Cristina Velásquez inició un negocio durante la pandemia de COVID-19. Mientras se cerraban industrias enteras, ella y su esposo vieron la oportunidad de hacer realidad su sueño.
Cristina se entrevistó con la MAFista Diana Adame para hablar sobre esa decisión, de cómo los Lending Circles de MAF la prepararon para los negocios y el poder que tenemos dentro de nosotros para hacer realidad nuestros sueños.
Cristina Velásquez started a business during the COVID-19 pandemic. While entire industries were shutting down, she and her husband saw an opportunity to seize their dream.
Cristina sat down with MAFista Diana Adame to talk about that decision, how MAF’s Lending Circles prepared her for business—starting Blind-N-Vision—and more.
The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Diana Adame: My name is Diana Adame. I work here at MAF.
Cristina Velásquez: My name is Ana Cristina Velásquez. I go by my second name, Cristina. I’m from El Salvador. I’ve been running my own business together with my husband for four months. We manufacture drape curtains which people may know as Roman shades. I’m helping my husband more than anything with delivery. He makes the product and I deliver it.
Diana: Why did you decide to open a business during the pandemic?
Cristina: We started to discover what people were telling us — that when people worked outside, they weren’t at home much. They then started to realize that there were many necessary home improvements. Demand for curtains started to rise. And this was how we said to ourselves, wow, here is a real opportunity.
Diana: What is the most unexpected challenge you’ve had to solve in starting your business?
Cristina: Wow, I think the first challenge we had was accessing a space. Talking about San Francisco, there may be space but it’s extremely expensive. We needed a space that was quite large, which we didn’t have available in the apartment we lived in.
Diana: How did you find your space?
Cristina: I always say that God had a plan and will for everything. I have a friend whom I met 15 years ago. She works at a beauty salon. And, well, I knew that the back part of the store was being rented out. It’s now free, it’s still available to be rented. And the first thing I asked was, how tall is it? Very high, she said. I told her, perfect! And this was how my husband and I went to check it out and we fell in love with it, it was perfect for what we wanted to do.
Diana: After everything was finalized, after you’d spoken with your friend, what did it feel like to walk into your space for the first time after you found it?
Cristina: Very proud to say, wow, finally this is a reality. It was a dream but now it’s real and we can touch it. This is beautiful. Really, I feel happy and grateful to God.
Finding the Resources
Diana: How did you first hear about MAF?
Cristina: I believe it was back in 2015. That’s when the story began because that’s when I wanted to start building credit. It was the best decision that I’ve ever made. There, they took me out of the darkness. I used to not have good credit and now I have excellent credit.
Diana: How have MAF’s services impacted your business?
Cristina: What I’ve learned on the personal side, I’m applying to my business. To run a business, you need great credit. In the personal sphere, that has opened doors a little more easily to do certain things with my business.
Diana: These learnings are so valuable when you bring them into other areas of your life, right? Great practices. One question that I would like to ask is, what is the MAF platform that’s most comfortable for you? Which have you benefited from the most?
Cristina: I think the mobile application. I think there was one time, quite late at night that I completed all of the modules because I felt they were so fast and practical. And so, I really love the [MyMAF] app.
Seizing Your Dreams
Diana: My last question, Cristina, is: what advice do you have for others in a similar position with a dream?
Cristina: Dreams should not stay dreams. They can become real. Only we have the power to make them real, no one but ourselves because they are not only our dreams but also what we want for us, for our children, and for our family. And then we can say, sí se puede. I made the effort and now I am a testament that, yes, sí se puede. I was singing to my husband last night. [song] It’s a beautiful song that talks about knowing that dreams are yours and you can realize them, whenever you desire.
Diana: Thanks so much Cristina. Well, I think that you are the motivation we need today. I appreciate you sharing your words with us.
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