Interior Designer & Artist Verónica Ortuño Has Found a Way to Turn Her Side Hustle into a Creative Business - Remezcla

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“I got my survivor’s mentality from my family,” Ortuño said.
“I felt like it was my opportunity to focus on one thing for a while,” Ortuño, 36, said.
“With no money coming in, I had to figure out what I was going to do,” Ortuño said.
Ortuño said hiring a grant writer could lay the groundwork to expand a business.
“Grant writing is an extensive process,” Ortuño said.

Interior Designer & Artist Verónica Ortuño Has Found a Way to Turn Her Side Hustle into a Creative Business - Remezcla

She may only have had $100 in her pocket when she moved to Austin right after high school, but in her heart, Veronica Ortuño knew her creative spirit would guide her to success. Ortuño tried a bit of everything–from touring as a musician in her early 20s to studying fashion design in college. There was no denying her artistic ambitions. Ortuño then started repurposing vintage garments and selling them on a 3rd party online marketplace. She enjoyed it so much, she created her own online store and then opened her own boutique in Austin, Las Cruxes, where she could sell her creations and offer a space where others could come and express themselves through their own art. Her family, immigrants from Mexico, supported her pursuits in any way they could. Her father even built shelves for her first store since there was no money for a renovation. “I got my survivor’s mentality from my family,” Ortuño said. “That was instilled in all of us. We had to learn the worth of a dollar and work hard for what we had.” The connection she had to her local art community was strong, but Ortuño was given the opportunity to expand her creativity and do some interior design for a store owner in Detroit who liked what she had done with Las Cruxes. It was a difficult decision, but after her first interior design side gig, Ortuño closed the physical location of Las Cruxes. With the reliability of her wireless network and the support of her community, Ortuño kept Las Cruxes alive and thriving as a a digital creative services platform and started her new venture, Casa Veronica. “I felt like it was my opportunity to focus on one thing for a while,” Ortuño, 36, said. “I decided it was time to move on. I felt like 10 years was a good run. That chapter in my life ended very organically.” Photography by Sarah Natsumi Moore. Designed by Anomalo. Read more When the pandemic hit in early 2020, Ortuño was forced to pump the brakes a bit on Casa Verónica but didn’t want to lose momentum. So, she began taking ceramics courses to add to her creative repertoire. She knew incorporating e-commerce on the website of her new enterprise would drive traffic. Plus, she could show off some of her ceramic work, which matched her interior design aesthetic. “With no money coming in, I had to figure out what I was going to do,” Ortuño said. “When I started taking ceramics classes, I knew I was going to be very serious about it. Two years later, I feel very fortunate that what started as a side gig became something I love.” Photography by Sarah Natsumi Moore. Designed by Anomalo. Read more Here are five tips and tricks Ortuño has offered to help other creatives master the “Sideconomics” and get a better handle of their business plan and finances. She hopes her advice can give everyone a way to move forward in their career while also celebrating their culture. 1. Have Confidence in Your Talent Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said it best: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” When Ortuño started thinking about opening Las Cruxes, she didn’t have any capital. She wasn’t even sure how she would pay a storage facility $150 to store her merchandise. “I was 25 years old and was wondering how I was going to pay my rent,” she said. “I couldn’t even get a small business loan. I was scared, but I decided to do it. A lot of it was trial by error.” She added: “I depended on my family and friends for support at the beginning and am happy they were there for me.” 2. Network, Market, & Connect There’s no way Ortuño could do what she does with Casa Verónica, and do so on the go across the city of Austin, without her cell phone and a reliable wireless network like Cricket Wireless, especially because of how much she is able to use her social media platforms to reach out to potential customers. “Instagram and Facebook are such amazing and free tools,” she said. “It’s great just for exposure and to connect to other like-minded people.” Ortuño also uses a mobile accounting app on her phone to keep her business organized for tax purposes. Then, there’s the mobile payment apps, which allow her to sell her artwork when she decides to have a pop-up show somewhere. Photography by Sarah Natsumi Moore. Designed by Anomalo. Read more 3. Save and Build Credit Although Ortuño’s credit wasn’t where it needed to be to start a business, she was able to get a small loan from a friend who believed in her vision. She encourages young entrepreneurs to save as much money as they can and to set a goal. “Set the amount you need and then open your store,” she said. “If I could go back, I would’ve saved more money and built my credit, so I could get at least a $20,000 loan. That would’ve helped me drastically.” 4. Hire a Grant Writer There is a lot of money out there to help small business owners–if you know where to look. Ortuño said hiring a grant writer could lay the groundwork to expand a business. “Grant writing is an extensive process,” Ortuño said. “You need to be very detail oriented.” In her experience, Ortuño said there are grants “available at our fingertips,” especially for POCs and business owners in marginalized communities. “People should take advantage of those grants,” she said. 5. Set Your Pricing Correctly Ortuño admits that although determining pricing – wholesale vs. retail cost – can be intimidating, business owners can make it easy on themselves if they stick to a customized pricing system that works for them. For example, if it takes her seven hours to make a ceramic lamp, Ortuño pays herself $35 an hour ($245) and adds the cost of supplies and a lampshade. The wholesale cost equals $325. From there, she multiplies that amount by two to come up with her retail price of $650. “Prices will be lower once I decide to make molds for my pieces, as that will speed up production,” she explained. “But as of now, this business model works best for me and keeps my demand steady and not over-saturated.” Sideconomics is a Remezcla initiative presented by Cricket Wireless that offers valuable insight and advice from successful Latine entrepreneurs who transformed their side jobs into sustainable main gigs. Cricket’s reliable network connects customers to their passion projects and support systems to help the Latine creator community thrive.
The Original Article can be found on Remezcla

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