
Throughout Centro’s Advanced Entrepreneurship Program in New York, Raysa was able to improve her planning processes, expand her knowledge in digital marketing, discover new business opportunities outside the state of New York, and focus on specific, measurable, achievable and relevant goals. During this program, entrepreneurs work alongside other entrepreneurs and MBA advisors to analyze their businesses, develop improvements and execute action plans to achieve their goals.
“With Centro’s support I was able to train myself, this helped me grow as a person and as a professional, and I felt more confident to implement new ideas. In the classes I learned to better research my market and make projections about the business, all this allowed me to act towards achieving the projected goals.”
Centro’s classes have allowed Raysa to engage with other entrepreneurs and through the one-on-one mentoring she received advice and new ideas to strengthen her business. “In terms of sales, the relationships with Centro have allowed me to reach new clients in the state of California, the first clients in this state.”
Raysa was able to receive a loan through Centro’s Capital Hub as a result of her Kiva campaign, an online crowdfunding platform that offers entrepreneurs loans of up to $15,000 with 0% interest. “Thanks to this loan I was able to buy materials and equipment, and this has allowed me to expand my business.” As a result, Raysa progressively diversified her designs, incorporating recycled materials, pearls, and natural stones.
A YEAR OF CHALLENGES
During this pandemic, Raysa was planning on participating in more than 30 events including fairs, weddings, expos, and fashion shows, but they were all canceled, in addition to other orders previously placed.
On a personal note, Raysa got Covid in April and had to spend some time in bed. She has still not fully recovered and suffers from after-effects such as severe joint pain.
As for the supply of materials, because of the Coronavirus, Raysa has had major problems with shipping times and costs, as well as product shortages. All this has forced her to redesign its products with other materials available in the U.S. market. “These products are much more expensive, which has increased my production price. In addition, for safety reasons, I have increased the quality of the packaging that guarantees safety to my customers with double packaging,” says Raysa about her adaptation and the search for solutions she had to make.
“Because of Centro’s support throughout the pandemic, we trained in the areas of digital marketing and financial management, shifted our focus from direct sales to online sales, improved our Instagram page and website, and started working with new products.” Raysa highlights the importance of observing the behavior of its customers and responding to their needs, which is why she decided to create her online store and bring out products that allow protection from Covid-19.
In the Advanced Entrepreneurship Program, Raysa made strategic alliances with other fellow immigrants, who were unemployed, and decided to take the opportunity and bring out some shared brands such as the line of rings “Let’s be clear”, hand-painted earrings “Urban Beach”, and personalized face masks.
PROJECTS FOR NEXT YEAR
Currently, Raysa continues to operate her business in Bronx County, New York, and has 1 person working with her. Rouge Hoops, operates out of her home with 80% online sales and 20% direct sales and events.
As she thinks about the upcoming year, one of the goals she has set for herself is to expand her sales in California and Texas and to expand her designs with 3 new ones in pearls and larimar.
“My friends have expressed their admiration for me because despite being an immigrant woman with less than 5 years in this country, I have been able to start a business, and in this time of crisis I have been able to give some job opportunities (mask making and support in the packaging process) to immigrant women like me.”
To see all her wonderful designs and support Raysa Veras’ business, visit her website Rouge Hoops.