“You have to fall in love with the problem, more so than the solution”: Marcela Falquez, Co-founder of ID Social

Social entrepreneurship or social ventures are businesses of which its main goal is to create sustainable social value. This kind of business model is transforming the traditional way the world does business into a more socially responsible one. Mohammad Yunus is the greatest representative of social entrepreneurship in the world; however, it is the generation of the so-called millennials the one setting the pace into this new admirable trend.

The Entrepreneurial Series of this week is dedicated to Colombian social venture, ID Social, which was recently selected to participate in the Young Leaders of the Americas Iniciative (YLAI) as recognition of its leadership capacity to contribute to the economic and social development of society.

ID Social was co-founded in 2014 by Marcela Falquez and Julio Mario de León, who are both Colombian alumni of Universidad de los Andes.

This is the story of how ID Social was born, as told by its CEO and co-funder Marcela Falquez.

Stephlacouture: What is ID Social?

Marce Falquez: ID Social is a non-profit organization created once we identified the need from NGO´s and social programs of accessing corporate and business tools, in order to properly develop their businesses or projects.

We identified an opportunity to transfer tools from the business world to the social world and vice versa, seeking to create a transformation in our communities by supporting social ventures that promote economic, social and environmentally friendly results. Our goal is that with our support, these ventures stop depending on donations, seek self-sustaining income generation, and continue to have an impact on society.

ID Social impacts non-profit entities, entrepreneurs, and companies in the sense that it promotes a new way of working, by closing the gap between a traditional business, which focused solely on income generation, and a traditional social project that just depends on donations and philanthropy.

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Stephlacouture: What products/services do you offer?

MF: Project structuring: Project structuring and design to generate impact and develop a sustainable and coherent business model.

Project management and operation: Focused on organizations that seek to outsource project management and implementation solutions.

Managerial support: Training services designed specifically for non-profits and entrepreneurs, on business and corporate themes, aimed at institutional strengthening.

Stephlacouture: What drove you to found a social business and why is it worth it?

MF: It was our love for volunteer work and our passion for service. Both Julio and I had jobs in the real sector and in the financial and public sectors respectively. But we never really felt satisfied with our jobs. Instead, we loved to do volunteer work and that is how we realized that it was what we really wanted to do. Then, we started reading about professor Muhammad Yunus and the work that he did, and realized that there were actual opportunities to work for a better world and to create social good in the process. That is how we decided to become social entrepreneurs. It was never an option for us to launch a traditional business.

Stephlacouture: What was one of your major achievements and why is it so?

MF: One of our greatest achievements was to be selected among the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative, YLAI, of the U.S. State Department. It was an incredible opportunity to gain knowledge, validate our business model, explore new ways to grow and scale ID Social, and generate an international network of fellows. There were more than 4.000 applications and only 250 were selected, from all Latin America and the Caribbean, to be in a 6-week full paid program in the U.S.

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Stephlacouture: What has been one of the mayor difficulties you have faced and how did you overcome it?

MF: The most difficult thing we have faced in this entrepreneurial journey is getting that first client. We couldn’t figure out how to show what we wanted to achieve with ID Social, and why it was worth paying for. After several months of hard work, we identified that partnering with a more experienced organization would increase our possibilities, and so we did: we built a strategic partnership with Centro RS, an experienced organization that promotes and encourages Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability initiatives in Colombia. Once we had this partnership solid and strong, we immediately showed our potential customers that our proposal was worth it, and so we closed our first deal.

Stephlacouture: What would you advice someone who wants to start its own social business?

MF: I would suggest the same advice that was given to us in the program that I was just part of in the U.S., “you have to fall in love with the problem, more so than the solution”. One must keep in mind which is the problem you are trying to solve, why this problem is relevant for society, and what skills or knowledge you have to propose the solutions.

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Stephlacouture: What role has social media played in the success of your business, if any?     

MF: Social media has played an interesting role in ID Social, especially regarding brand positioning and communication of the projects we work with. Through social media we manage to get to people outside of our inmediate network. It is very gratifying when people know our brand and what we promote, before we have even met them!

Stephlacouture: How can we contact ID Social?

MF: Contact us at contacto@idsocial.co, or through social media:

Facebook: IDSocialCO / Instagram: idsocial / Twitter: IDSocialCO.

 

“Es necesario enamorarse del problema, más que de la solución”: Marcela Falquez, Cofundadora de ID Social

Los social ventures o emprendimientos sociales, son empresas cuyo principal objetivo es generar valor social con sostenibilidad. Este tipo de modelo está transformando el mundo de los negocios hacia un enfoque más solidario con la sociedad en donde se desarrollan. Si bien su gran representante es el Nobel de Paz Mohammad Yunus, es la generación de los llamados millenials la que está marcando la tendencia en esta forma de emprendimiento.

Por lo anterior, el Entrepreneurial Series de esta semana está dedicado a ID Social. Un emprendimiento social colombiano que con su participación en el programa Young Leaders of the Americas Iniciative (YLAI) este año, fue reconocida por el Gobierno de Estados Unidos como líder con capacidad de contribuir al desarrollo económico y social de su país.

ID Social fue creada en 2014 por Marcela Falquez y Julio Mario de León, ambos jóvenes ingenieros colombianos de la Universidad de los Andes.

A continuación les cuento la experiencia de creación de ID Social, en palabras de su Directora Ejecutiva y Co-fundadora, Marcela Falquez.

Stephlacouture: ¿Qué es ID Social?

