We had the good fortune of connecting with Karen Nataly Suarez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karen Nataly, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My business journey began in 2017 with the idea of creating an online shop that offered Latin-inspired gifts and accessories. At that time there were not many shops offering this type of product and saw the opportunity. I finally launched an Etsy shop on May 5th, 2018, and began selling Latin-inspired t-shirts and stickers. Upon the launch, we immediately had lots of success and support from family and friends. As our shop sales began to grow and so did our product ideas. I have always been a creative person and took up candle-making as a hobby after attending a candle-making class. I fell in love with the process and began to do my own research to learn the ins and outs of candle making. It took months of perfection and research to find the perfect candle technique. At first, I started to gift candles to family and friends and it slowly became a product I knew I wanted to include in the Etsy shop. When developing the first candle collection for our shop we concluded that there was not much representation of the Latin culture in the candle market besides the traditional religious vela. We wanted our candles to be uniquely scented and to have a broad appeal not just to Latinos but also to those who care for the environment and enjoy aromatherapy. We focused on those wants and created the very first eco-friendly candle collection inspired by our Mexican culture, traditions, food, and nature. Our candles are handcrafted in small batches using the most natural ingredients like coconut soy wax and toxin-free fragrances oils. We hope to share the beauty of our culture through these candles and future eco-friendly products and collections.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have continued to work a full-time job while growing my business. It has not been easy and many times I have wanted to quit. The 18hr work days can become difficult. The lack of socializing can become annoying to close friends and family. But my dedication and focus to continue growing my business and eventually do this full-time keep me going. I am very fortunate to have a strong support system around me that is willing to step up when things get difficult. I have always known that entrepreneurship is something I wanted to pursue and have tried many times to accomplish this dream and for the first time, I can say I have had some success and this is something that makes me so proud.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love my city. It is full of so many fun places to eat, drink and visit. If a friend visited for the first time I would first take them to the beltline where we could enjoy a beautiful day full of city views and delicious food and drinks. We would visit my favorite restaurant TWO urban licks then head over to King of Pops for a delicious Popsicle. If my guest is feeling adventurous we would spend a day at Stone Mountain and enjoy a full entertaining day ending with a laser show that is a must experience for anyone visiting Atlanta. We could also make a trip to Helen, GA, and spend a day hiking at High Shoal Falls.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am so grateful for my parents, sisters, and fiancé. They have been the most amazing support system in this journey. My parents have always nurtured my creativity and provided their home to me when I ran out of space in my tiny apartment. My mother is my biggest cheerleader. She always has words of support when things get difficult and reminds me that I am capable of anything I set my mind to. My father is my number one supporter. He is the first to like my post and shout out my products. He created our backdrop for our popup shop and always offers a helping hand whenever I have an event. My sisters and business partners have given up so much to help with this business. I am grateful that they finally joined me fully in this journey and provide me with much-needed support to continue growing the business. Their eye for detail and creativeness has made our products become better and more eco-friendly. My fiancé, I am grateful to have someone who is always willing to listen to my crazy ideas and has been there since day one of this business journey. He was the first person to encourage me to start a business and continues to support me in any way he can. Finally, I would like to shout out our product and event photographer Sonia Velez, without her amazing photography skills my business would not be where it is today. She takes time out of her busy schedule to support my dream. Starting a business is never easy but I am grateful for all of the support I have received.
Photography by Urban Artistry Photography/Sonia Velez