Unique collective empowers Latina business owners in Phoenix-area
PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Tucked away in Peoria’s Park West, there’s a collective empowering Latina business owners. The Amor Collective is comprised of more than 20 Valley artisans, and its goal is to make dreams a reality.
“When you do things coming from a space of love, not being successful isn’t an option,” said Stephanie Vasquez, the CEO and founder of Amor Collective.
The idea has been in the making for a long time, but it came to life in August. Vasquez says it was created with love, hence the name. “Amor is that middle ground between pop-up and home-based businesses to full-on storefront,” she explained. But it wouldn’t be a true Latina-owned business if it didn’t add a bit of cultura, or culture in English.
Vasquez founded Empowering Latina Leaders in Arizona, the nonprofit opening the collective. She has years of experience as a business owner in the Valley. “I opened the Fair Trade Cafe in 2007, and now we are the longest-standing coffee house in Downtown Phoenix,” she said.
Through her success, she hopes to mentor those who look like her and come from the same background. “We have classes that are taught so that the businesses can not only get the resources but build a network at the same time,” she said. “Then, when they’re done within those cohorts, they can showcase and test their brand in real-time, here at Amor.”
Her intent behind a rotating collective is to minimize the risks business owners face by branching out on their own. The idea is to build them up for success. “Every three months, we rotate the businesses, so these brands are exposed to over 600,000 people,” she said.
Not only can you find her signature coffee at Amor Collective, but you’ll also come across 20 different artisans, including Gloria Elox, who created a business named Mi Pecado. “I’m a mommy of three, so I wanted mujeres to feel chingonas, so I created my first T-shirt called chingona,” Elox said.
Elox officially created the brand five years ago. “You can find really cute jewelry, necklaces, rings; you can also find other T-shirts. For example, I have a T-shirt that is called Mexicana de corazon; I have another T-shirt that says, ‘Te quiero un chingo.’”
Every piece in her collection has a purpose. “I want Latina moms to know that just because you’re a mom, you don’t have to [give up] your dreams. Go for it; you are yourself, too, and you have dreams to accomplish.” And Elox says it’s happening for her. “All of the dreams I dreamt of, they’re coming true.”
She says she’s not the only one. It’s happening for all of the women who are part of Amor. “Cutting that ribbon is cutting all that fear -- that fear that you have of moving forward,” she said.
Elox credits her success to the support from the community and the Amor Collective. “It’s opening doors, not just for me, but for other women here in the community.”
While business owners rent out space, the nonprofit covers most of the cost. Businesses can also come back into the rotation to help mentor other entrepreneurs. “I feel like we’re creating change, and we’re changing the trajectory and not just for ourselves but for future generations,” Vasquez said.
To find out more about the Amor Collective, visit AmorCollectiveAZ.com.
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