Marce Falquez: ID Social es una entidad sin ánimo de lucro que surgió luego de que identificáramos la necesidad por parte de fundaciones y proyectos sociales de conocer e implementar herramientas corporativas y empresariales para llevar sus programas y proyectos a un feliz término.

Vimos la oportunidad de transferir herramientas del mundo empresarial al mundo social y viceversa, buscando generar transformación en nuestro entorno, logrando resultados con un triple enfoque: económico, social y ambiental. La meta es que las organizaciones sociales que apoyamos dejen de depender de donaciones, se vuelvan auto-sostenibles, y sigan generando impacto en la sociedad.

ID Social impacta a la comunidad de entidades sin ánimo de lucro, emprendedores y la empresa privada ayudándolos, a cerrar la brecha existente entre un negocio tradicional, enfocado solamente en generar ingresos, y un proyecto social tradicional, que sólo depende de donaciones y filantropía.

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Stephlacouture: ¿Qué servicios y/o productos ofrece ID Social?

MF: Estructuración de proyectos: Estructuración y diseño de proyectos que buscan generar impacto y tener un modelo de rentabilidad sostenible y coherente.

Gerencia y operación de proyectos: Servicio enfocado en organizaciones que deseen tercerizar la gestión y operación de proyectos para su correcta implementación.

Acompañamiento en la gestión: servicio enfocado en organizaciones que buscan acompañamiento y asesoría de alto nivel en temas empresariales para su fortalecimiento institucional.

Stephlacouture: ¿Qué los motivó a crear una empresa social y por qué vale la pena?

MF: Nos motivó nuestras ganas de hacer voluntariado y la pasión por el servicio. Yo trabajaba en el sector financiero y en el sector público y Julio en el sector real. Sin embargo, nos sentíamos frustrados por nuestro trabajo, sentíamos que no nos llenaba. Cada uno por su cuenta estaba haciendo voluntariado en distintas fundaciones. Con frecuencia, nos entusiasmaba más el “trabajo gratis” que hacíamos que nuestros trabajos reales. Luego empezamos a leer sobre el profesor Muhammad Yunus y vimos que existía una verdadera opción de cambiar el mundo y generar impacto social en el intento. Es así como decidimos emprender y crear un negocio social. Nunca lo concebimos como negocio tradicional porque para nosotros no tenía sentido algo distinto. Lo vimos como un tema de competitividad a futuro, ya que cada vez más los consumidores están demandando negocios económica, social y ambientalmente sostenibles.

Stephlacouture: ¿Cuál ha sido uno de los mayores logros en tu proceso de emprendimiento y por qué lo consideras como tal.

MF: Uno de los mayores logros fue haber sido seleccionados dentro del programa Jóvenes Líderes de las Américas, YLAI por sus siglas en inglés, del Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos, puesto que fue una oportunidad increíble para aprender, validar nuestro modelo de negocio, explorar nuevas formas para escalar y crecer ID Social, y generar una red internacional. Hubo más de 4.000 jóvenes que aplicaron, y seleccionaron 250 de toda Latinoamérica y el Caribe, para estar en un programa todo pago durante 6 semanas en los Estados Unidos.

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Stephlacouture: ¿Cuál ha sido una de las mayores dificultades por las que tu emprendimiento ha atravesado y cómo la superaste.

MF: La mayor dificultad sin duda fue conseguir el primer cliente. Al principio no sabíamos cómo mostrar que la propuesta de ID Social valía la pena y que pagaran por nuestros servicios. Luego de varios meses de arduo trabajo, decidimos que para potenciar nuestras posibilidades, debíamos crear una alianza estratégica y eso fue lo que hicimos: forjamos una alianza con el Centro RS, una entidad que promueve iniciativas de responsabilidad social y sostenibilidad en el país, con varios años de trayectoria. Al contar con este respaldo, inmediatamente logramos mostrar a los potenciales clientes que nuestra propuesta de valor hacía sentido. Así logramos concretar nuestra primera venta.

Stephlacouture: ¿Qué le aconsejarías a alguien que quisiera empezar su propia empresa social?

MF: Le aconsejaría lo mismo que nos dijeron en una conferencia en el programa que acabo de llegar de EEUU, “es necesario enamorarse del problema, más que de la solución”. Uno debe tener presente cuál es el problema que busca resolver, por qué este problema es relevante para la sociedad y qué habilidades o conocimientos tiene uno para proponer soluciones.

Stephlacouture: ¿Qué papel han jugado las redes sociales en el desarrollo de tu empresa?

MF: Las redes sociales han jugado un papel interesante, sobretodo en el posicionamiento de la marca y en la comunicación del tipo de proyectos que hacemos. Hemos identificado que por medio de las redes sociales logramos llegar a poblaciones por fuera de nuestro circulo inmediato de conocidos, y es algo muy gratificante. A veces llegamos a eventos y nos presentamos y ya conocen la marca, esto es algo sumamente emocionante!

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Stephlacouture: ¿Aspiran a trabajar con clientes extranjeros?

MF: Sí. A raíz del programa YLAI pudimos identificar que nuestros servicios son necesarios en varios países de America Latina. Estamos en proceso de diseñar productos y servicios para este tipo de emprendedores y organizaciones y poder llegar a un mercado extranjero.

Stephlacouture: ¿Cómo se puede contactar a ID Social?

MF: Escribirnos al correo de contacto, contacto@idsocial.co o a través de nuestras redes sociales: Facebook: IDSocialCO / Instagram: idsocial / Twitter: IDSocialCO.

