The Nopalera Podcast

Sandra Velasquez

My name is Sandra Velasquez and I am the Founder of Nopalera, a Mexican Botanical Bath & Body brand that celebrates an elevates culture. I founded Nopalera with a vision to change the cultural perception of the value of Latino goods in the marketplace while inspiring my community to stand in their worth. This podcast is a mix of solo episodes and conversations with industry friends where I discuss the strategies, systems, ups & downs, of building a brand from the ground up. I am very passionate about providing access to my fellow entrepreneurs about what it's really like to build a business that can scale. If you are a bootstrapped founder too, this is for you. This is for us. read less
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Episodes

Ep. 42 Understanding Venture Capital With Sharlene Guiriba
Oct 25 2023
Ep. 42 Understanding Venture Capital With Sharlene Guiriba
Venture capital can be elusive and seemingly untouchable so Sandra sits down with Shalene Guiriba this week to give you a down to earth perspective on what it is, how it works and where to begin.  Sharlene is a Chicago native and Filipina immigrant passionate about creating pipelines and mitigating equity gaps for under-resourced communities through investments in innovation. She focuses on early-stage VC especially across edtech, fintech, web3, climate, and AI/ML-driven deals. Before becoming a VC she started out as a CPA at Deloitte and worked as an operator at fintech startup NextCapital (acquired by Goldman Sachs).More about Sharlene:Sharlene Guiriba is an Associate at Lerer Hippeau, an early-stage venture capital firm founded and operated in New York City. Sharlene began her career as a Deloitte tax consultant advising major corporations and ex-pats on international assignments. She then built out a software operations department at NextCapital(acq’d by Goldman Sachs), a late-stage fintech startup democratizing quality retirement advice. Sharlene completed the joint MBA and MPP program at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and Harris School of Public Policy. She also has her CPA and graduated with Double Majors in Accountancy and Chinese from the University of Notre Dame.Recorded April 3rd, 2023Connect with SharleneTwitterLinkedinConnect with NopaleraWebsiteInstagramTik TokJoin Sandra's Entrepreneurial NewsletterAsk a business question
Ep. 37 Betting On Yourself And Finding Success with Andrea Campos
Aug 30 2023
Ep. 37 Betting On Yourself And Finding Success with Andrea Campos
As we near Hispanic Heritage Month, Sandra sits down with fellow Mexican - American, New York Times best-selling illustrator and creative storyteller, Andrea Campos. Their similar backgrounds and journey’s of reinvention serve as an inspiration to all searching for a new creative/business opportunity in one’s life.Andrea is renowned for her vibrant and playful artwork that brings stories to life. As a New York Times best-selling illustrator, she has collaborated with prestigious publishers and authors, contributing her artistic talent to a wide range of children's books, including the popular title "Con Pollo."Andrea's exceptional ability to capture the enchantment and awe of childhood in her illustrations has led her to work with esteemed clients such as LinkedIn, Airbnb, Lululemon, and more. With a background in marketing and creative production, Andrea possesses a versatile skill set that empowers her to approach any project with creativity and finesse.Beyond her role as an illustrator, Andrea is an inspiring public speaker who utilizes her platform to motivate and mentor aspiring young artists. As the daughter of immigrants, she is deeply committed to inclusive storytelling, ensuring that diverse perspectives are represented in her work. Andrea Campos stands as a talented and influential force, illuminating the world of storytelling through her captivating artistry and dedication to fostering the next generation of artists.Recorded April 24th, 2023Connect With Andreahttps://www.dreasdoodles.com/ https://www.instagram.com/dreasdoodles/Connect with NopaleraWebsiteInstagramTik TokJoin Sandra's Entrepreneurial NewsletterAsk a business question
Ep. 36 Understanding The Finances Of Your Business with Alex Corral of The Accountrepreneur, LLC
Aug 16 2023
Ep. 36 Understanding The Finances Of Your Business with Alex Corral of The Accountrepreneur, LLC
Sandra dives into the essential topic of accounting for running a successful business. She sits down with Nopalera’s own Alex Corral to shed light on the importance of establishing and maintaining a solid understanding of the financial landscape from the early stages of your business. Alex, who previously worked in finance for multinational corporations, founded The Accountrepreneur, LLC to assist emerging companies in gaining control over their finances. He observed that many businesses struggled to scale because they made decisions based on intuition rather than concrete data. Consequently, they faced challenges in raising sufficient capital and executing their vision due to the inability to translate their aspirations into numbers.Alex brings a wealth of experience to the table, having worked with prominent accounting firms, renowned corporations, and large private equity groups throughout his career. He is passionate about leveraging financial analysis and robust accounting processes to uncover insights and drive business improvement. At The Accountrepreneur, LLC, his mission is to extend this value and expertise to small and mid-sized companies during their crucial growth phase. The firm specializes in establishing top-notch accounting processes, rectifying existing accounting issues, guiding companies through working capital challenges, organizing information for potential investor pitches, and developing five-year strategic models. No matter the requirement, you can trust Alex and his team to collaboratively address any issue and strengthen your business.Recorded April 17th, 2023Connect With Alexhttps://theaccountrepreneur.com/https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-accountrepreneur-llcConnect with NopaleraWebsiteInstagramTik TokJoin Sandra's Entrepreneurial NewsletterAsk a business questionMore about Alex:As my clients know, I am obsessed with uncovering insights and improving businesses through financial analysis and strong accounting processes.Over my career, I have had the privilege of working with Big 4 accounting firms, iconic corporations, and large private equity groups.  I’ve made it my mission (and business) to continue providing this value and expertise to small & mid-size companies during their crucial growth stage.We are passionate about establishing top notch accounting processes, unwinding bad accounting, guiding companies through working capital crunches, organizing information for potential investors pitches and building five-year strategic models. Regardless of the need, you can be assured that we will work through any issue together to strengthen your business.
