Concept: Color Latino is an apparel brand that champions Latino culture around the world and makes Latinos feel proud and empowered.
Story: Alvaro De Jesus started a marketing company in Venezuela in 2011 that helped young designers launch clothing brands, and after years of working with hundreds of designers he realized that there was a need for a clothing brand that authentically represented Latino culture.
“Even though there are clothing brands that represent just about every culture, subculture and lifestyle, there are no globally recognized brands that represented the Latino culture. Our mission is to change that,” De Jesus said. “What we try to do is capture the differences in culture and capture the passion. We use prints, we use cultural references. It’s all about showcasing the culture through fashion.”
Launched: June 2013
Recent milestones reached: Launched two successful collections and shipped products to over 40 states. Tutored for the past eight months by ‘Shark Tank’ star Daymond John’s Academy. More than 20 Latin celebrities have been spotted wearing Color Latino products, including Alexis y Fido. Now in two retail stores in the Miami area: Pier 6 in Bayside and El Trebol in Miramar. Secured a major business deal with China & Nacho, a popular young celebrity music group that solicited Color Latino for their product designs, marketing and sales capabilities.
Biggest startup challenge: Getting into retail stores outside of Miami.
Next step: Making connections with buyers from all over the country. For instance, Color Latino has already started participating in trade shows, including PROJECT in Las Vegas in February.
Advisor’s view: “Color Latino has achieved great success in the last six to eight months by launching its products into the Florida market and, most notably, attracting several large entertainment entities that have requested a long-term business sales and marketing relationship,” said Bill O'Hollaren, a business development consultant with the Daymond John Academy. Citing the recent deal with China & Nacho, he said “this clearly reflects Color Latino's relevance and popularity within this market as demonstrated by this level of commitment from a major celebrity group, along with other companies now contacting Color Latino to establish business relationships.”
Like any new business, Color Latino needs continued support in branding and marketing that will allow the company to secure major accounts and other relationships to quickly build up revenue, O’Hollaren said. “The key is to generate sufficient revenue and profits to capture the lion's share of the market to stay one to two years ahead of any current or future competition, thus building the largest and strongest company with branding beyond reproach. … Color Latino, Alvaro in particular, is one of Daymond John Academy's shining stars.”
Alvaro De Jesus, founder and CEO of Color Latino, shows off some of the company's styles, here and at photo at top. Photos by Carl Juste of the Miami Herald.