Women entrepreneurs are an increasingly powerful and active force in shaping the political and economic Southern California landscape. Despite this, many industries in this country still see men in power positions more often than women. At HipLatina, we want to speak to the women who have managed to excel in tough fields—to celebrate their success, and to ask, on behalf of our readers, how they got where they did despite the odds. To this end, we have interviewed female marketing CEOs, Hollywood stuntwomen, and musicians. Here we bring you Carmen Rad.
In an industry dominated by men, innovative Carmen Rad has had the type of success that Latina women can emulate. Her business, CR&A Custom, Inc. in central Los Angeles, is among only a handful of large-format digital printer and outdoor advertising companies in America that is minority (Hispanic) and woman-owned.
Rad was just in her 20s (with no outside funding and no equity with which to secure a loan) when she used her background in fashion marketing and design to begin producing custom clothing, promotional items, and embroidery work with just herself and two employees.
Today CR&A Custom operates out of a 25,000-square-foot facility in downtown Los Angeles, with approximately 40 full-time employees and annual revenues in the millions of dollars.
Rad’s company has a full-service capability to design, manufacture, print, and install printed commercial signage and outdoor advertising formats, including billboards, building wraps, trade show exhibits, wall/window/floor graphics, point-of-purchase displays, vehicle wraps and fleet graphics, and more. Examples are the oversized posters and banners at the nearby Staples Center arena and the entertainment district L.A. Live and work for major corporations in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Dubai.
Carmen is proud that hers is an eco-friendly firm that has manufactured its first environmentally friendly biodegradable and recyclable banners using equipment and inks to create a fully “green” printing process. Additionally, the company’s lights, equipment, air, and ventilation system are all environmentally friendly.
The firm was awarded the “Green Firm of the Year” award by SBA and MBDLA in 2009, the “2009 Rising Star” by the National Association of Women Business Owners, the “2009 USC Supplier of the Year”, the California Hispanic Chamber’s “2007 Latina Business of the Year” and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s “2007 Manufacturer of the Year.”
Carmen is the new President of the Board of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-LA) for 2014-2015, which represents over 509,000 women-owned businesses in the Los Angeles-Santa Ana-Long Beach metropolitan area that employ over 688,000 people and generate more than $129 billion in annual revenues.
The chapter hosts various seminars, educational workshops, and various networking events to help propel and empower women entrepreneurs into economic, political, and social spheres of leadership. We celebrate Carmen’s leadership and innovation, and urge our readers to pursue their business dreams, no matter the challenges.