Understanding Entrepreneurship: When you work for yourself, you do it all! Until you’re able to get your project or company off the ground, you’re going to be doing the work yourself in every department. Might as well enjoy it and enjoy the process.
As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Carolina Trejos and Natalia Trejos-Herrera.
Pinkafé on LATV is hosted by sisters Carolina Trejos and Natalia Trejos-Herrera, each episode features a guest Latina leader or entrepreneur for an intimate conversation to discuss the importance of women breaking barriers, defining their own statement for success, and coming together for a common cause of amplifying Latina voices. Inspired by their own immigration journey from Colombia to Ecuador and ultimately the United States, the Trejos sisters have a passion for sharing their collective life experiences with others to serve as inspiration. From Carolina choosing to leave her corporate job at a major magazine and pursue entrepreneurship, to Natalia transitioning from acting and founding a production company, these dynamic sisters bring forth a fresh perspective on each show. With a passion for all things Female Entrepreneur, the Trejos sisters saw the need to elevate Latina voices and showcase Latina Entrepreneurs.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
We were born in Colombia and raised in three countries, Colombia, Ecuador and the United States. We are only two daughters and we’re really close to our parents. Since we were young girls, we were taught the importance of family values and hard work.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
[Carolina] My career path had different avenues at first. When I first started college, my major was Sociology. I loved working with communities, organizing, being part of rallies, students working for equal rights, Student Government, etc… I wanted to change the world. While in college I got a job in marketing to help pay for my studies, it was my first introduction to communications. I fell in love with using a microphone, working events, branding, concerts, festivals and still had a sense of community. When it came time to set my major, I rerouted to journalism & Mass Communications. I knew I had a voice and I wanted to use it in a broader spectrum.
Since I was a little girl I always showed interest in the performing arts. I was in every parade, singing content or acting in theater plays. As I grew, I kept the same path and each year it became more clear to me that I was creative and that I wanted to be a singer and an actress. When I told my parents this, they were very supportive and they said now everything made sense, why I asked so many questions and I had a different perspective on different things that were not the same as a normal teenager. I never thought of a career in medicine, law or engineering, which is what is normally expected from us coming from a Latino background. I feel that I was born this way, with an artist engraved in my heart and that simply just molded me to be who I am today, a creative director and actress.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Pinkafé is special and dear to our hearts because it was an idea that started with my mom’s passion for fashion design and all of us bringing out talents together to create a platform. Having Pinkafé be what it is now, a TV show broadcasted nationally is a great accomplishment to us.
But it hasn’t all been fun and games.
Building Pinkafé has been a journey of about 10 years, since 2011 while living in Miami when we had our first event that was called “The Pinkafé Experience” : a pop-up show featuring my mom’s mobile boutique designs, make-up artists, massage therapists, jewelry designers, and local DJs in Miami. But then… life happened.
One sister got married and was living in California, the other sister moved to New York to pursue a major job offer at a magazine and mom had plans to continue her boutique on a smaller scale (no online work for her).
Years later, in 2015 we came back together to create a blog/online magazine, but unfortunately, life also got in the way…
In 2017, we tried it — yet again — by creating an online boutique and a beautiful website. However, destiny had a different path for us.
Finally, in 2019 we said: “Okay, we are two professional women in Media with extensive backgrounds in production, storytelling, the arts, and a passion for sharing other women’s journeys and stories…. Let’s start a podcast!” Then Pinkafé the Podcast was born and months later we had a TV deal.
Moral of the story is when you have a dream, an idea, a drive to create something amazing it will always stay by your side no matter who or what gets in the way. If it’s something deep in your heart pursue it, it will be worthwhile!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Planning vs. Breaking News
A funny issue we don’t find as a mistake is that we both graduated in our own careers and after a beautiful childhood together as sisters, we spread our wings and went on our own paths and developed different skills in the entertainment industry, Carolina Journalism and hosting and Natalia TV production and acting.
Two things that we now laugh about is that when we decided to do Pinkafé together, we didn’t really get to know each other’s career backgrounds and skills, we just went into straight-up work, so Carolina having a “BREAKING NEWS” last-minute approach to everything she did in the industry and Natalia having so much PLANNING experience and processes in place, we didn’t understand why sometimes we were not on the same page if we were both in “media.” We understood later that it was the different training we have had and that it was actually a beautiful thing to complement each other.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
We’re thrilled to be developing Pinkafé as a global platform and an overall hub for all things women-empowerment. Our focus is on giving women the right tools to use in their workspace while having time to also work on their wellbeing. Balance!
As sisters, we feel that having a good formula between work and family time, therefore we’re proud to share some of the details of Pinkafé’s journey. We started as a podcast and developed into a national television show that took its own course.
But we started when we saw a need for representation and a need for information about specifically how some women have been able to make it happen for themselves.
On each episode we feature a guest Latina leader or entrepreneur for an intimate conversation to show all sides of what it takes to be a success, showcasing the importance of women breaking barriers and coming together for a common cause.
Carolina’s entertainment business savvy paired with Natalia’s creativity and TV production experience help our audience apply the lessons of their guests’ wins to their own careers and goals.
You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
[Natalia] My biggest advice to someone trying to pursue a career in the entertainment industry is to not take anything personally, each person has their own gifts and talents to give to the world, but we cannot forget that this is an industry that is a mix of art and business (there is money involved), it is show business, so it means that maybe a client, a producer, a network is not looking exactly for your type of profile or skills you have to offer at the moment.
Everyone has a quota to fulfill and deliver, but in the middle of you pursuing your dream, make sure you stay focused on the intention, study, keep training, keep learning, keep knocking on doors and be persistent. Think about it, an actor goes to about 100 auditions in one year, they are rejected about 90 times and get only 10 jobs, they develop a thick skin of letting go, on to the next adventure and the next pursuit. If you treat your career like that you will never feel like a failure, you will live a fulfilling life as you are living your dream everyday.