¨No se puede tirar la toalla¨: Clara Botero, creadora de The Pops Factory

Bienvenidos a la segunda entrada de Entrepreneurial Series. La historia de hoy es sobre The Pops Factory, marca creada por Clara Botero Fitzgerald, y cuyo producto son bombones o paletas de pastel cubiertas con chocolate, mejor conocidas como ¨Cake Pops¨.

Invité a Clara a que nos contara la historia del nacimiento y evolución de su empresa, The Pops Factory, pues es un gran ejemplo de cómo los momentos difíciles de nuestras vidas se pueden convertir en oportunidades para crear, crecer y explotar lo mejor de nosotros mismos.

Aquí les comparto la historia de The Pops Factory en palabras de su creadora.

“Un estomago hambriento, un monedero vacío y un corazón roto enseñan las mejores lecciones de vida”. Tal vez no hay nada que describa mejor el impulso para crear The Pops Factory que ésta quote.

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Si han escuchado la historia de la famosa blogger británica que revolucionó las redes sociales a comienzos de este año, Katy Colins, sabrán que quien era su fiancé, terminó su relación faltando apenas unas semanas para su boda. Ella tomó la decisión de vender su casa, su vestido de novia, dejar su trabajo y recorrer el mundo tratando de huir de la mirada inquisidora de familiares, amigos y sus propios vecinos. Muchos la catalogan como ¨arriesgada¨, para mi, fue la inspiración perfecta.

Así empieza esta historia, con el mismo detonante que motivó a Colins a viajar por el mundo! Yo no vendí mi casa, pero traté de vender mi anillo de compromiso y créanlo, no me daban ni USD200 por el. Entiendo la actitud de Colins de huir ante los comentarios inoportunos de la gente diciendo: ¨Qué mal! Lo siento mucho¨. Me disculpan queridos lectores, pero para mi, Katy y yo nos salvamos de algo, ¿No creen?

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Este fue “mi wake up call”. Después de que mi fiancé, con el que duré 3 años y con el que construí muchos planes de vida terminara nuestra relación, yo preferí crear. Así nació The Pops Factory.

The Pops Factory empezó como un proceso para reconocerme, para estar ocupada, para darme un espaldarazo, para tener unos dólares extra mientras hacía mi maestría en Montreal y de paso, como una excusa para comer chocolate sin remordimiento. Por ahí dicen que el chocolate aumenta las endorfinas, activa el ánimo y la vitalidad. Precisamente lo que yo necesitaba!

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La idea surgió de mi amor por el chocolate, es casi una adicción! Además, la repostería es algo innato en mí. Sin embargo, cuando decidí crear mi empresa, me capacité con cursos sobre el manejo del chocolate y sobre decoración, todo con el objetivo de ofrecer el mejor producto posible. Pero no todo ha sido fácil. Emprender requiere mucho esfuerzo. En mi caso, lo más difícil ha sido posicionar el producto.

Hay mucha competencia en el mercado, pero la idea es buscar la manera en la que nuestros Cake Pops atraigan a la gente a través de un elemento diferenciador; sabores, empaques, decoración o servicio al cliente. Este último es particularmente importante y en The Pops Factory tratamos de dar respuesta inmediata a cualquier sugerencia o solicitud de quienes compran nuestro producto.

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Por más difícil que sea empezar un emprendimiento, son los grandes pequeños logros los que te hacen querer seguir adelante. Para mi ese primer momento fue cuando participé con un stand en el Gran Premio de la Fórmula 1 en Montreal. Tal vez porque hubo personas que me compraron el primer día y regresaron los días siguientes a comprar más, lo cual indicaba que les había gustado mi producto.

The Pops Factory me ha dejado muchas lecciones, pero sobre todo a nunca darme por vencida, o como decimos en Colombia, a nunca ¨tirar la toalla¨. Es un emprendimiento que lleva muy poco. Hay temporadas buenas durante las cuales las ventas crecen, como ahora en navidad, otras no lo son tanto. Pero sin importar el momento, siempre estamos tratando de mejorar. Yo, por ejemplo, siempre le pregunto al cliente su opinión sobre el producto y pido sugerencias de mejora. También he aprendido a reconocer la importancia del marketing, sobre todo a través de las redes sociales. Es muy importante no ahorrar en esfuerzos para posicionar el producto, lo cual se traduce en aumento de clientes.

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Con el tiempo, The Pops Factory se convirtió en una herramienta para esparcir alegría. Ese es el propósito principal de mi emprendimiento que nace en marzo del 2016 en Montreal, Canadá y que ahora ha llegado a Colombia para quedarse.

Los invito a seguirnos en Instagram y Facebook: “The Pops Factory”.

¨Never let fear get in the way of reaching your goal¨: Enzo Treats Owner and CEO.

Welcome to the first post of our new section: Entrepreneurial Series!

This first post is about Enzo Treats, a brand that is setting the pace in the goods and services business exclusively for pets in Colombia and that was created by my dear friend Maria Cristina Romero de Zubiría.

In this interview, she tells us about the process of creating Enzo Treats and what it has meant for her to become an entrepreneur.

I hope you guys enjoy it and find some inspiration for your own journey as entrepreneurs.

StephLacouture: What is Enzo Treats? Maria Cristina: We are a creative bakery, with healthy and delicious treats for pets.enzo-treats-logo

SL: What products does Enzo Treats offer? MC: We offer a special and delicious menu exclusively for dogs that include burgers, pizzas, cupcakes with yogurt, and cookies, among others. Soon we will get sushi for the doggies.

Apart from the bakery we also have some amazing dog feeders. Our clients can choose from different colors and we hand them marked with the name of the dog or cat.

