One stay-at-home mom turns cultural pride and frustration into a winning combination by creating the Latin Baby online boutique featuring products reflecting Hispanic pride.
LatinaLista — It didn't take long after the birth of her first child for Monica Olivera to figure out that what was missing from all the cute new baby clothes in her child's growing wardrobe was something that reflected the family's Hispanic heritage.
The longer Monica dwelled on it, the more she became convinced she had a business idea worth pursuing.
Latin Baby founder and president Monica Olivera.
"It was a gradual thought that started growing quietly in the back of my mind," Monica said. "Until one day I blurted out to my mom that if someone would start a line of baby clothes that targeted Hispanic families, they'd be sitting on a gold mine."
Not wanting to wait for someone else to capitalize on her idea, this new stay-at-home mom started doing her homework immediately. She thought up several slogans she thought would look cute on baby T-shirts and contacted an artist friend to create the designs that fit the slogans.
Next, Monica scoured the web, bought how-to books ranging from starting your own business to product development and scanned the pages of parenting and children's fashion magazines to decide exactly what she wanted in her new clothing line.
"I wanted baby clothing that was unique, fun and also had a Hispanic flavor to it. But I didn't want the old, tired stereotypes that really don't reflect who we're becoming," said Monica. "We're Americans with a Hispanic heritage. We speak English and sometimes Spanish, and we want to see happy, colorful clothing for our children."
In June 2005, Latin Baby was launched as an online boutique. Yet being the early days of e-commerce, Monica knew that she was going to have to get her products out in the physical universe to draw up interest in cyberspace.
Toting her Latin Baby products to local fairs, expos and tradeshows, Monica quickly realized that she wasn't the only one that wanted to pass down to her child Hispanic pride. The T-shirts were such a hit that Monica expanded the product line to include bibs, jean jackets, rebozo wraps (traditional over-sized Mexican scarves that can be wrapped around the body to hug the baby against its mother) and other items.
It wasn't long before Latin Baby got noticed by high-end boutiques. After a second pregnancy and now learning to juggle two young children, along with, a growing business, Monica took another major step and expanded her merchandise to include products for toddlers, adult T-shirts and embroidered products.
As a result, Latin Baby has evolved in just a short time into one of the largest on-line baby stores of its kind.
"There are hundreds of baby products out there," Monica said. "But what makes Latin Baby unique is its specialized market and its focus on blending both our Hispanic and American cultures and traditions."
Wanting Latin Baby to be a one-stop resource for customers, Monica added more than just products to wear.
Today visitors to her site can find bilingual baby shower invitations, ideas on how to throw a Latin baby shower, a resource list for Hispanic mothers, a gift registry, a link to "The Latin Baby Book Club" and her site's blog titled "Mi Cielito Lindo: A Latina's Guide through Motherhood."
However as Latin Baby became more successful, Monica grew restless. She wanted to do more to help other Latina artists and stay-at-home moms. So, she began selling products ranging from baby quilts to jewelry, all made by other talented women.
"Growing up, my goal has always been to somehow make a difference in the world," Monica shared. " Latin Baby allows me to do that by giving me a venue through which I can help other Latinas learn and deal with a MAJOR issue that affects our lives -- Motherhood."