It’s been three years in the works and today Brittany Chavez is officially launching Shop Latinx, the first e-commerce marketplace for Latinx-owned businesses. In 2016 she began building the company from the ground up feeling a need for Latinx representation in the wake of the presidential election when racist rhetoric and political tensions affected the Latinx community directly. But beyond developing a sense of unity, she also saw an opportunity to tap into the projected $1.7 trillion buying power Latinx in the U.S. have. “I noticed marginalized communities mobilized to create tangible ways of supporting their own — especially economically,” she tells HipLatina.
Shop Latinx gives Latinx direct access to products for and by Latinx, simultaneously empowering Latinx business owners especially Latinas, who own 44 percent of Latinx businesses. With nearly 40k followers on Instagram and #shoplatinx used more than 50k times even before its launch, it’s clear there are consumers eagerly awaiting what Chavez has put together. With such a strong social media following, she initially launched the first U.S. small Latinx business directory with 900 registered businesses in 2017 because she says she searched for anything — even a listicle — and couldn’t find any for Latinx brands. In the past three years, she’s hosted business workshops, hosted mercados and built relationships with consumers and businesses to establish herself in the business world. The 28-year-old Guatemalan and Nicaraguan entrepreneur studied journalism before dropping out and worked as a rideshare driver and nanny while building Shop Latinx into what it is now. As someone who dreams big and knows about the hustle, she initially announced the marketplace would launch with 70 Latinx brands. She soon realized it was better to start small in order to conduct research, conduct development, and take in customer feedback. As a result, she decided on seven established Latinx brands.
“These are seven companies that really set the bar when it comes to branding, marketing, product sales, pricing product volume, and quality. [All] are brands I look up to because of the intention they put into everything they make,” Chavez says. “That’s what I want Shop Latinx to be known for: Beautiful, culturally relevant, one-of-a-kind products that just so happen to be made by Latinx.”
The dream hasn’t come without challenges, namely lack of finances and stability and she worked round the clock to build the marketplace from the ground up. As a founder of color, she also mentioned the lack of access to resources saying she had to go out of her way to find guidance because it’s “not marketed to us.” She joined an accelerator program based in Los Angeles called Grid 110 and worked with Sergio Villasenor, the founder of web platform Elliot (which hosts Shop Latinx) and she says that’s how she was able to put together the marketplace and ready it for launch time.
She’s also giving back to fellow entrepreneurs of color through Las Jefas Crew, a group she established with Julissa Prado of Rizos Curls and Patty Delgado of Hija de tu Madre. The trio provides resources and host workshops to educate business owners and provide the guidance they lacked as they build their own brands. “Each of us have respectively self-funded our own brands that have generated impact in the Latinx community, and we want to teach underrepresented founders that with the right tools, they can too. Las Jefas Crew is our way of bringing accessibility of education that is designed with women like us in mind,” she adds.
Chavez says Shop Latinx customers can expect a seamless checkout process, quality and culturally resonant products, and more announcements in 2020. As three years of hard work finally come together, she’s grateful for taking the risk despite her uncertainty. “These past three years have been worth it, and I’m just so excited about all the future possibilities of Shop Latinx,” she says.
Shop Latinx officially launches, Wednesday, November 20. Read on to discover the Latinx brands featured on Shop Latinx and learn more about what each business provides.