In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re spotlighting Latinx entrepreneurs who have built businesses rooted in Hispanic culture and traditions. In a series of articles and videos, we’ll learn more about the journeys of four #LatinXCulturepreneurs from September 15 – October 15.
Stephanie Jaramillo is a Colombian chef entrepreneur and founder of La Tropi Kitchen, a Caribbean-inspired catering service based in Brooklyn, NY. Stephanie’s entrepreneur journey started in 2007 when she decided to come to the United States to learn a new language and experience a different culture. In the process of finding her true self, she switched career paths multiple times until she found her passion in the culinary industry.
As Stephanie transitioned and adapted to a new life in the U.S, she found cooking to be very therapeutic and an outlet to connect with her Colombian roots. After attending culinary school and working at a local restaurant for two years, she recognized there was a need for a place where the Latinx community could connect with their culture through food, and that’s how La Tropi Kitchen was born.
To bring La Tropi Kitchen to life, Stephanie started hosting events at her house where she offered traditional dishes like sancocho (stew) and tamales. Occasionally, she feels vulnerable and worried about people’s reactions to her food. However, her authentic and traditional culinary approach makes her flavors popular in the community. What started as a recreational hobby is now a successful catering business that has the potential for expansion to a physical store for people to enjoy Caribbean dishes every day. La Tropi Kitchen has a physical location at one of Brooklyn’s most popular open-air food markets: Smorgasburg.
Stephanie’s business is anchored in culture. Understanding her identity and where she comes from helped her to empathize with other Latinx individuals who also struggle with feeling homesick. Stephanie is proud to be generating curiosity about Hispanic culture among the broader community as well. Customers from different backgrounds and cultures are not only enjoying Stephanie’s food but also learning about her Colombian and Caribbean heritage.
As a LatinXCulturepreneur, Stephanie understands that new business owners will encounter barriers along the way, but she believes that success lies in staying focused and determined. Stephanie’s business is the perfect example of how a passion can turn into a career, and she feels passionate about sharing her business advice with others for inspiration:
- Stay confident. Being afraid is part of your personal growth, so you must believe in yourself and your ideas.
- Believe in the process. Understand that everything takes time and discipline.
- Be organized. Identify your costs carefully from the beginning to have control of your finances and avoid overspending.
- Pursue your passion. An idea can be great, but if you don’t love what you do, you won’t succeed.
- Find comfort in family and friends. They are the ones who are going to help you get through the fear and will support you in your journey.
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- TurboTax Self-Employed helps you easily uncover tax deductions specific to your industry. If you have questions as you are filing your taxes or around estimated taxes during the year, you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live Self-Employed CPA or Enrolled Agent to get the answers you need in English or Spanish.
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- Mint provides users with a more complete picture of their financial life – from what they earn to what they spend, owe and save – to help alleviate the daily stress associated with managing their financial life.