We are also close to launching our line of Bully Sticks for pets, ideal for them to bite, play, and clean their little teeth.

SL: Where did the idea of starting this business come from? MC: It was created due to the need of finding healthy snacks for my best and flurry friend, Enzo. A few years ago he started having problems with his colon and that forced our family to radically change his diet and search for healthier recipes; low-fat and at the same time, delicious for him. So after doing some research, I start finding recipes that I could personally make especially for Enzo and he ended up loving them.

SL: How did you realize that your need had a potential for a business? MC: I am a salesperson by nature. When I see an interesting product I start thinking what its impact could be in society and if it would be easy to sell.

When I started making the treats for Enzo, I wanted them to be eye-catching and that motivated me to think of a way to do innovative products.

At the time of making the treats I had the spark suitable to engineer different products. I wanted to prepare flashy and delicious food, just as what us humans, get to order in restaurants or bakeries. Although in our communities pets are an important element of our families, we are used to giving them dry dog food, three times a day. Can you imagine how boring it would be for us to eat cookies every day, three times a day?

Many friends that had puppies started asking me for those treats I gave to Enzo and after seeing such a great acceptance I converted it into my business.

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SL: What has been the hardest part of making your brand succeed? MC: Being an entrepreneur can be risky, but if you want to do it, you have to go for it. We have had good and not so good periods of time, but I always stick to the vision of what I want to achieve, and even though many obstacles have and may continue to appear on the way, I am confident that we will surpass them. It is ok to fall, but it is a must to emerge victorious from that fall.

The process of creating and transforming the products has been the most difficult for me as the creator of the brand, Enzo Treats. I am a very fast-paced person; sometimes I wish I could close my eyes, and then open them and have my ideas already tangible in front of me, magically turned into a product. But it is not so, everything requires a few steps and thanks to this I have learned to be patient.

SL: Have you ever had to sacrifice anything for your business to succeed? MC: Yes. There were lots of sacrifices in terms of time and money. There were times in which I couldn’t by this shirt or those pair of shoes that I wanted, because I needed the money to invest it in my business. And sometimes, I would have wanted to travel to my hometown to see my family, but I had to stay in Bogota to take care of the store or to prepare and order that had to be delivered.

Sacrifice is an important part of the process and it is necessary in order to value things and maintain a clear vision of what you want to achieve with the company. And it has certainly been worth it. I am happy doing what I do, there is not a single day when the tedious word “work” replaces the passion for what I do. 

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SL: What role has social media played en the success of your business, if any? MC: Social media has played a leading role. It has provided me with the opportunity to speak directly to my clients, to get to know them, to be in their lives even if it’s through a comment or a ¨like¨. Social media also allows me to benchmark the market in terms of products, ideas, advertising, and customer management. Social media has been excellent business tool.

SL: To what do you attribute your success? MC: First, to the support of my family: I have a beautiful husband who has always believed in this dream and has gone hand in hand with me all the way. I am a creative and a dreamer, and he is my reality check, who helps me ground all the ideas I have in my head.

Second, to my persistence: I am not a person who gives up easily. When I have a goal or I really want something I fight for it day and night.

And third, to the passion and love that I feel for what I do: I firmly believe that when you love what you do, that love is passed on to both your clients and the people who work with you.

 SL: What has been the greatest lesson that you have learnt in your entrepreneurial process?

MC: Without a doubt, I have learned to be persistent. In this process there will be many “no”, but it is only up to me if I let it distract me from my goal. I try not to let myself fall, I firmly believe in our business, and I have absolute clarity of where I want it to be in 10 years. That conviction is what makes me fight passionately for what I want. 

SL: What was your first big achievement? MC: That now people recognize the brand with excitement. I will never forget a day when we only had 4 months out in the market, I was in a park in Bogotá selling treats in our #EnzoFerrari and a group of people passed and said: “¡Hey! That’s the cart of Enzo Treats, they have nice things.” That day and that feeling have been one of the great achievements of Enzo Treats. We have also been on national TV and have had great reception from the public.

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SL: What would be your advice to anyone who has entrepreneurial aspirations? MC: To all who take this incredible path of entrepreneurship, I tell you to never let fear get in the way of reaching your goal. Fear is what hinders things the most. Design your business idea always faithful to what you believe but be always humble to accept suggestions for growth. There will always be hard times when you will want to shut down your dream, but it is right there, in that moment of doubt, where we draw all our inner strength and fight as warriors for what makes us happy.

You can find us on Instagram as @enzotreats. We deliver nationally in Colombia and you can reach us at (57)3173663839.

¨No se dejen dominar por el miedo¨: Ma. Cristina Romero, creadora de Enzo Treats.

Bienvenidos a la primera entrada de Entrepreneurial Series!

En esta entrada, les contaremos un poco sobre Enzo Treats, marca creada por mi querida amiga, Maria Cristina Romero De Zubiría y que está marcando tendencia en el sector de bienes y servicios para mascotas en Colombia. Enzo Treats empezó en el año 2015 y en poco tiempo y en asocio con otros apasionados por las mascotas, montó su tienda Bark Mall, en donde se pueden encontrar todos sus productos, en la ciudad de Bogotá (Colombia).

En la entrevista que le hice a Maria Cristina, nos cuenta un poco sobre cómo ha sido su proceso de emprendimiento y cómo su amor por las mascotas, la llevó a crear su propio negocio.

Disfrútenlo!

StephLacouture: ¿Qué es Enzo Treats? Maria Cristina: Somos una pastelería creativa, saludable y deliciosa para las mascotas.

