The Entrepreneur You Won't Read about on TechCrunch

Conexion Americas California Fashion

I want to tell you about Maria.

Where She Came From

Maria grew up very poor in a small town in Mexico. She married young. Her husband died much too early and she was left to support 3 children. After years of poverty and scraping a living, Maria moved to be with some family in California.

Maria spent several years in California, continuing to scrape by. She worked 7 days a week in order to provide for her 3 growing children. Eventually, she made her way out to Nashville, TN, where she would continue to work 7 days a week cleaning houses in up-scale Brentwood.

One day, Maria was so broken down that she physically could not get out of her car after a long day of work. Her son looked her in the eye and told her that something needed to change. He had saved some money and said she had to stop breaking her back (literally.)

Where She Ended Up

Maria quit the cleaning business and decided to pursue a new endeavor. She took her son’s seed money, traveled to California, and bought a whole lot of clothes. She came back and sold those clothes door to door. Thus, a business named California Fashions was born.

Eventually she did well enough to find some space and open a shop. The first few years were difficult, but with a little outside training, the shop eventually did well. She’s currently considering a second space.

No angel investors. No TechCrunch write-ups. Maria started humble and simply did the hard work necessary in order to build her business. Every time I feel a little lazy or uncomfortable about rolling up my sleeves and getting dirty, I need to think about Maria.

To say she didn’t have any help at all, however, would not be the whole truth.

A Little Help From Friends

The catalyst for Maria’s success was a local non-profit called Conexion Americas.

Conexión was founded in 2002 to address some of the most pressing challenges and opportunities created by recent demographic changes in our region as an increasing number of Latino families come to Tennessee in search for a better quality of life.

By enrolling in and completing Conexion’s small business training course, Maria was able to build a business that worked. She was able to get her ducks in a row and create something sustainable. This non-profit is able to help 2500 families achieve similar success each year.

If you’re interested in supporting Conexion Americas or learning more, they will be holding their annual breakfast on Thursday morning at the Loews Hotel in Nashville, TN.

Be My Guest

If you would be interested in being my guest for a morning of authentic Mexican food, incredible coffee, and some amazing stories on Thursday, please leave a comment below. I’ll be picking 5 folks at random to join me. I’d love to see you there!

  • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

    Wow, what an amazing story, Kenny. Thanks for sharing this. It’s really easy to get defeated or complain about how hard things are. I think most of us just don’t realize how good we have it. It goes to show that hard work and a good support system can really do wonders for a person and a business!

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Thanks for reading, Laura. Joel Widmer, Erin Cubert, and I got to hear Maria’s story a few weeks ago. We were all touched and inspired.

      • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

        I hate that I missed that event. It sounds like it was incredibly inspiring!