[Carolina] I would say go against your fears at all cost and whatever you have been in the past DOES NOT determine your future. Let me tell you a story… I grew up being the shiest person in my family, I was afraid to even start a conversation, let alone talk to strangers or talk in front of a camera. But one day, I decided to change that and start being more sociable to get out of my comfort zone and start making friends. I wanted people, connections, friends…. Just one decision alone catapulted me to become an outgoing person, getting jobs in the media/entertainment industry, making lots of relationships along the way and, more importantly, being able to do public speaking and have a voice on the topics I most cared about.
I was lucky enough to have been raised by a family who was not afraid to take a leap and move around: Move to a new city, to a new country, to a new job, to start a business venture… The words “new” & “move” have never been strange to me. I know change is always difficult for everyone because we are used to the ways we do things… But… what if you start embracing change and growth. Wouldn’t that take you to evolve? That’s the point! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! GO FOR IT!
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
We think that is very important to continue our mission on normalizing diversity in every way, one that we can speak about is the lack of Latina representation in Hollywood and all the unfortunate stereotypes and boxes we have been put on. From the LGBTQ+ and Black communities, we feel that the audiences need to be identified on the screen because once they see someone that looks like them, they see themselves as heroes.
“Pinkafé adds Latina entrepreneurship to LATV’s strong female empowerment programming which includes Blacktinidad, Get It Girl, and Esa Soy Yo. We’re humbled to be part of the strong female presence that complements LATV’s other inclusive brands such as The Q Agenda celebrating Latinx LGBTQ pride, and the award-winning American Latino TV giving visibility to our community for over 18 years.”
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
We have so many! But here are five that we’ve come to find our together ever since we started the Pinkafé journey:
- Understanding Entrepreneurship: When you work for yourself, you do it all! Until you’re able to get your project or company off the ground, you’re going to be doing the work yourself in every department. Might as well enjoy it and enjoy the process.
- Sales is everything… Our father once told us: “we are all salespeople. When you talk about your job, your dreams, your career, your journey… you’re selling.” So, don’t fear sounding too “salesy”… when you have passion for what you do, it will be a breeze to promote your biz!
- Having a 9–5 pm Vs. Being Independent: Entrepreneurs work 100 hours/week instead of 40 hours a week. So, being an entrepreneur will take up more of your time than you thought… but, believe us… It’s worth every second!
- Socializing/ Networking is NOT a waste of time…(Sorry, dear introverts) Sometimes, when you’re running your own show, you must be your own promoter. Take it as a time investment in public relations 🙂
- Love Corporate America? You can still keep your full-time job and work on your side hustle…Don’t lose those benefits until you’re ready to take the leap!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
- Create a routine in the morning that focuses on your wellbeing. Before you even start thinking about work, have coffee, journal, meditate, play some music, even dance!
- Build genuine connections with people in your industry. Instead of referring to them as “contacts,” call them your relationships.
- I would definitely recommend creating a plan with their vision and working on it little by little.
- It is very important to take days off, recharge, and disconnect to come back strong. Most of our creativity comes from resting.
You are both people of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
As part of our plan on Pinkafé, we created “The pinkafesa movement” which we would love to become a global resource center with free resources for women. We envision something around the lines of partnering up with organizations such as Unicef and We Work. We feel that this kind of movements can help improve the education, rights and opportunities of women around the world.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
[Carolina] I will always give it to my friend Grace Solorzano from college (FIU in Miami). We met at a TV Production 101 class in which the professor picked out a small group of students to be part of the E-board of this (made up) television network. Grace and I were in this top group, she was head of the production and I was head of marketing and we knew we worked really well together. Ever since then, we became really good friends, we kept in touch — even when we lived on two different coasts — . Years later, when she came across a job opportunity she thought would be good for me, she put in a good word… I got hired and it has been one of the best jobs I’ve ever had… That was Grace! (remember when we said “create relationships, not contacts? 🙂
One person who was there for me during the time I lived in Miami (8 years) was my friend Angie Garcia, we did music videos together, she was the stylist and makeup artist and I was hiring the models, then we open a store together, then after many more commercials and projects together, she told one thing, that we still say it to this day, “Don’t stop, never stop” and is a promise I made to her. When I moved to LA, she put me in contact with a friend of hers who by Angie’s recommendation sent my resume to all her contacts/relationships and iis when LATV Network found me and gave me an opportunity as a TV producer, where I was able to develop many more skills to then launch my own production company. Thanks, Angie! I love you forever. I won’t stop.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
[Carolina] “Be the exception” … Life will you think that you’re an outcast, but being different is amazing. You don’t have to be like the rest. Embrace your uniqueness!
“Dream big, challenge yourself and enjoy the journey.”
I’ve always been a huge believer of dreams and making things tangible. I feel that if you can dream it, you can do it, if you challenge yourself enough and believe in yourself without excuses, to find answers, ask questions, learn new things, dare to do things that are unknown, enjoy being uncomfortable and be happy.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
[Carolina] Oprah has been the female media moguls I’ve always followed. I love that she was a woman of color who fought to find her place, even when no one believed she could. Do it. I admire her tenacity, her drive and her mission to help other people thrive.
I admire Eva Longoria so much, for her work ethic, standing for what she believes, for creating movements in Hollywood to bring Latina representation and for her acting, directing and producing career. I relate so much to her, I applaud her strength and vision.
How can our readers follow you online?
@Pinkafe on Instagram
@CarolinaTrejos on Instagram
@NataliaTrejosHerrera on Instagram
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!