By Linda Castillo
(Editor’s Note: The following story was originally published on May 9, 2015)
Today is the last day of National Small Business Week, a time dedicated to recognize the special impact and achievements made by outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners. On that note, I am excited to end the week featuring Make My Quince, one of the startup companies currently in the Manos Accelerator Spring 2015 cohort. The company is comprised of Latinas creating a product for Latinas! I love that.
The Make My Quince concept originated from Fatima Ruiz who has a counseling and outreach background. The idea came to her when her niece had a quinceanera and Fatima recalled going through very similar stresses with regards to the planning process.
“Planning a quinceañera is very similar to planning a wedding, unfortunately, there are not a lot of tools for quinceañera planning available,” explained Fatima.
Comparably, a quinceañera can be just as expensive as a wedding. A typical quinceañera can cost upwards of $15,000. She remembers that her single mom had a lot of padrinos who helped sponsor different parts of her quinceañera. Thinking about all of the headaches associated with planning a quinceañera was the catalyst for Fatima’s aha moment to create the concept of Make My Quince. Her solution will allow users to 1) to brainstorm, plan, and budget their party, 2) connects users to services they need for their event, and 3) allows users to crowdfund their planned event. Imagine all of these functions in the convenience in an app on your phone!
Fatima first presented the Make My Quince concept at the Google for Entrepreneurs Startup Weekend in Sacramento, CA. She pitched her idea and received 2nd place. During that weekend, she was matched with Chris Cacciatore specializing in engineering, Ramona Maurer focusing on marketing, and Laura Gonzalez concentrating on Public Relations. The entire group saw the market need and since then they have continued the path together to turn the concept into a reality.
As part of the Manos Accelerator Spring Cohort, Make My Quince will have access to early-stage capital, mentorship support and resources that will help them build and grow their startup. Many of the team members currently hold a full-time job or have requested a sabbatical to be a part of the 12-week program.
Currently, the website has planning tools, dream board, checklist and a guest list tool. With the help of being a part of the Manos Accelerator, the Make My Quince team is hoping to have the app up by mid-June. They most certainly have designed an app that sets them apart from their competitors that are mainly focusing on expos or only offering some of the planning tools. They want Make My Quince to be a one-stop shop.
“The challenge has been focusing on what features we want on the app,” explained Fatima. Being a part of the Manos Accelerator program has kept them on target. They are out their talking to girls who are planning or recently planned a quinceañera to make sure the app is responsive to their needs.
“Manos is providing access to great network of mentors. They’ve been influential shaping our direction and confirming the problem we are solving with Make My Quince,” said Fatima.
I know we will be hearing more from this promising startup. Be sure to use Make My Quince as a resource for the next time any of your relatives or you are planning a quinceañera. For more information about Make My Quince visit http://www.makemyquince.com/
Linda Castillo is the Founder and Executive Editor of Modern Latina. She writes on topics that empower and inspire Latinas including art, motherhood, green living, culture, travel, and issues transforming the Latino community. Linda has earned a B.S. in Business and a M.S. in Mass Communications from San Jose State University.