After months of construction, renovation and lots of hard work, Yahaira Nuñez, finalist of Nuestra Belleza Latina 2011, celebrated the much anticipated grand opening of Lollipop Boutique in an intimate ceremony with members of the press, bloggers, friends and family in Washington Heights, New York. See what she has to say about her entrepreneurial style and why she couldn’t envision opening her first boutique anywhere other than Washington Heights.
What inspired you to open Lollipop Boutique?
My desire to make the most out of my life inspired me to open Lollipop Boutique. After participating on Nuestra Belleza Latina and graduating from college, I went through a tough period of knocking on many doors and getting rejected, so I decided to take a calculated risk and open my own door: Lollipop Boutique.
How would you describe your entrepreneurial style?
I don’t know if I have one. I know for sure that I’m a strong and confident young woman and, for better or for worse, a perfectionist. I want everything to come out the way I’ve envisioned. However, I am open to apply other people’s ideas and accept constructive criticism. At the end of the day, this is a business and it needs to succeed. I started working alongside my mom at a very young age, which made me a very independent woman, but not so good at delegating to others. This is a new chapter in my life, and I’m developing new skills that are mandatory when you own a business. Nowadays, it’s such a huge responsibility to make any business successful, but if you do your part you can achieve it.
How has your cultura influenced your career?
My cultura is who I am. Dominicans are fun, colorful and good hearted people who always have a reason to party! We are full of life and a rainbow of joy! I want to reflect that in my boutique and in everything I do.
Why did you decide to open your first boutique in Washington Heights?
When I arrived in New York in 2006, Washington Heights welcomed me. When I participated in Nuestra Belleza Latina, the community supported me and I valued that deeply. Washington Heights is an amazing community and it’s where I want to keep growing as a female entrepreneur. Right now, from a business perspective, it’s the perfect place for Lollipop Boutique. Latina women are fun and sexy. They are confident and have a personality full of color. That’s the vision of Lollipop Boutique. Through research, I realized that an affordable boutique, which really captured this insight about Latina women, was missing in Washington Heights.
What was the most surprising thing you’ve learned about opening your own business?
It surprised me to know how careless and abusive some people can be when you are starting a business. You think more people would be supportive, but sometimes it’s quite the opposite. I was also surprised to learn how far I could push myself and my capabilities to make this dream of mine come true. In achieving this, I know nothing is impossible for me and, in turn, for any of us, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
What is your advice to aspiring and established Latina professionals?
My aspiring and established Latina professionals, I pray that you stay inspired and keep believing. Please keep your work ethic in check and have respect for your career as well as for others. Never let your ego ruin what you have worked so hard to achieve. Please stay humble and don’t forget those who supported you when no one else did. Lastly, let’s continue to grow our community of Latina professionals by helping each other and opening the door to those who aspire to be like us.
What’s next for you?
I want to work on TV again; it’s my true passion. I’m currently working on ideas to fit Lollipop Boutique into this passion of mine. That’s another thing about Latina women, we always get what we want.
“Like” the Lollipop Boutique on Facebook and visit it in person at: 4876 Broadway in Washington Heights