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SL: ¿Qué servicios o productos ofrece Enzo Treats? MC: Ofrecemos un menú especial, delicioso y exclusivo para los perritos que incluye hamburguesas, pizzas, cupcakes con crema de yogur y galletas, entre otros. Pronto sacaremos sushi para perritos.

Aparte de toda la pastelería manejamos una línea de comederos personalizados divinos. El cliente lo puede pedir con los colores que quiera y se lo entregamos marcado con el nombre del peludo o gatuno.

Estamos próximos también a lanzar nuestra línea de Bully Sticks para mascotas, ideales para que muerdan, jueguen y limpien sus dientecitos.

SL: ¿De dónde surgió la idea de crear Enzo Treats? MC: Nació de la necesidad de encontrar snacks saludables para mi Enzo. Hace algunos años empezó a sufrir del colón lo que nos forzó a cambiar completamente su dieta buscando recetas saludables, bajas en grasa y a la vez deliciosas para él.

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SL: ¿Cómo te diste cuenta de que lo que te apasionaba se podría convertir en un negocio? MC: Siempre he sido una vendedora por naturaleza. Cuando veo un producto interesante empiezo a pensar en su impacto en la sociedad y si se vendería bien.

Al momento de hacer los treats de Enzo contaba con la chispa adecuada para ingeniarme productos diferentes. Siempre quería que lo que él comiera fuera súper llamativo y, por qué no, parecido a los manjares humanos que vemos en los restaurantes o pastelerías. A pesar de que ellos son los reyes de la casa, estamos acostumbrados a darles concentrado tres veces al día. Imagínate lo aburrido que sería comer galleticas todos los días, tres veces al día!

Cuando mis amigas vieron lo que yo preparaba para Enzo, muchas de ellas me los empezaron a pedir para sus perritos y al ver esa aceptación inicié el negocio.

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SL: ¿Qué ha sido lo más difícil? MC: Emprender es un riesgo, pero es parte del proceso y hay que vivirlo. Hemos tenido meses buenos y otros no tanto. Pero aun así, siempre he tratado de mantener la visión de lo que quiero lograr y por más tropiezos que se nos hayan presentado, siempre nos hemos levantado. Es importante caerse, pero aún más, salir victorioso de esa caída.

El proceso de creación y evolución de productos ha sido lo más difícil para mí como creadora de Enzo Treats. Soy una persona muy acelerada; a veces quisiera cerrar los ojos, abrirlos y tener la idea enfrente, como producto final. Pero no es así, todo requiere unos pasos y gracias a esto he aprendido a ser muy paciente.

SL: ¿Qué has tenido que sacrificar en el proceso de crear tu empresa? MC: Muchas cosas, pero sobre todo tiempo y dinero. Muchas veces quise irme de compras, pero tuve que sacrificar esas ganas por el dinero que tenía que invertir en mi empresa. En otras ocasiones quería viajar a Barranquilla, mi ciudad natal, pero no podía porque debía estar pendiente de la tienda o preparar un pedido que debía entregar.

El sacrificio es parte importante del proceso y es necesario para valorar las cosas y mantener una visión clara de lo que quieres lograr con la empresa. Pero para mi, todo sacrificio ha valido la pena. Soy feliz haciendo lo que hago, no hay un solo día en que la palabra tediosa “trabajo” remplace la pasión por lo que hago. 

SL: ¿Qué papel han jugado las redes sociales en el éxito del negocio? MC: Un papel casi protagónico. Es la oportunidad que tengo día a día para hablarle a mis clientes, para conocerlos, para estar en sus vidas así sea por medio de un comentario o un ¨me gusta¨. También me permiten hacer benchmarking del mercado en cuanto a productos, ideas, publicidad y manejo de clientes. Las redes sociales son una excelente herramienta de negocio.

SL: ¿A qué le atribuyes tu éxito? MC: Lo más importante, es el apoyo de mi familia. Tengo un esposo hermoso que siempre ha creído en este sueño y ha ido de la mano conmigo en todo este camino. Soy una persona creativa y soñadora y él es mi polo a tierra, quien me ayuda a aterrizar todas las locuras que tengo en mi cabeza.

Luego, a mi persistencia. Aprendí a no rendirme fácilmente. Cuando tengo una meta o de verdad quiero algo lucho por eso día y noche.

Y tercero, al amor que siento por lo que hago. Creo firmemente que cuando amas lo que haces eso se transmite tanto a los clientes como a las personas que trabajan contigo.

Sl: ¿Qué ha sido lo más importante que has aprendido en el proceso de emprendimiento? MC: Sin duda a ser persistente. En este proceso van a existir muchos “no”, pero solo de ti depende si ese no afecta el camino. Nunca me dejo caer, creo firmemente en la idea del negocio, tengo claridad absoluta de lo que quiero en unos 10 años para la empresa. Y esa convicción que siento me hace luchar apasionadamente por lo que quiero.

SL: ¿Qué le dirías a alguien que sueña con tener su propio negocio? MC: A todos los que toman este increíble camino del emprendimiento, les digo que no se dejen dominar por el miedo, el miedo es lo que entorpece las cosas. Diseñen su idea de negocio siempre fieles a lo que creen pero siempre con humildad para aceptar sugerencias que los ayuden a crecer. Siempre van a existir momentos duros en donde quisieran dejar las cosas a un lado, pero ahí en ese momento difícil es cuando debemos sacar toda nuestra fuerza interior y luchar como guerreros por lo que nos hace felices.