Ep. 32 Building An African Beauty Brand With Christina Funke Tegbe Of 54 Thrones
Jun 21 2023
Ep. 32 Building An African Beauty Brand With Christina Funke Tegbe Of 54 Thrones
In today’s episode Sandra gets behind the scenes with Christina Funke Tegbe, the founder and creative visionary behind 54 Thrones, a clean African beauty brand inspired by the richness, diversity and cultures of Africa and its people. Christina is passionate about creating a brand that is truly authentic, using natural ingredients that are grown on African soil and inspired by ancient African traditions. Having run her business for seven years now, her perseverance, integrity and self-worth is palpable in their discussion and leaves no room for doubt that all of 54 Thrones' success and accolades are just at the beginning of Christina’s legacy in the world.Connect with Christina and 54 Throneshttps://www.christinategbe.com/Christina Funke Tegbehttps://54thrones.com/Connect with NopaleraWebsiteInstagramTik TokJoin Sandra's Entrepreneurial NewsletterAsk a business questionRead more about Christina and 54 ThronesIn 2016 I launched 54 Thrones; an award-winning African skincare brand featured in Vogue, Essence, Elle, Pop Sugar, and Byrdie Beauty. Inspired by the richness, diversity, and culture of the continent our ingredients are handcrafted in Africa by Africans. I partner with women-run cooperatives and entrepreneurs in Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Uganda who handcraft the botanical ingredients that make up 54 Thrones.  Through  social entrepreneurship, we promote trade not aid through conducting business on the continent to change the narrative. I spoke at length about this while on the panel of the 2019 Global Shea Alliance annual meeting on the power of advancing gender equality in producing communities by supporting, and providing sustainable income opportunities for our partners. In 2020 54 Thrones won an Oprah Magazine O-ward for Best Face Oil 2020 and was chosen as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things 2020. In 2021 we were chosen as part of Sephora’s Accelerate cohort and will launch in Sephora stores later this year. We are currently sold in Nordstrom stores and other select retailers.
Ep. 30 The Mentorship Series Part. 4 Featuring Sonja Haile & Pacaiba's Bela & Amara
May 24 2023
Ep. 30 The Mentorship Series Part. 4 Featuring Sonja Haile & Pacaiba's Bela & Amara
Sandra concludes the four part series of providing mentorship to entrepreneurs of various categories in our community. Part 4 features Sonja Haile of Satya & Sage, a candle and home fragrance brand and Bela and Amara of Pacaiba, a curly hair care brand. You will hear excerpts of questions asked from different stages of each entrepreneur's process and Sandra’s transparent explanations and advice in response. This episode we discuss becoming retail ready, pricing, hiring, and budgeting. Muchas gracias to all the mentees for bringing their stories, curiosity and courage.  Our hope is that the topics covered will help and inspire you to forge ahead with your own entrepreneurial path with more knowledge and confidence.  Courage is Contagious!Connect with NopaleraWebsiteInstagramTik TokJoin Sandra's Entrepreneurial NewsletterAsk a business questionConnect with SonjaWebsite InstagramConnect with Bela and AmaraWebsiteRead more about our guests:Sonja Haile is the founder Satya + Sage. It is a collection of handmade, eco-friendly candles and home fragrance products inspired by self-care to remind you to slow down and cultivate your daily sacred space.  We carefully select notes to fill your home with tranquility, positivity, and grounding energy, from high-vibe citrus blends to feminine florals. We believe taking time for yourself is an essential act of self-care, and our mission is to encourage this through each product we produce.Pacaiba is a premium curly hair care brand for non-straight hair. Gone are the days where “good hair” means “sleek, straight hair” and that’s because more than half the world does not actually have straight hair. Sisters Bela and Amara founded Pacaiba to bring the freedom of the island escape to curly hair rituals where women are inspired to re-evaluate the relationship they have with both themselves and their hair.
