Family and Entrepreneurial Dreams

Family and Entrepreneurial Dreams

This Hispanic Heritage Month, SUMA is highlighting Latin@ entrepreneurs who began their businesses with a single thought – and are now living their dreams!

Today we feature Annie Leal, the owner of I Love Chamoy, an online business that sells sugar-free, carb-free, low-calorie chamoy. 

Here’s how Annie began her successful business venture:

An Idea Is All You Need

Annie had been very lucky to work closely with a lot of entrepreneurs – including Beatriz Acevedo, the co-founder of SUMA. She always knew that if there was something that needed to be created, she had the drive to go out and build it. 

The idea for I Love Chamoy came from the necessity of our community. “My dad has diabetes. He was diagnosed 10 years ago and immediately changed his diet.” Known to have a “sweet tooth”, Annie noticed that her Dad had lots of American sugar-free candy – but no Mexican sugar-free candy. When asked why, he told her he couldn’t find any.

This sparked the idea for Annie a year and a half ago.

The First Step

Though Annie had no clue how to get her business started, she knew the first step was to write everything down. “I asked my Dad to drive me to Target to get some markers and notebooks.” 

Then she realized she needed someone to help her make the formula. Her chamoy had to be healthy and contain good ingredients. Annie worked with a food engineer for 6 months to develop the formula she sells today.

Hard Work Comes With Rewards

Since Annie sells her product online, she gets tagged daily on social media by people who enjoy the taste and health benefits of her chamoy. “Knowing this is a product that is helping people has been the most rewarding.” 

And because the product was inspired by her Dad, Annie’s business venture has brought them closer than ever – yet another reward. “This truly is a family passion project.”

Be Rid Of Self Doubt

When asked what the most difficult thing about having your own business is, Annie, says that for her it was self-doubt – which came in multiple stages.

“When I first launched the business, I decided to make 750 bottles of chamoy.” The day before she had a huge bout with anxiety, thinking, “What if people don’t buy them?” 

Fortunately for Annie, all 750 bottles sold – in less than 1 week. 

“I have a lot of moments where I realize I haven’t done this before.” During these nerve-wracking times, Annie reminds herself that everything she’s done so far has had its own “first time”, and she got through it. “It may be scary at first – but it gets easier.”

Chisme Is Advertising

It’s surprising to know that Annie doesn’t spend money on advertising. Why? She doesn’t have to. 

The fact Annie shares her personal story on how the development of her product came about is all she needs. “If customers believe in your mission, they’ll become the biggest cheerleaders of your product.” Because of its health benefits and it being a first-of-its-kind product, people are doing their own advertising through social media posts. A huge win for Annie!

Future Plans

Since the success of I Love Chamoy proves there’s a necessity in the market, Annie’s working on launching two new products before the end of the year. This includes a new flavor of chamoy and low-sugar Mexican candy. 

Also, Annie recently won the grand prize at H-E-B’s Quest for Texas Best. So now she’s negotiating to sell her product in their stores – giving the opportunity for people who don’t normally order online to purchase her product in person.

Sound Advice

For those of you ready to take your first step to entrepreneurship, Annie suggests having conversations with people you know that have their own businesses. “Don’t assume people who own their own businesses know everything.” Learning about their passions and struggles is not only good teachers but also great motivator.”

 

“If people tell you it’s a bad idea, [but] you believe in it and it doesn’t go away – pursue it. Everyone’s journey is different. Do it in baby steps or go all in. [But] do it in a way you feel comfortable so you can see your dream pan out.”

“I Love Chamoy” is available at: https://ilovechamoy.com/

 

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