Why is staying in your neighborhood so important to you?
We come from a marginalized community. Normal people couldn't afford high-end wedding planners, but we still wanted them to have an amazing event. They should still be able to have a wedding at a price point that they'll able to afford -- but still have it be something beautiful.
What are some of the challenges and rewards of owning a small business?
The challenges? Trying to accommodate anyone who comes in. We're trying to develop our brand. We still need to be at a price point that's affordable to people in our community. These people don't have a lot of money, but they still want their event to look stupendous. Everyone needs to be conscious of their budget.
The rewards? Giving back to the community -- that's a reward. Executing an event, and having your client come back and be like, "Wow! I saw that in a magazine." We're the first in our family that went to college and to have gotten the respect of the people. To be acknowledged by our peers. People seeing that we're doing the work. That's a reward.
What advice do you have for aspiring Latina business owners?
You have to make your goals a priority. You have to give 100% everyday. There's going to be setbacks -- that's a given. You're going to feel discouraged because something doesn't go our way. You need to push hard, because you have to have your goals and keep your eyes on that goal. Where you started is not going to be where you end up. It's discouraging when you start -- when you don't have the revenues. You feel like it's taking forever.
When we started out, we compared ourselves to Martha Stewart. We thought, "Why can't we be Martha Stewart?" Then we thought -- have we put in the work? Have we sacrified what we need to sacrifice to be Martha or Oprah [Winfrey]? Four years into the business, we know what it is. We still have a long way to go. In order to be successful, you need to put in the work, because no one's going to give it to you.
Have there been any moments that have been particularly memorable or rewarding?
We've had a lot of those moments. We had one event where -- at the last minute -- the bride wasn't able to afford the wedding. She came to us crying. Two weeks prior to the payoff, she lost her job. So, we set up a payment play. We gave it 100%. We were still able to pull it off, even though we had dip into our personal accounts. We were grateful that we were able to do it. The only reason we were able to do it is because we had work coming in other aspects.
Any last words for Latina.com readers?
Always remember where you're from! Keep grounded. Never think that you're above anyone. We work with a lot of nationalities and a lot of different ethnic groups. It's a diverse community that we're living in now. In New York, we have a diverse population. You can appreciate everyone's culture, but never forget your own. Although think about how you can positively contribute.
Book Graciela and Carmen for an event today, or check out pictures of their beautiful work at Sweet Inspiration Events official website.