Ep. 29 The Mentorship Series Part. 3 Featuring Isabel Cueva, Vanessa Arroyo & Jose Rodriguez
May 10 2023
Ep. 29 The Mentorship Series Part. 3 Featuring Isabel Cueva, Vanessa Arroyo & Jose Rodriguez
Sandra continues a new four part series of providing mentorship to entrepreneurs of various categories in our community. Part 3 features Isabel Cueva of mayaluna a kids clothing line that helps littles celebrate their latin@ culture through modern and aesthetic designs. Vanessa Arroyo of Seres footwear and Jose Rodriguez of Calaca coffee.  You will hear excerpts of questions asked from different stages of each entrepreneur's process and Sandra’s transparent explanations and advice in response. This episode we’re covering topics of marketing channels, fears, and finances.  Muchas gracias to all the mentees for bringing their stories, curiosity and courage.  Our hope is that the topics covered will help and inspire you to forge ahead with your own entrepreneurial path with more knowledge and confidence.  Courage is Contagious!Connect with NopaleraWebsiteInstagramTik TokJoin Sandra's Entrepreneurial NewsletterAsk a business questionConnect with IsabelInstagramConnect with VanessaWebsite InstagramConnect with JoseWebsiteInstagramTikTokRead more about our guests:A Los Angeles native and proud Mexican-American, Isabel Cueva started her career as a math teacher and transitioned to corporate event planning in the non-profit and tech sector for 10 years. She decided to take a step back from her career to raise her daughter, Maya. During this time, she looked for children’s clothing that would celebrate her Latina culture but could not find anything but stereotypical, cheesy designs. Isabel is currently working to solve this problem through the creation of mayaluna.Vanessa Arroyo is the creator of SERES footwear and is a shoe design & development specialist that has worked in the industry for over ten years. She was born in Chicago to a family of Mexican immigrants, and in 2016 she relocated from New York City to Guanajuato where she continued her work in footwear. This was an unexpected journey of self discovery where she experienced a number of epiphanies - all of which challenged her thoughts on what it means to be a Mexicana born in the USA. She thought about what it means to be "ni de aqui ni de alla" as the saying goes and she realized, to be is ... ser es... all of the versions of her at once.Jose Rodriguez, an art school dropout, started Calaca Coffee with his friend Christian. The two started the business as a way to foster community and have a safe place for anyone to enjoy a nice cup of coffee. Initially, the pair had a coffee garden but unfortunately had to shut it down. Now they are trying to scale up their direct-to-consumer program.
Ep. 28 The Mentorship Series Part. 2 Featuring Melissa Gallardo & Cindy Convery
Apr 26 2023
Ep. 28 The Mentorship Series Part. 2 Featuring Melissa Gallardo & Cindy Convery
Sandra continues a new four part series of providing mentorship to entrepreneurs of various categories in our community. Part 2 features Melissa Gallardo, founder of Bonita Fierce Candles, a candle brand that honors her latin roots and Cindy Convery, the founder of PureWild Co. clean marine collagen products.  You will hear excerpts of questions asked from different stages of each entrepreneur's process and Sandra’s transparent explanations and advice in response. This episode we’re talking about vetting retail partners, talking to investors, and channel strategy. Muchas gracias to all the mentees for bringing their stories, curiosity and courage.  Our hope is that the topics covered will help and inspire you to forge ahead with your own entrepreneurial path with more knowledge and confidence.  Courage is Contagious!Connect with NopaleraWebsiteInstagramTik TokJoin Sandra's Entrepreneurial NewsletterAsk a business questionConnect with Melissahttps://www.instagram.com/bonitafiercecandles/Connect with Cindyhttps://purewildco.com/LinkedinInstagramRead more about our guests:Being Latin@ and American is not a linear experience and for Melissa, it meant a life-long struggle to navigate language, culture, and heritage as a brown, non-Spanish speaking Latina. It created a deep insecurity in her identity and distorted her feelings of what home meant. Then, she realized that feeling–of belonging, of finding your place, of being home– she wanted to create that feeling for other Latinas who were on journeys similar to hers. And so, she poured her first candle. She realized the scents she grew up with weren't represented in the home fragrance industry and set out to create fragrances that celebrate, honor and represent the cultural crossroads of being Latin@ and American.Before launching PureWild Co. Cindy worked as a television director at ABC TV in San Francisco and later as a consultant with Warner Bros and Disney creating movie advertising campaigns. Launching PureWild Co. in June 2020 with a line of marine collagen infused drinks that are the only certified nonGMO collagen drinks on the market. PureWild Co. created the first ever collagen infused wines bottled in California’s Sonoma Valley and the first ever collagen supplements that have been formulated for women with breast cancer, autoimmune disorders and osteoporosis. PureWild Co. is a partner of the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness and is working with the Choctaw Nation to donate supplements to Native women in need. Cindy is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. PureWild Co. is a certified Native American Woman owned company based in Ojai, California.