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SL: ¿Cuál fue tu primer gran logro desde que empezó Enzo Treats? MC: Que la gente sonría con mi producto y reconozca la marca. Nunca voy a olvidar que cuando teníamos 4 meses en el mercado, estaba en el Parque Virrey en Bogotá vendiendo los treats en el #EnzoFerrari y pasaron un grupo de personas y dijeron: “¡Ay! Ese es el carrito de Enzo Treats, tienen cosas divinas”. Ese momento lo sentí como uno de los grandes logros de Enzo Treats. Además hemos salido en TV nacional y la recepción del público ha sido muy positiva.

Nos encuentran en Instagram como @enzotreats. Hacemos envíos a toda Colombia. 3173663839

My Go-To Burger Place in Polanco, Mexico City

Found it!! Yes, found it! My go-to burger place in Polanco.

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Since arriving in Mexico City, I have been missing burgers like crazy. Yes, because when I was in Bogotá I used to go to this famous burger place, El Corral, at least once a week for my weekly dose of burger and French fries. The cashier lady already recognized me and always knew what I would order.

Well, I wanted to find that same lunch/dining experience here en Mexico. I went to different burger places, but none of them really quite feel like home to me, until I visited Partners and Brothers.

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In the trendiest location in Polanco, it first caught my eye for its wide-open terrace and live modern music that could be heard from outside. So my boyfriend and I decided to give it a try. At the door, a hostess with a kind smile greeted us. She took into this rustic nice place and seated us in a table full of details.

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Immediately an even kinder waiter came along and showed us and walked us through a menu full of options… yes, because to my surprise, even though this place calls itself a burger lab, it also offers chicken wings, sandwiches, hot dogs, salads, healthy burgers, and different kinds of drinks. So pretty much it has an option for any taste.

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I ordered a regular burger. It tasted a bit different from what I am used to, and when I say ¨different¨, I mean it as in ¨good¨ different. The chef explained to me that what makes their burgers special is that each element used in the making of a burger is made by them or their suppliers from scratch using their very own recipe, in addition to the fact that their meat is cooked in a Peruvian cylinder (read that as ¨oven¨), which gives it a very particular flavor.

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Well, I also had the salty delicious French fries, which, along with a milkshake, are my greatest weakness. BTW, the best vanilla milkshake that I have tried in the city I found it right here in Partners and Brothers.

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They have different flavors, but I am old school and always go for vanilla. My boyfriend ordered a different one though, he had the Jack Daniels and vanilla milkshake… sooo good too!

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After that first experience, we have gone back and we are always greeted with a big smile and pleasure from the staff, that always make sure that we are very well taken care of.

Travel Guide to New Orleans, USA

New Orleans… check! I am so, so excited to be writing this post. New Orleans, Louisiana, is a city that had been in my bucket list for a long time, topping the list in the top three cities I wanted to visit in the United States. So when actually going seemed like a real opportunity I booked us a hotel immediately.

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NOLA or the Crescent City, how it is also known, has a wide hotel offer in all of the different districts that make up the city, but for tourists, I would without a doubt recommend to book a hotel where the real action and magic of NOLA takes place, the French Quarter or Le Vieux Carré. We stayed at the Bourbon Orleans, a nice hotel located on Bourbon St. and Orleans St., just in front the Cathedral, a block away from Jackson Square, and a 6-minutes walk away from Canal St. I really don’t think there is anything with a more convenient location than that.

Our first day of the trip had to start with the obvious: breakfast at Café Du Monde – because you can’t visit NOLA if you don’t indulge yourself with an order of beignets and a hot chocolate, right?

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I have to say that my boyfriend was the most excited with this stop… he has a sweet tooth, so this was the perfect way to start out our visit for him. We were lucky because we found a table right away, so if you just cant find one, just order it to go and go to Jackson Square to enjoy them.

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If you do find a table, once you finish, still go to Jackson Square and admire the cute gardens with a view to the old and beautiful St. Louis Cathedral.

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Depending on the time of the day, you would find many bands playing the beloved New Orleans jazz on Chartres St. just between Jackson Square and the Cathedral. It is so worth it to sit around for a while and just listen to these musicians! I very much enjoyed it.

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Since you are around, please go and take a walk along the Mississippi river riverfront.

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Surprise! You will find more live music there, so just relax…

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Sit on one of the benches, enjoy the breeze, admire the view, and listen to the great music. If you are lucky, like me, you can get some of the musicians to sing a song especially for you!

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Walk a little more around the area… visit the French Market; admire the beautiful and famous balconies all around the neighborhood. You will keep finding music almost in every corner, which makes it a very pleasant walk.

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Now you may want to head southwest to the modern Warehouse/Arts district… or so we did. Take Bourbon St. – so you can see its daylight energy. Once you cross Canal St. it is as if you were in a totally different city.

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You will find a mix between new and well-kept high buildings and old warehouses turned into parking lots, art galleries, or hotels. We decided to go and have lunch at Emeril´s. It is a high-end restaurant located in the Warehouse District. I very much recommend it… from the service to the food, everything was great, but if you had to order only one dish, make it the iron baked escargots. Delicious!

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At this point the sun and the hot are cruel, so going to the Audubon Aquarium or to the WWII National Museum would be a great idea.

On Friday night, we did my favorite activity of the whole trip. We went to the Irvin Mayfield´s Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta hotel. This playhouse came up from the association between Grammy-winner, Irvin Mayfield and the Hotel, which resulted in a place with great food and awesome music. The band is fantastic; they play beautiful music while constantly involving the audience. I would totally go back and fully recommend it.

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To get there, walk along Bourbon St. In you way to or from the Playhouse, you can just stop in one of the bars and have a drink or stop below one of the balconies and wait for a necklace to be thrown at you – if some stranger hasn’t put one on you just yet – or even despite some stranger putting one on you already.

