Marcela Cruz Boutique

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Marcela and Eduardo Cruz are natural entrepreneurs who moved to the United States from Colombia in 1998. More than a decade ago, Eduardo started EMC Home Improvement, a successful home improvement contractor business. Marcela’s entrepreneurial experience started shortly after that of her husband’s. A few years ago she began importing artisanal products from Colombia made by the Wayuu indigenous group when she and her contacts became unable to import similar products from Venezuela. Soon, Marcela sensed an opportunity to expand her business. She began selling products from the Wayuu and other indigenous groups online. In October of 2014, she opened Marcela Cruz Boutique, a women’s accessory boutique, in downtown Kennett Square. The products for sale are handmade in Colombia, and each is unique. The business gives her a platform to share her culture and provides a revenue stream for women in Colombia.

Marcela and Eduardo say that overcoming cultural barriers and finding good information were their biggest business hurdles. Last spring they enrolled in the Kutztown University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Latino Business Resource Center’s eight-week-long, Spanish-language Business Skills for Latino Entrepreneurs class. The class was offered in Kennett Square in collaboration with Chester County SCORE and La Comunidad Hispana. The class covered business plans, finances, marketing, zoning, insurance, and more. Marcela credits the class with opening a window of opportunity that was necessary for their success. After previously considering a physical shop for three years, the class gave them the push that they needed to make that dream a reality. Four months after graduating from the class, they opened their shop.

Marcela has created a full-time job for herself and invested approximately $50,000 to open the boutique. After experiencing strong sales in the first four months, Marcela plans to hire a part-time employee this upcoming winter. She has become an active face in Kennett Square, collaborating with her neighboring shops and donating to the local nonprofit community and a youth center called The Garage. Marcela and Eduardo are continuing to work with the SBDC to pursue additional financing in order to expand Marcela’s business and explore new markets for Eduardo’s EMC Home Improvement.