You guys already know that I’m the biggest fan of Latina entrepreneurs and this week I have the pleasure of introducing you to Josie Arroyo, the incredible, Puerto Rican entrepreneur who is behind the new face of stationery, office supplies, agendas, and lifestyle accessories. In a world of Hallmark cookie-cutter messages, Bien Cool thrives on breaking the rules of the standard greeting card industry, while also being run by a badass woman.
During her college years, Josie studied advertising and journalism. Bachelors degrees that set her up for amazing opportunities working with different major companies, and defining her goals and business ideas. More importantly, these jobs helped her identify what people liked and how people could become more involved in the things they buy, read, and write. “This wasn’t anything I had planned… my dream wasn’t to make greeting cards or stationery,” she tells HipLatina. But student debt gave her the swift kick in the pants she needed. Due to the high balance of Josie’s student loans, she was always looking for ideas for an extra income to continue paying off her debt.
“I saw a meme on Pinterest. It was in English, but I translated it immediately, but with a more creative copy. I loved it, and I said, ‘I would give this as a card, I wouldn’t send it through text.’” After a trip to a nearby drugstore, she came to notice that there were no cards that fit the vibe she had in mind. Just 24 hours later, she began working alongside a colleague who was a graphic designer to make this idea come true. Word began to spread, and the public endorsed the idea and fell in love with the new concept. Soon enough, Josie’s cards were being distributed in nearly 25 locations, at this point she decided that she was going to continue to pursue Bien Cool as a business.
What started off as a small project between two people is now a business composed of 2 interns, one part-time employee and 2 full-time employees. While keeping the humorous concept, Josie plans to introduce cards with cultural references for our Latino neighbors overseas. “A lot of our cards and items are understandable amongst most of the Hispanic audience, but as one of our strategies for expansion we plan on creating cards for different Spanish-speaking audiences.” The feedback for their stationary (and now planners, pillows, towels and so much more) in different regions has been incredible.
Bien Cool expresses a feeling or a message that is not currently represented through generic stationery, or greeting cards for that matter. Josie has opened the door for Latinos with a spicy flair and seeking something extra that will express their culture, their message, and their personality. Bien Cool continues to grow, expand and reach different generations, and locations with their humorous approach. So, goodbye to old-style greeting cards and hello to colorful, kinky, creative (and very Puerto Rican) cards that speak exactly how you do. Represent!