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The next day we decided to go to the Garden District. To keep living the New Orleans experience, we took the Trolley to take us there. The Garden District is famous for its well-preserved mansions from the nineteenth century. History has it, that the rich Americans that came to live in New Orleans and did not want to mix with the creoles or African-Americans living in the French Quarter constructed their mansions in this neighborhood. The place is cute and impressive. It is full of huge houses, each with a different bright color, many of them with big gardens.

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Fun fact: Beyoncé has one of its own houses located in this neighborhood.

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If you are starving – I mean, starving – and like the typical American breakfast, I recommend you go to Coulis in the Garden District… the orders are huge. I particularly liked the ultimate French Toasts.

Are you done admiring the mansions?

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Good… take the trolley again and go further down to Audubon. Hop off at Loyola University and then, if you walk a couple of steps further you will be at Tulane University campus, so walk around and see two of the best known universities in the USA. And just across the street you will find the Audubon Park and Zoo. Beautiful, beautiful park…

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You can walk around for a while, but if you are too tired, you can just sit next to one of the fountains or lakes and rest for a little while.

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I personally was very distracted with a bunch of children running like crazy after Pokémon’s, which was kind of fun.

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Audubon Park is beautiful, but the New Orleans City Park is also a must. Since it is in the other side of town, we rented a four-hours bike ride and went riding along the city park and some other areas of New Orleans that we had not had the chance to see so far.

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However, I definitely recommend you take this time to also go through Frenchmen St. in the French Quarter. It has a little more heavy environment that the rest of the city, but if you enjoy every type of music, you just have to go there.

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During our second day, we dined at one of the best restaurants that I have ever tried: Coquette, on Magazine St. A relatively new restaurant with local and European fusion flavors and that is constantly changing its menu.

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I didn’t find this restaurant in any travel guide around the web, but I am so glad a followed a friend´s recommendation and went there. Kudos to the bartenders! They were so kind and professional.

On our third day, we booked ourselves a tour along the Mississippi river in the Louisiana famous Natchez steamboat. Very cool experience.

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During the ride, we got to see part of the area that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and got a thorough explanation of how such catastrophe happened due to a levee failure. It was very informative about the US and Louisiana economy too.

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Of course, there is also time and space to do some shopping… so if you still have energy, go to one of the shopping malls or outlets that are between the French Quarter and the Warehouse/Arts District… you can get there by walking by the riverfront… options are limited, but you may still find something.

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Finally, we finished our New Orleans feast at an awesome fast food place called Dat Dog. Hot dogs however you want them… isn’t that awesome? Great place and a very cool environment.

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There are so many other things to do in New Orleans… like to take one of the Cemetery or Voodoo Tours, which was on our plans, but I am too much of a coward, so I backed down from those. I had also planned to go to one of the sugar plantations in the state of Louisiana, but… my bad! I should have reserved ahead of time.

Let me know how was your experience in this great, colorful, and mysterious city!

Shopping Travel Guide – Polanco, Mexico City

Hey guys,

So this is my second and final post on my ¨good-bye Polanco¨ series.

Many of the visitors we have had during our stay in Mexico, always asks us where they can do some shopping. Well, there are plenty, plenty, plenty of places to go shopping in Mexico City, but as it happens, Polanco is home to the most exclusive (and expensive) shopping street in Mexico: Masaryk.

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Masaryk

Along Masaryk street, shoppers can find many of the most exclusive brands, such as Dolce and Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, Cartier, and Tiffany & Co, as well as some that are more accessible like Scotch and Soda, John Varvatos, Tous, and Massimo Dutti, which by the way has its first concept store in Mexico, right there in Masaryk.

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Massimo Dutti concept store

But as if a whole street wasn’t enough, in Polanco, visitors can also find the most fashionable shopping mall in Mexico City: El Palacio de Palacios. Think about Macy´s, but full of high street brands. Departments and stores at El Palacio de Hierro offer the latest trends in fashion. From clothes to shoes and make-up, shoppers can find everything here, but just in case there is something they miss in this huge mall, visitors can walk just two blocks away and reach the Antara Fashion Hall.

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Wall at Antara Fashion Hall

I personally also love Antara. It is an open plaza with stores all around. There are clothes stores, such as Carolina Herrera, Purificación García, Abercrombie & Fitch, Mango, and Zara; shoes stores such as Aldo, Nine West, and Steve Madden, as well as jewelry, such as Tous, Pandora, and Swarovski. And then, there also are many other sopping options.

Either if visitors choose Masaryk, El Palacio de Palacios or Antara to go on their shopping spree, all three places have many restaurants to choose from in order to take a break and recharge batteries. Most of my recommended restaurants can be found in all three places. But I just would like to add some more.

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¨Prime¨ restaurant on Masaryk street

If you choose to go to Masaryk, go to Prime and order a delicious steak, refreshing Clericot, and have a relaxing time; When in El Palacio de Palacios, do a pit stop at El Moro churrería, and have the freshest churros and a sweet hot chocolate; Finally, if instead you opted for Antara, drop by 50 friends, to go grab a tasty Calabrese and have a explosion of sugar with a nutella pizza as dessert.

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Churros and Hot Chocolate

Food Travel Guide – Polanco, Mexico City

As some of you may have already figured out (that is, if you follow me on Instagram) during my stay in Mexico City, I had been staying in the Polanco neighborhood… well, very sadly, that is no longer the case. I just moved, and I miss it terribly, so I decided to write about what I like about this trending area, and since Polanco is one of the places to ¨go eat¨ in Mexico, this first good-bye post is about my favorite places to eat in the neighborhood.

