Photo by Erik Voss
Marcela Cortes, Luvaboo
Marcela Cortes started hand crafting dolls and accessories for her young children as a fun way to keep them entertained and engaged. She says she inherited the crafty skills from her mother who used to transform an old rag into a beautiful doll, and loved to see the admiring face of her children whenever she designed a doll that they could played peek a boo with, or a neck tie that turned into a superhero cape, their look of wonder is what inspired her to create more and more. When people asked her where she bought such cool toys, it downed on her that maybe there was a place for her creations outside of her own home.
Luvaboo was born and formally registered a few years later in 2008, although her time and efforts were not 100% yet on the business. A journalist by training, she felt confident in the creative aspect of her new business, but she knew she lacked the knowledge in other areas needed to grow it properly. As her children grew and she had more time outside her mommy duties, she realized it was time to seek proper training and grow Luvaboo. She searched online for tools and things she could learn from. It was an ad in the local paper that caught her eye. An 8-week entrepreneurial series was being offered by the SBDC Office of Minority Business in partnership with ACE Women’s Business Center (ACE WBC). An integral course that covered every area of business ownership that not only gave her the knowledge but opened the door of opportunities she did not know existed. “For me the help of the ACE WBC has been a tremendous impulse to my business. It is important for all entrepreneurs to know the wealth of resources waiting to be tapped on, and ACE WBC is the direct link to those resources.” Not long after the entrepreneurship series, Marcela signed up to participate in a 90-Second Pitch workshop where she learned how to deliver a strong business pitch, she also participated in a Pitch competition put together by ACE WBC and the SBDC Office of Minority Business where she won the first place and a prize of $1,000. Currently Marcela is working on a virtual catalog and printed materials to present her product line in a more professional way to potential vendors.
During the month of September, Marcela attended an artisan trade show in NY and from her participation she received orders from several vendors. In October 2017, ACE WBC nominated her to receive a seed-capital grant from the Latino Community Fund (LCF) through the Latin American Chamber of Commerce (LACC). On November 15th during the Hispanic Business Summit in front of 500 attendees, she was presented a check of $500 which she will use to fulfill some of the orders received during the trade show in NY. Marcela is excited of all the opportunities there are for business owners like her, but most importantly knowing that she can reach out to the ACE WBC anytime she needs.