I have always thought that the best place to get to know a city is to hang with the locals and I feel that I can start branding myself into that category. That said, I won´t go deep into the three popular musts in Polanco: Did you guys know that three of the ¨50 Best¨ restaurants in the world are in Polanco? Well, they are… so you may want to pay a visit and be the judge. These restaurants are Quintonil, Pujol, and Biko. And that is all I am going to say about that.

So, let´s get back to business. My favorite…

(I have to start by talking about my weakness and guiltiest of pleasures) …Milkshakes: Every new big city I go to, the first thing I look for is the best milkshake in town. So these were my fist discoveries during my first days in Mexico City. First: The Pablo´s Shake from Sliders; Second, the choco-banana shake from Butcher and Sons; Third, the Gansito Shake from L´Encanto de Lola. Cool tip: Both Sliders and Botcher and Sons offer milkshakes with alcohol, in case you want to try them (I don’t drink, that is why those didn’t make it on my list).

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Choco-Banana Shake – Butcher and Sons

…Burgers: I also love burgers, and although I have tried different burger places, Sliders is the one I have really enjoyed.

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…Sushi: I tried at least three different Japanese restaurants in Polanco and I can only recommend the Tuna Sushi Cake from Tori Tori Restaurant. It is TO-DIE-FOR. The place is a bit expensive, but I truly believe that it is worth at least a try. You can go to the fancy place on Temístocles and have some drinks with friends or to the laid back one on Anatole France.

Antojitos Mexicanos: The ¨little Mexican dishes¨… does ¨quesadillas¨ sound familiar? Well, think no further than El Bajío restaurant if you want to have one in Polanco. This restaurant offers the typical Mexican food and if you happen to go there, please don’t leave without having the cheese sopes, cheese quesadillas, and the best Guacamole in Polanco!

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Cheese Sopes – El Bajío Restaurant

Tacos: Go to Cabanna and look no further. My recommendation: taco Gobernnador.

…Beef: My boyfriend is the most carnivore person I know. Give him a beef of any type and size and he will devour it… so we´ve tried quite a few steaks in Polanco (he orders it, and I´d just have a bite). There are many, but definitely my favorite one is from La Buena Barra… so tender and tasty! Also, when you go, make sure you can stay a while to enjoy the good food, the great atmosphere, and the nice view.

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Beef Steak – La Buena Barra Restaurant

…Fish and Seafood: There are plenty of fish and seafood restaurants in Polanco and some of them are really good, but I particularly liked Bellopuerto.

…Breakfast: It is my favorite food of the day, and although I have tried many different breakfasts in Polanco, there are some that are still pending for me and that I really want to try, so this one is not totally fair (I might update this one later). However, so far, I have loved Ojo de Agua´s acai bowls, juices, and almond bread; Mora Mora´s acai bowls and juices, El Bajío´s scrambled eggs and hot chocolate – OMG! THE most delicious hot chocolate! -, Le Pain Quotidien´s French toasts, and Debbie & Peponne´s smoothies. As you can see, I am not into chilaquiles or enchiladas, which are the typical Mexican breakfasts… sorry!

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Waffles and Acai Bowl – Mora Mora Restaurant

Pain-Au-Chocolat: Finally, this one deserved a special mention. The most delicious chocolate bread or ¨chocolatin¨, as Mexicans call it, is home baked in Maison Belén café. Believe me, just try it!

In addition to these, you can find some of the most famous restaurants in the world, such as NOBU, Cipriani, La Relais de L´Entrecote, and Cantina La 20.

So there you have it guys, if you have any other recommendations, please let me know in the comments section below.

My Trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Hey guys,

So… I was back again in one of Mexico´s so-called Magic Towns. I had wanted to go to San Miguel de Allende for a while now, so this trip was particularly exciting for me.

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There are plenty of outdoor activities to do in San Miguel de Allende, such as flying on an aerostatic globes (if you want to wake up at 5:00AM) and doing zip-line, but my boyfriend and I wanted to spend a more relaxing time, so we basically didn’t do nothing more than walking around town, eating at the delicious restaurants there are, and hanging out in the awesome terrace of the Rosewood hotel, which has a complete rooftop view of this little beautiful town.

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My boyfriend and I were in awe by the fact that there can be such a peaceful and calm place so, so close to the chaos of Mexico City; it is just less than four hours away!

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Different from the many other Mexican towns that I have visited, San Miguel de Allende is not full of bright colors walls, yet, it is still very colorful.

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Colors in the walls in San Miguel de Allende are all of those that you guys can imagine within the brown palette, which looked beautiful too – and then some others.

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So I am really going to make this short and just say, go! Weather you are an outdoors or calm person, San Miguel de Allende is a great option to spend a couple of days. And even if you are just a food person, this town is also a great option. Since it is full of foreigners – according to some locals close to 50% of the populations are foreigners – visitors can find dishes from many different countries… Italian, French, Argentinian, Lebanese, and of course, Mexican. But wherever you go, please stop by the San Agustín restaurant to have some hot chocolate with churros… yum! They are soooo good!

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As for where to stay, there are plenty of hotels to choose from. Rates varied. We chose to stay at a little cute boutique close called Casa Florida, which was close to the main plaza of San Miguel… I recommend it!

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So, there you go… I hope you guys find this post useful when planning your trip to San Miguel de Allende.

Pink dress: Mango / Tennis: Stan Smith – Adidas / Purse: Bimba y Lola